'Kaaka Muttai' means crow's eggs. Have you see one? These two brothers literally drink the juice out of it! These are not the kids with privilege. No, they are urban kids, but they live in slums. The film is wonderfully shot in the Tamil Nadu slums and gets most of its notes remarkably right. It's an excellent achievement in the form of a film. The screenplay doesn't have a dull moment in hand.
On the whole you should not miss the excellent achievement that M. Manikrandan's 'Kaaka Muttai' is. After the film, you'll be craving for Pizza most likely- and you'll choke in emotion at the fact that you'll get it easily, but these kids will have to earn Rs. 300 in a month to get one. That worked for me so much, I'll promise the film's makers I'll take it in my heart. I go with five stars. Not one flawed note with the film. And if there'd be only one reason to watch this film about childlike wonder, it's the enchanting performance of the kid duo Vignesh and Ramesh.
Kaaka Muttai (காக்கா முட்டை) is a Tamil film written, directed and filmed by M Manikandan. Awesome debut with a masterpiece! This film had seen its release in Toronto International Film festival last year on 5th September, 2014. Manikandan has set a new benchmark for the film industry. The film is an apologue of sorts, which deals with so much of relevant and vital issues of our country. Although, we know these realities, we have failed to acknowledge the same, our sensory organs deny to notice these. It appears to be Children’s movie since two boys are the lead protagonists, but it actually turns out to be everyone’s movie. Manikandan has handled issues viz. Social Class divide, underprivileged children struggling to fulfill their desires, pain of compromising with poverty, child labour, businessmen’s power to strike the right chord using money, politician’s selfish agenda to cash-in every incident & to turn it in their favour, media’s desperate attempts to show a story even without crosschecking the facts etc. Beauty of the movie is that Manikandan is able to convey these messages in a very light but heart-touching manner. I was choked with emotions while watching this movie. I was reflecting continuously how am I contributing to change the things for better. Probably no efforts at all. I just end up writing this film’s review and with due respect to every section of the society, somebody will be highlighting the issues through media, people in power might be promising a lot, but in reality, action is missing. How many of us actually become the reason for the change which makes our country a better place for every citizen? The grimness of the issues dealt in the movie is leavened most of the times with a steady stream of fabulous characters. The life of the characters in the movie is being shown through a cinematic spectrum, but it looks like as if we are watching it live and in person.
Kaaka Muttai (means Crow’s eggs) is the story of two brothers (real names: Vignesh and Ramesh) who live in the area of Chennai. They stay with their mother (Aishwarya Rajesh), paternal grandmother and a pug. Filmmaker has chosen not to give names to these siblings. The two brothers call themselves as Periya Kaaka Muttai (Vignesh) and Chinna Kaaka Muttai (Ramesh). Father is in jail and mother is trying to bail him out. She is working hard to make ends meet. The opening scene itself is an interesting one with younger Kaaka Muttai’s bed-wetting. The two brothers enjoy going to a playground where the elder Kaaka Muttai feeds crow with rice which was his share of food and he had filled his pocket with the same hiding from mother and grandmother. They both enjoy having raw kaaka muttai as well. It is disturbing to see these kids (one of them hasn’t even stopped bed-wetting), not going to school, but to pick up coal from the railway lines, sell the same to earn a meager sum of Rs. 10 a day. Manikandan’s magic is to make these tough scenes also appear light with siblings’ banter. If elder Kaaka Muttai demands cell phone from his father, younger one keeps on telling mother to get a TV for him. It is a delight to watch their joy when mother does finally bring a TV and another TV was delivered at home to grandmother as part of government’s scheme.
The kids lose the playground to developmental activities happening in the city and in no time, trees were cut, ground was leveled and tall structure was standing there. A Pizza store opened which was inaugurated by the actor Silambarasan. Kaaka Muttai(s) and his friends were elated to see the actor eating Pizza. There starts a new desire for both the brothers i.e. to have Pizza. When they learn that it would cost them Rs. 299/- for a Pizza, they decide to earn it. They start working very hard, get help from their friend (an adult friend) Fruit Juice in collecting more coal, sell the same and earn more every day.
What happens thereafter? What all these two brothers do? Do they manage to earn Pizza for themselves? If yes, how do they do it? What all they had to face in the process? How do they arrange the resources to have a bite of Pizza. How rest of the cast make a part of this story? It appears to be a simple tale of two brothers desiring to have a bite of Pizza, but this story has been conveyed with so much of depth.
Vignesh and Ramesh are the true heroes of the film. They are so convincing throughout the movie. Aishwarya is brilliant as their mother and she has done such a powerful work in the movie. She is persistent in following up with advocate to get her husband back. As a loving mother of two naughty children, she adds so much value. Grandmother is also superb. Rest of the cast are all very good.
Lot many scenes are worth mentioning but that may reveal this beautiful story. Let me mention a few scenes. Grandmother’s pizza making efforts when she learns about boys’ desire to have one. Children going beyond their limits to earn Pizza for themselves. Their befriending a rich boy, and communicating with one another by standing on either side of iron fencing – the social divide is so nicely conveyed. Everyday when they meet, they have some stories to talk about. Another scene is where heart-to-heart conversation between mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law happens. It is heartening to see the relationship between them even amidst crisis.
The film has received many accolades. It has got two national award this year: National Film Award for Best Children’s Film and Best Child Artist (both Ramesh and Vignesh). It has also fetched Audience Award at Indian Film Festival, Los Angeles for Best Feature Film and Best Actor.
Kaaka Muttai is a heart-touching phenomenal apologue of two brothers and their pursuit of wanting to earn Pizza. Story, cast and screenplay are absolutely brilliant. A must-watch movie.