Film review: The Crow’s Egg is a light-hearted gem from Tamil cinema
Naturalistic performances shine through in this personable look at the poverty gap in India
Tamil cinema gets a rare outing in Hong Kong with this life-affirming story of two Chennai slum kids and their efforts to taste the exotic and seemingly unattainable pizza sold at a flashy new eatery. Buoyed up by charming, naturalistic performances and a catchy soundtrack from G.V. Prakash Kumar, The Crow’s Egg is that rare family film that eschews big budget effects and animated antics in favour of relatable characters and home truths.
In a society built on a strictly regimented caste system, India’s poverty gap is perhaps one of the most prominent in the world. For his first feature, former wedding photographer M. Manikandan explores this issue through the cavernous divide between the affluent staff and clientele of an air-conditioned pizzeria and the residents of the neighbouring slum.
Newcomers Vignesh and Ramesh steal the show as the mischievous young leads, ably supported by Iyshwarya Rajesh as their mother, who struggles to keep them in line while her husband serves time in prison. There is also a cameo from Tamil superstar Silambarasan, as an A-list actor bussed in to promote the new restaurant.
The light-hearted and witty script, also written by Manikandan, cleverly incorporates everything from political corruption to media manipulation, painting a rich and vibrant portrait of the contemporary Indian experience. Never forcing its social message down our throats, The Crow’s Egg remains focused on a younger audience, highlighting the importance of being independent and self-reliant, while also warning us to be careful what we wish for.
The Crow’s Egg opens on December 3