Readers Write In #461: Kaathu Vaakula… A tale of two many backstories

Posted on May 3, 2022


By Harish Prakash

Let’s start where KRK begins. Rambo’s many uncles and an aunt remain unmarried because of a supposed curse running in the family that marriages will lead to mishaps. This happens as soon as Rambo is born. His father falls off a water tower and dies and his mother falls ill and gets bedridden. His many uncles and an aunt are hence left unmarried and longing for love. Later on, we see them rooting for Rambo after he has grown up and fallen in love with not one person, but two. In the end, the many uncles and an aunt get married since the curse is supposedly lifted because both Rambo’s lovers agree to marry him.

As logic defying and absurd as it may seem, nobody describes the movie as a story of Rambo’s many single relatives who eventually get married. These characters are there to probably justify Rambo’s supposed societal perversion, which is, loving and marrying two women at the same time. But why do we have these half a dozen relatives we hardly care for? Maybe to raise the stakes for Rambo to get married. I wonder what KRK would be like without these forgettable characters. Couldn’t Rambo just love two women and be indecisive on who to settle for irrespective of family pressures?

Let’s move to Kanmani’s backstory. Her parents are both dead. She has a younger sister and a disabled brother who she takes care of, while making ends meet. She also has a  large house inherited from her father but it will only be handed to her once she gets married. So, Kanmani desperately hunts for a husband. She eventually meets Rambo and somehow gets the house with his help. What if Kanmani just seeks love and finds Rambo? Rambo in this scenario is a person she connects with and is not her savior.

And finally, Katija’s backstory. Her father isn’t well and for some reason she’s forced to date and party with a guy she doesn’t like. Katija connects with Rambo who helps rescue her from the bad guy she is dating. Why does someone who can take 50 lakhs from her bank account and give it off to a stranger (Rambo) appear to have no agency in who she wants to date? What if she just falls out of love with a guy and falls in love with Rambo. And what if KRK is a movie about three strangers in the present and not about their past or backstories.

If you have come this far, you either agree with how pointless and superficial backstories are in a 160 min movie, or are questioning my sanity for asking so much from a movie meant to merely entertain. Entertain it does. But it also borders on tediousness. Maybe keeping it simple would help. Not everything and everybody needs motivation or a backstory. Two (in KRK’s case, three) people just meet and connect. And that itself is a sufficient enough movie plot. For well etched backstories, a web series with 10 or more episodes might work, in which characters are not bad background props, but stay awhile and offer something meaty to the plot.