Friends, do this exercise when you read the story of Cuckoo or when you watch the movie, forget the lead protagonists are blind and check whether you will watch this movie full of cliches. The hero is a prankster, has lot of friends who make fun of others, falls in love with a girl at the first touch and tries to sacrifice his love when he finds she is in love with another person. He even does the latest clichéd woman bashing (even without professing his love to the girl) song that has become standard fare in every movie and the movie even has the god of cliches – climax at a train station.
The only bit that differentiates Cuckoo from other clichéd love stories is that all these happens between visually impaired protagonists. Cuckoo is a love story between Thamizh (Attakathi Dinesh) and Sudhandhira Kodi (Malavika) directed by Raju Murugan (hugely popular with Vikatan readers because of his Vattiyum Mudhalum series). Raju Murugan should be commended for the extensive detailing he had done on how the life of visually impaired people would be. For instance, at the beginning, you receive a sequence where you only hear sounds and nothing more. In fact, the supporting characters of Sangeetha and Governor portray the reality of blindness and that makes the lead characters little artificial in few scenes. What makes Cuckoo watchable is the wonderfully crafted dialogues, sharp, sometimes tongue-in-cheek and tremendously effective. The cinematography of PK Varma is adequate while Santhosh Narayanan's background score didn't match his brilliant songs. Potta Pulla, Manasula Soora Kaathu and Aagasatha will be rocking the charts this year while his background score will be a forgettable fare in his repertoire. The overemphasis of ambient sounds so as to show the life of visually impaired hampers the score a great deal but the use of Ilaiyaraaja songs to move the story forward is heart warming. The portrayal of parody actors who do stage shows is comical but it is used to potshots at actors rather trying to give insight in to their life. Karuppusamy Kuthaigtharar did a better job at that.
Albeit the heartwarming performances, wonderful dialogues and lilting songs, Cuckoo suffers because of bad screenwriting. Raju Murugan loses focus after establishing the lead characters and their love. The story meanders like a share auto instead of the train they travel by. You lose sight of timeline, you don't know why there are so many characters introduced and sometimes the scenes are forcibly introduced in to the narrative with the purpose of creating problems for lead protogonists. For instance, the election money trail in which Thamizh gets caught and we don't know what happened to Thamizh's friend (Aadukalam Murugadoss) who promised to accompany him. The scenes are not as natural as the characters are. And the outrageously meandering climax will test your patience and I thought the entire thing was rammed in just to show Raju Murugan write that essay in Vikatan. If Cuckoo had ended in the van where they both travel without knowing they are (the most poignant moment in the movie), the climax would have struck many hearts.
Cuckoo had the ingredients of becoming a classic but it flattered to deceive. Having said that, Cuckoo is really worth the watch for the characters and dialogues. You will enjoy the cliches in different light but it would have been wonderful if the direction wasn't a cliche.
A 2.5/5 and one time watch for Raju Murugan's Cuckoo. I wished this Cuckoo's song was as sweet as the Raaja songs used in the movie.