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Vijay, Madonna and Unplanned Love

I think it’s safe to say that Ka Ka Ka Po defied most people’s expectations. It was either more unique and artistic than people anticipated in its gorgeous visuals and quiet soft spoken characters. Or the slower pace and lack of high octane moments of dramatic pressures disappointed those who were expecting more of a laugh out loud romantic comedy.

In the end, I had many questions. Not necessarily about the plot or what happened to Kathir and Yazhini after the final scene (I’ll just assume she got out of the car & they lived happily ever after, and she did not just say “cash”, pay and drive off), but about Nalan Kumarasamy’s creative direction and what he was trying to provide Tamil audiences with via his much anticipated second feature film, instead. 

What did you think the title Kadhalum Kadanthu Pogum – meaning “Love too shall pass” inferred? Did you think it referred to a sad love story? Or one about love and loss? Or perhaps a one-sided love where one character must patiently wait for their unrequited feelings to fade away, and a disappointing period to pass by?

In all honesty, I struggled to see the connection between the title and the film, which I suppose adds to its quirky charm. I wouldn’t say Ka Ka Ka Po is an out and out love story, but I also wouldn’t say it’s not a love story either. If anything, it’s a non-love love story.

Neither Kathir nor Yazhini is looking for love. They have different ambitions consuming them and romance, at least for the moment, is not what they’re after. But while seeking their own forms of success and redemption, love just sort of…happens. Where and when they’re least expecting it, a bumbling but good hearted mobster and a strong but struggling IT professional develop love for each other. But at the end of the film, can we say without a reasonable doubt that it’s a romantic type of love and not just a great bond? Did anyone else get the feeling that I did that director Nalan meant to leave the film up to interpretation and allow us to choose for ourselves if it was simply a great friendship or if it was actually true love? In fact, it begs the question, can a ‘hero’ and ‘heroine’ in Tamil cinema ever just be friends?

One could say their characters are drawn to each other out of desperation; they’re both alone in the city, anxiously waiting for the universe to give them what they deserve and desperation draws them to one another. Desperation allows Kathir to lower his guard a bit and befriend the curious girl next door, and desperation leads Yazhinito realize that independence doesn’t negate a need for help and companionship. They’re thrown together by circumstance and their earnest natures, but not much more. They are the most unlikely of pairs, not only because of their socio economic status, but because neither even seems to contemplate the other with feelings of desire. In fact, I can only assume now that the title refers to how easily Vijay Sethupathy’s character is willing to just scrap his feelings and move on, or let her pass him by, when she does not immediately reciprocate. Sort of like “You don’t love me? Seri, po. In the Kadhalum Kadanthu Pogum. It’s NBD”.


But, unlike most of the romantic comedies we’re used to in Tamil cinema, or even some of the more unique ones of late (ex. Naanum Rowdy Thaan or Raja Rani) there were no “love at first sight” moments where at least one character feels as though time stood still so they could give their fellow lead character a full head to toe glance. There were no pin-point moments where I could say it was clear Yazhini began looking at Kathir and thinking that he was the right match for her. There were no parts where Kathir thinks his incredible help to Yazhini makes him entitled to her. Instead, he redeemed himself for his own saving, and she succeeded in the goals that she set for herself, and after time – fate brought them back together. Neither of them actively pursued the other. Their relationship, both as friends and potentially as lovers, was completely unplanned. Neither of them went after love; it just found them when the time was right. And that is the thing I liked most about Ka Ka Ka Po. It didn’t force anything, which relates to its mellow pacing, and instead was all about waiting for destiny.

I’m extremely glad I avoided watching and reading up on the plot of “My Dear Desperado”, the Korean film on which Ka Ka Ka Po is based. Because I enjoyed watching this unconventional story and being surprised by a film that was more about self discovery than love.  Thank gosh for directors like Nalan Kumarasamy who dare to steer away from formulaic Tamil cinema templates even in the mainstream genre of romantic comedies and are keen to present Kollywood audiences with different tales of love and life, especially ones that are about waiting patiently for things and time to take their course. Who can’t relate to that?

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