Directed by Kiruthiga Udayanidhi
Cast: Kalidas Jayaram, Tanya Ravichandran, Renuka, Gauri G Kishan, Karunakaran
After the lockdown imposed due to the pandemic, we have all become more aware of mental health and the importance of good mental health to living a healthy life. We all went through a low phase when the virus forced us to let go of our everyday lives and sit in our own four walls. We experienced this due to the uncertainty of what will happen next. Have we ever wondered what people go through who are unsure if they will live the next minute? How much have we thought about the lives of people diagnosed with chronic mental health issues? Yeah, we didn’t think much about it. Kiruthiga Udayanidhi’s Paper Rocket tries to give us a glimpse into this world.
The series covers a range of themes including death, guilt, ambition, insecurity, closure etc. The story revolves around a couple of people who all know each other through group therapy. Her life becomes happy when one day a newcomer, Jeeva, is her key to checking off the last items on her bucket list. How they approach this journey with the different types of problems and mental health issues they have forms the rest of the story.
The series is mostly about grief. It touches on important issues like depression, sexual abuse, losing loved ones, life after a serious injury, etc. In general, a show that deals with grief tends to irritate the audience with melancholy music. Surprisingly, this series makes you laugh at the most unexpected of times. The way it handles grief and closure gives us some hope for future challenges we might face in life.
Character depth is extremely important to this show. The show is about the lives of 8 characters and the effect they have on each other. Each individual character has a backstory that explores their bucket list moment. Some stories are dramatic, some funny, some sad. But their stories take us on a journey that makes us forget our own lives.
The beginning of the series with seven episodes is a little tough. So you’re wondering if the series is just another deep philosophical take on life. Thankfully, the rest of the show doesn’t progress that way. Soon we will be introduced to the fun side of the characters and their stories. Yes, the series has many deep philosophical messages. But they are kept to a minimum at the right moments. For example, in one episode, a group of children speak volumes about how people become greedy and selfish as adults. In all the right ways, it feels like a slap in the face and makes us think of all the friends we’ve lost because of our egos.
The only thing that could have been better is the novelty. Yes, the story is new and explores the problems and heartaches of a number of people. But some of the messages it conveys are ones that we have seen in Tamil cinema for a very long time. For example, one episode is about how two brothers are separated because of their greed for family property. This episode spends a lot of time teaching us lessons about family and unity. Yes, such ownership issues still exist today. But the news has already been received from Padaiyappa and many other films of this type. So that could have been different.
Kalidas Jayaram, Tanya Ravichandran and Gauri Kishan are relatively new to the film industry. After Paper Rocket, we know they deserved many more projects with different concepts. Kalidas, the protagonist and the headliner really lead the show. Other actors like Karunakaran, Renuka, Poornima Bhagyaraj and Nirmal Pazhani also did more than their best. When the series ends, it leaves the audience wanting more because it really keeps them hooked episode after episode.
Music led the show. In a way, this series is just a series of montages of soothing and meaningful songs. A song about home, “Jo Jo Jo” really makes you homesick. Similarly, “Cheranaadu,” sung by Ramya Nambeesan and Simon King, is a sweet love song to listen to over and over again. Finally, “Kaalai Maalai” in Sid Sriram’s voice encapsulates the whole essence of the series.
Paper Rocket is Kiruthiga Udayanidhi’s third work. So far, all of their works have left us with a feel-good experience. Paper Rocket in particular really makes us sit and think about the life we’re living. But this thought process is not instilled by harsh and depressing scenes. It is repeated by fun-loving relationships and moments in the lives of these characters. After a week of hard work, Paper Rocket will be a really good weekend binge watch, especially with family.
Conclusion: watch it with your family and think deeply about life!