Movie Review – Kadal

Posted: June 2, 2013 in Movie Reviews
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After modern day adaptations of Mahabaratham and Ramayanam Mani Ratnam this time takes a good old holy book Bible and makes a good old Good Vs Bad adaptation of it. There is no surprise this time in the film unlike the former. You get to know the crux of the story in the very first scene before the title flashes up. You get awed by Arjun’s charm in the very beginning.


The story develops slowly but steadily. The first two parts where the kids grow up were beautifully shot. It had Mani Ratnam stamp all over it. It is one of the most violent openings done by Mani Ratnam but he makes us to watch it without any distress. If the first part had a cute kid whose minimal expressions brought us lump in our throat. The second kids part was my favorite. The way a poor kid gets transformed to an arrogant individual was superbly shot. With Magudi background and start stop action the sequence was brilliant. Equally brilliant was when the kid cries before the tape recorder and gets beaten by the father. It was good to see the accent mastered by almost everyone. This give the pleasure to the writer who has written it, to see people pronouncing his words pitch perfect, the way he would have wanted to.

Then comes the grown up Thomas. An exquisitely charming GauthamKarthik. What Mani Ratnam did to Karthik in MounaRagam he has done the same to his son in his very first film. What a launch this fellow has got and how well did he grab the opportunity. The films highest beneficiary is this guy though the film has equal screen space for Arjun, Arvind Sami and himself. Thulasi Nair gets just a flash in the pan role and I’m more than satisfied for not showing her throughout the movie. Calling her an angel was as atrocious a statement one could give. It was so damn irritating to see another crackpot actress. The excuse given this time is that her brain is under developed. Oh please give me a break.

The film was beautifully made till the Interval. I was happy that Mani Ratnam has started doing what he does best. Make ‘Chennai’ movies but right after the interval confusion starts, not only for us but for him too. He gets tied between the good and bad. Good side was to make a ‘Chennai’ film and bad part was to make a ‘global’ film. To be honest he didn’t go to either side which teared him apart. There were some obvious references which anyone with basic knowledge could identify like how Arjun always wears black and Arvind Sami wears white. It goes so literal in the scene where Arjun comes to meet Arvind Sami in the jail. In a scene before that we see camera trying to capture the barbed wire giving us a feel of Jesus getting nailed.

This film is an example of how a second half could totally bring down the high spirits one has for the movie after first half. It was very unclear when Gautham proposes that he’ll be Bergman’s (Arjun) assistant. I was not all convinced for the reason he gives to Arjun for that. I thought he’d get into Arjun’s fort and kill him in his evil ways. Yes that would have become a normal film but at least normalcy would have been restored instead of plainly targeting good versus bad.

I don’t know what genre the film fits into. It was called a love story in the beginning but there was hardly any romance in it. But whatever little romance there was it was good. I loved the romance part next to the kids’ part. It was good to see two really young people in a youthful love story. Gautham’s smile was realistic. An only honest opinion Bea gives in the movie. Bea’s quirky smile worked for the crackpot part of the story but in the songs when she is expected to be sexy she gives that smile of hers and totally spoils the mood.

But special mention to a couple of songs. Magudi was awesome to hear in the theatre. Except for Adiyae and Nenjukulae I haven’t heard other songs. But with its very initial beats itself Magudi impressed me. When it came in the second half where Gautham becomes evil it was even more terrific. It added to the charm he showed. Not only that Adiyae too was superbly shot, choreography was amazing. The opening of Adiyae made the whole theatre go crazy without their knowledge. But the irritating fact was whenever there comes a melody we could clearly differentiate between the beaches here and beaches in Andaman. This in spite of being not a major threat to the film it severely spoiled the flow of the film.

The film ends with an insipid climax. I’m not someone who expects cheap thrills like a dramatic climax. The point is why try to dramatize a climax and put in so much dues ex machina. How many times are we going to see Arvind Sami and Gautham and Arjun come out from their death? Above all it was an unwritten statement that evil is not going to triumph. Yes I give it to idea. Making positive movies is a good thing. But what this movie does is it force feeds us to hear the sermon. We all are okay with good triumphing evil but when an hour of preaching is done to say the same point again and again is what the most irritating factor is. So the climax was another point in the film where a big GOOD TRIMUPHS EVIL hoarding is put up.

I don’t know what exactly Mr. Mani Ratnam is going through. When he could make these kids act so well. Why couldn’t he make a movie like Anjali. Even though I don’t have any right to say what he has to do, as a viewer I don’t want a director who is talented and a person whom the whole Tamil Nadu looks up to, falter to some evil demons. I sincerely hope that by this flop Mani Ratnam will shed his inner demons and make movies which are more grounded


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