Oru Nalla Naal Paathu Solren (Eng: I’ll Let You Know On An Auspicious Day) is an Indian 2018 Tamil language black comedy drama film, written and directed by P. Arumuga Kumar. Vijay Sethupathi and Gautham Karthik appear in the lead roles, while Gayathrie Shankar, Niharika Konidela and Ramesh Thilak play other pivotal roles. The film began production in February 2017.
Oru Nalla Naal Paathu Solren (ONNPS) is the kind of film that might have seemed funny as a concept. But it is also the kind of film that is very difficult to translate from script to screen. Even if you have actors who can capture the spirit of the film, you need filmmaking flair that makes the comedy come alive on screen. And this is where ONNPS fails, for what we get is a comedy that isn’t funny — mostly.
The film revolves around Yaman (Vijay Sethupathi, who sleepwalks through the role), the leader of a tribal village, who has vowed to marry Abhaayalakshmi, the daughter of a couple who have moved away from the tribe and settled down in the city. The girl, who now goes by the name of Sowmiya (Niharika Konidela, OK-ish), is a college student in Chennai. Yaman, with his cohorts, Purushothaman (Ramesh Thilak) and Narasimhan (Rajkumar), comes to Chennai to kidnap the girl. Meanwhile, her bumbling college mates, Harish (Gautham Karthik), on whom Sowmiya has a crush on, and Sathish (Danie Anne Pope, grating) get mixed up in their plans.
With a plot like this, we should have got a madcap comedy, but what we get with ONNPS is a film that tries hard to be quirky and funny with little success. There is quirkiness — a tribe of robbers, their weird customs, a couple of daft sidekicks, a couple of bumbling youngsters — but this eccentricity is used in rather unimaginative ways (an arrow struck in someone’s butt, making fun of cops and getting thrashed) to generate laughs, which leads to jokes that hardly bring a smile and are even tiresome. If the intention was to make a black comedy, the only blacks we get are in the form of costumes of the tribal people, and very little comedy. Call it bleak comedy, if you will.
Even the performances cannot make the film come alive. Vijay Sethupathi gets a role that is more straight-faced than the other characters (like the Michael character in Michael Madana Kama Rajan, or his own character in Soodhu Kavvum), but beyond the different looks, there is very little in his performance to lift the scenes. The other actors perform with the self-awareness of being in a comedy and this makes it hard for us to buy into their performances. Only Gautham Karthik, who channels his father, Karthik, especially in the second half, comes out somewhat unscathed.
The film, in fact, brings to mind Sutta Kadhai, another comedy set against the backdrop of a tribal area. Like that film, this one, too, is an overlong comedy that is a misfire despite its ambitions.
Directed by Arumuga Kumar
Produced by Ganesh Kalimuthu, Ramesh Kalimuthu & Arumuga Kumar
Starring Vijay Sethupathi, Gautham Karthik, Niharika Konidela, Gayathrie Shankar
Music by Justin Prabhakaran
Cinematography Sree Saravanan
Edited by R. Govindaraj
Production 7C Entertainment Pvt Ltd & Amma Narayana Productions
Distributed by Clap Board Production
Release date 2 February 2018