Ponmagal Vandhaal Movie Review: A half-baked courtroom drama that doesn’t create an impact

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Ponmagal Vandhaal Movie Review: A half-baked courtroom drama that doesn’t create an impact
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Format: Film
Platform: Amazon Prime Video
Movie Rated: All Ages
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
Language: Tamil
Digital Premiere Date: 29 May 2020

 

Courtroom dramas in Tamil cinema have mostly been remakes off late, so when one notices that another film on the lines is coming by, there should be a little bit of interest generated towards it. Jyothika’s Ponmagal Vandhaal comes off with a lot of pomp and show, being the first film to officially break into an OTT platform from the Tamil industry, especially at the time of the Coronavirus lockdown.

 

What is the story about?
Ponmagal Vandhal entirely happens in Ooty. Venba, a lawyer, takes up a case which has been in the hanging for 15 years and makes it her own. Venba bats for Jyothi, a North Indian woman who was accused of child abduction and the murder of many little kids. The case escalates, with many other pieces of evidence, witnesses and suspects coming into the play. The truths behind the incident, and the result of Venba winning the case or not form the crux of the film.


 

Performances
Though Jyothika does her best to fit into the shoes of the lawyer, the emotions of the character aren’t translated well onscreen. While she is good with the dialogues inside the courtroom, her flaws stand up during the emotional sequences which are the heart of the film. The only saving grace in the cast is Parthiepan, who delivers enjoyable one-liners and keeps the film ticking without sweeping it into the boring range. The rest of the cast, including Bakkiyaraj, Prathap Pothen, Pandiyarajan and Subbu Panchu add little or nothing to the film, and it is only Vinodhini who finds a fine spot in the middle of it all.


 

Analysis
Ponmagal Vandhal has an inquisitive premise for a courtroom drama, with a fine backdrop behind it, but the problem with the film is the highly predictable and unexciting way in which writer-director Frederick narrates the events. Except for a few dialogues, there aren’t many moments where the film manages to surprise you, with the twists being either too predictable or too late. Ponmagal Vandhal feels like another excuse to talk about social issues such as rape, honour killing, kidnapping, child abuse and sexual abuse – all in one. The film neither creates an impact in the mind of the viewer nor leaves them with a feeling of having watched a good courtroom drama at least. At the end of it all, everything seems half-baked.


 

Music and Other Departments
Govind Vasantha’s music complements the proceedings in a fine manner, but there is nothing special this time with respect to the score he delivers. The editing and the cinematography are functional, even though there is a good amount of scope with Ooty backdrop in hand.
 
Highlights
Parthiepan’s enjoyable act is the single big takeaway from Ponmagal Vandhal. The actor again proves his prowess with a jolly cakewalk performance that is packed with great ripostes.


 

Drawbacks
The absence of a proper, coherent story that is devoid of interesting incidents needed to grip the viewer causes Ponmagal Vandhal’s downfall.
 
Did I enjoy it?
No. Parthiepan’s performance offers some respite to this bland film.
 
Do I recommend it?
Would not do so. With all the buzz surrounding the OTT release, the team of Ponmagal Vandhal may have got in enough attention from the audiences in lockdown. However, the film does not live up to the buzz created.

 

Synopsis : This gripping tale revolves around the story of a resident in Ooty named ‘Petition’ Pethuraj who reopens a case from 2004 that involved a serial killer ‘Psycho Jyothi’ who was convicted for the kidnapping and murder of five children and two youngsters. Venba, his daughter and a passionate lawyer, weaves through the loopholes to bring out the real truth. The case turns out to be a devious maze where nothing is what it seems on the surface. Condemned to be hungry for fame and publicity, she cleverly argues for justice despite all the challenges thrown at her.
Cast : Jyothika, K Bhagyaraj, R Pandiarajan, R Parthiepan, Thiagarajan and Prathap Pothen
Directors : J.J Fredrick
Producer/s : Suriya
Cinematographer (DoP) : Ramji
Production House : 2D Entertainment
Music : Govind Vasantha

Movie Duration (minutes) : 123
Digital Premiere Date : May 29, 2020

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