The opening scenes of Little Miss Rawther set the tone for the rest of the film. We are going to watch a filmmaker write a script from his memories: hence the screenwriting instructions that appear over the frames (for instance, "Hospital, INT, Day”). The filmmaker is Abhijit (Shersha Sherief). The woman in his memories is Naina (Gouri G Kishan). They make a very appealing opposites-attract couple, he with his slacker-stoner vibe and she with her obsession with cleanliness and responsibility and other such things. One of the many quirks in this quirky movie is that she is short and he is tall. But like most of the film, this quirk seems funnier when you hear about it – because as you watch the story unfold, nothing big comes of it. Abhijit and Naina could have been of compatible height, and Little Miss Rawther would have more or less been the same movie.
The best part about Little Miss Rawther, directed by Vishnu Dev, is how cleanly it shuttles between the past and the present and how cleanly it ties up its conceits by revisiting them: whether it is a father's admission that he had an affair, or Abhijit's tendency to perform push-ups, or Naina's Cinderella-like bit about ill-fitting footwear. The latter could well be a metaphor for the movie: how we adjust (or get used to) things that don't fit perfectly. Shersha Sherief is also the writer, and he slips in these slivers of plot points even as the major arcs (like a breakup) are underway. Note the very first time Naina disapproves of Abhijit's appearance. It has to do with his… footwear, and she wastes no time in changing it. She loves him, but she also wants him to be a version of himself that's palatable to her. Is that really love? Are they really the right fit?
On the one hand, Naina seems to say that Abhijit does not need a campus-placement job, and that they can survive on his filmmaking. A little later, she says he lacks responsibility. A little later, she says she loves that he is a man without a plan. A little later, after a petrol bunk incident, she regrets being with this man with no plans. She reminds you of Jessie, and it comes as no surprise that one of the major in-movie references is Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya. And remember that there, too, the leading man was a filmmaker. And that, too, was a story about two people who didn't exactly fit. And right there, we zero in on the central issue with Little Miss Rawther. We don't feel about these characters the way we felt about the characters in Gautham Menon's romance. We don't feel as sorry for them, as maddened by them. You don't feel like you want to shake their shoulders and make them see sense. You just shrug and say… "whatever"!
It doesn't seem convincing that Abhijit sees Naina in shorts and is bothered that she lives in a co-ed hostel. It doesn't seem convincing that she wants to elope the day before an important event. It isn't convincing that non-linear storytelling is really needed. It doesn't seem convincing that a point about dowry is brushed away so easily. The scenes with others seem more moving and convincing, like the one where Naina's sister talks, super-casually, about an affair before she got married. That story is also about an ill-fitting couple, but they have learnt to manage. Little Miss Rawther is aided hugely by Luke Jose's vibrant frames and Govind Vasantha's superb songs. But the film never gets that bittersweet zone it is after. With this cast, it is certainly a pleasant-enough watch. But it is also very lightweight, and instantly forgettable.