A young man, so lazy that he gets his neighbours to open a locked door rather than getting out of bed to do so himself, inherits a farm from his grandfather. After days of trying to coax crops out of the infertile earth, Chella finds a wonder plant that seems to sprout all by itself that transforms his fortunes – but also brings trouble to his sleepy village.
We know where Accidental Farmer & Co is headed. We also realise early on that like its lethargic hero, the new SonyLIV show prefers meandering paths to the straight road. Writer-director Sugan Jay has a simple idea that he pads with quirky characters, sharply written humour and engaging whimsy.
Maari director Balaji Mohan serves as creative producer for the Tamil-language series. Chella (Vaibhav) has a bunch of memorable fellow travellers. There is the elderly Engaalu (Venkatesan), who never means what he says, and his canny spouse (Dhanam). There is Nallamakka (Vinothini Vaidyanathan), who develops a thing for the postman (Badava Gopi). As for Chella, his heart throbs for the married-but-separated Sheela (Ramya Pandian).
The quack Moorthy (Chutti Aravind) insists on testing his home-grown remedies on himself with disastrous results. Durai (Inba Ravi) and Mani (Vinoth) watch on in amazement as Chella bumbles through his agricultural experiments. Finally, the schoolboy Sevala (Naga Vishal) is one among very few people who knows the value of the lucrative crop.
The eight-episode show could easily have been wrapped up at half the length. There is actually a fine and fun movie here, about stereotypically clueless villagers sitting on the equivalent of the discovery of oil in their backyard. Frequently held back by its propensity for overstating its points, Accidental Farmer & Co finally wakes up from its pleasant wanderings in the final episodes, which give the show much-needed momentum while leading into a second season.
Some of the exaggerated wackiness falls flat – the track revolving around the charlatan doctor Moorthy runs out of steam pretty fast. While the Chella-Sheela romance is a nicely observed track that dispenses with the usual moralising, the more endearing relationship is between Nallamakka and the resourceful postman.