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The Accidental Farmer and Co Series Review: A quirky premise that needed more quips to stay entertai- Cinema express

The Accidental Farmer and Co Series Review: A quirky premise that needed more quips to stay entertaining

Despite a premise that offers plenty of eccentricities to play with, it is let down by blandness and needed a fleshed-out screenplay

Published: 10th March 2023

When Tamil films like Mundasupatti, and Pannaiyarum Padminiyum were released, it gave a much-needed fillip to the way rural entertainers were made. The makers built a world where despite the lack of logic, and the overdose of randomness, the presence of certain quirky elements worked in favour of the film. The innocence, which is now often mistaken as 'dumbness' is the USP of such films, and it is so for SonyLIV's latest, The Accidental Farmer & Co.

Cast: Vaibhav, Ramya Pandian, Badava Gopi, Chuthi Aravind, Vinodhini, and others 

Streaming on: SonyLIV

Director: Sugan Jay

The Accidental Farmer & Co is set in the village called Mannmaadha. You are cautioned not to read it as 'manmadha' but as 'mann maadha' because the villagers see the land as their maadha (mother). The Accidental Farmer and Co revolves around the village wastrel Chella (Vaibhav), who inherits an infertile piece of land, much to his chagrin. There is his lover Sheela (Ramya Pandian) who is battling for a divorce, a medicine practitioner Vaithiyar Moorthy (Chutti Aravind), a postman (Badava Gopi), an agricultural labourer Nallamakka (Vinodhini), schoolboy Sevala (Naga Vishal) and a farmer Engaalu (Venkatesan). The series unfolds when Chella, unknowingly, begins to cultivate marijuana, and uses the motley group of villagers to sell Mary Jane as the medicinal herb, Rathi, to cure all kinds of sickness in the village. With most of the members of the group working on this farming project unaware of what is being cultivated, The Accidental Farmer & Co had the potential to be one of the funniest originals on the streamer. It is a premise that offers plenty of eccentricities. Considering the audience is kept in the loop of what's happening way before the characters know, the film bravely ventures into the dark comedy territory, which was well-established in films like Kolamavu Kokila.

The Accidental Farmer & Co scores really high on the technical front. Right from the tonality of the series to the performances and the writing of the characters, it works in favour of The Accidental Farmer & Co. Each of the characters has a neat arc, and there wasn't a single role that stood out like a sore thumb from the ensemble. The writing brings in decent coherency, and the minute detailing is a positive sign. But these are just the minor details that get dissolved in the larger picture that the screenplay has to offer.

Where The Accidental Farmer & Co goes wrong is there are long stretches where it neither attempts to make you laugh nor are the characters explored beyond their primary layers. For example, Chella wants to go to Finland, only because he knows that people of that country rank high on the happiness index. This randomness could have played an enjoyable part if it got better with writing and understanding of the character. But it does not happen with The Accidental Farmer & Co. Sevala is a student who is aware of the limited infrastructure in his village and is a regular visitor of the local botanical testing centre, and Ramya’s Sheela is a woman who was married off at 19 but has got the guts to leave her unpleasant marriage. However, these attributes are not fully fleshed out, and these remain half-baked and underdeveloped character arcs. Also, the idea of innocence is pushed beyond recognition, and it just becomes farcical rather than a cute moment.

Also, the time duration of The Accidental Farmer & Co is a strength, for sure. It is impressive how none of the episodes weigh too heavily in our minds. We do get short episodes that aim to warrant a quick and lighter watch, but do we really laugh? That is highly debatable. The Accidental Farmer might not be an outstanding addition to the existing OTT catalog, but it is definitely worth mentioning how newer grounds are being broken in this space, and with just better finesse, we might soon cultivate the long-awaited assembly line of quality homegrown content.

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