Movie Review – Kaatru Veliyidai

Posted: April 18, 2017 in Movie Reviews
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An uninteresting military diary

Post watching the movie, not even a single emotion had caught my attention. If feels very blank even now to think what was there in the film. This must have been the least impactful films I’ve seen in recent times. Even if there had been movies which I had not liked I would have at least hated it but this movie was as bland as Thukpa.

Kaatru Veliyidai.jpg

I loved the title but it hardly made any sense. Yes of course VC (Karthi) is a super confident fighter pilot who says ‘to your left’ instead of just ‘left’ during crisis, his instincts work. Says Bharathiyar’s verse while coming out of hospital, an ode to the title but what post that. Karthi in this film is the exact problem I had with Suriya. A bad actor is better than an over rated one. Karthi is a limited actor, the boy next door looks suit him the best. He was probably trying too hard here, may be even desperate.

When he wears the Ray Ban ‘n’ number of times it doesn’t add to the style, when he shouts at his dad it doesn’t make us angry, when he says that he wants a single malt for getting Leela back it doesn’t show his villainy. Just imagine how beautiful all these scenes would have looked if it had had Prithviraj in it or even may be Mani’s pet Madhavan. And what’s worse, in many scenes he reminded me of Surya. When he said they’ve a terrific chemistry, it was a total disaster, I don’t know how the crowd could keep mum without howling. Are we forgiving all this just for Mani’s sake? Mani is said to be a director who doesn’t give each and every instruction to act. So would it not work for people who don’t have spontaneity. Classic example is the on-the-jeep song. It could easily have been the best moment if he had acted properly.

As you all know, the first choice heroine for the movie was Sai Pallavi. I’m not only saying this because I’m a fan of her but how lovely it’d have been to see her in Saree in Vaan Varuvan. I’m sure most of you would have noticed that jump into the hands of Karthi. Such beautiful scene. But ever since Dr. Leela Abraham (Aditi Rao Hydari) enters the frame by peeping through the window she disturbs our personal space. Most of her shots with Karthi were close ups and camera on top of her. One way of showing how Karthi dominates her. We see her giving ratish-poking-your-nose-out smile, in one way it’s cute with those pink noses but in another it’s annoying. She does it way too much time intruding into one’s body bubble. So you don’t really feel for her when she cries. The scene where she breaks up with Karthi and he goes for the fight should have shattered us but it hardly makes any impact. In a film with so many close ups she had done a sincere job by giving proper lip sync. But every time she talks you feel as if she’s fearing whether she’d lip sync it wrong in the next part. In fact, the only time she seemed to be herself was during Saratu Vandiyila song. Am I the only one who thought Rukmini would have been better choice for heroine than Aditi Rao. That’s some serious miscasting.

Miscasting doesn’t end there. RJ Balaji, I don’t know for what reason was put into the movie. Except for his last scene with Rukmini, nothing was good.

Music was jarring, the BGMs especially. Every time they escape, the same old guitar music. ARR should seriously start doing better BGMs. Even for songs I wasn’t interested much except for Saratu Vandiyila, that was the single brightest moment of the movie be it for music, performance, situation, colors, camera (oh how naughtily it lingers around Aditi’s waist during the start), the scene leading to it, the setting, the scene post it and more importantly lyrics. Only Mani could show marriages in so many different ways. I know everyone would have noticed that line in lyrics “Aanukko Paththu Nimisham, Ponnukko Anju Nimisham”. In Azhagiyae, “Thuli Kaalam Kaettaen, Thuli Kaathal Kaettaen, Thuli Kaamam Kaettaen” Some may call it provocative but this is the liberty only poets have and the way Mani and Vairamuthu so delicately deal with lust is beautiful. “Kaathal Konjam Kammi, Kaamam Konjam Thookal, Manjathin Mael Ennai Mannipaya”.

With respect to ARR I haven’t found any song to have similarity to other songs or older songs of his but here I found it way too many times. Saratu Vandiyila was like Chandiranai thotathu yar, Climax music was like Kadhal Ara Onnu Vizundhuchu, Azagiyae was like Mei Nigara in certain stanza.

Ok so auteurs repeat, that’s fine. But shouldn’t it bring joy to the film viewers. The picturisation of Vaan varuvan reminds of En Uyire from Uyire, Saratu Vandiyila reminds us of Yaro Yarodi, Karthi knowing about her pregnancy reminds us of the scene in Guru in front of the mirror (And how did she pregnant all of a sudden, give some clue Mani Sir), Aditi talks just like Tara, I don’t know whether it was the same person who dubbed. Even though her lip syncs there was absolutely no emotion. The movies structure is similar to Ravanan but at least shot better this time even though the jail parts were a total disaster. Heroes needless to say are clean shaven diplomats. Names are always in full Leela Thompson, Varun Chakrapani and most of the time you get to know about their cast too. Nadar, Thevar, Vanniyar etc.

The hospital scene post Saratu Vaniyila was well made, it came close to the parents talking scene in Alaipayuthey. Needless to say Mani’s eye for details is terrific. Look how Aditi Rao’s lipstick would be smudged in that scene. Lucky girl got superb costumes. Every girl would have loved to wear them. When she comes for the flight in that brown dress I was thinking why Karthi was taking so much time to give her his jacket. Some scenes can never get boring right. That was a good move to show him about her liking to him. Otherwise who wears a sleeveless dress in Leh. The thought process behind the shouting scene in flight was good. That was good acting. First she asks about shouting (typical Mani), then she opens her mouth, turns to his side, then shouts. Terrific. When the flight takes off it feels great. I’ve this fascination but I guess other too would have loved it.

VC is a proud guy who doesn’t want Leela to interfere. Even I didn’t like her wearing his pilot hat but he’s a bit more chauvinistic person. Even though the snowstorm scene didn’t work for me, the hand twisting scene was good, just forceful exhibition of power and he immediately changes into a romantic. Not to the liking of Leela but. When she gets her back and asks for Single Malt, again a scene showing his power was well made but he going to her house to woo her didn’t work. Leela singing and not answering Delhi Ganesh was good but imagining her as a singer didn’t work. More Piya was good but it didn’t look as natural as Malargal Kaettaen, she putting her hand down to tease Karthi in Saratu Vandiyila song was naughty but not as effortless as Shalini having her hand on her friend’s shoulder and saying ‘en mapila matikitan?’

In all, for every good scene there was a bad scene, every good scene reminded of a better scene same like it in some other movie of his. Thus making it as a totally un-impactful movie. Generally, we’d be curious to know someone else’s story, that’s why cinema thrives but here when we think that we’ve got a bumper prize by getting a Warrior’s diary. All we see is an uninteresting note about his self-obsessed take on life.

There is a general phrase saying a bad Mani film is better than many good films but a bad film is a bad film no matter who makes it, whether its Perarasu or Kubrick.

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Comments
  1. ramesh@reuters.co.uk says:

    Awful, embarrassing analysis. You write like someone in their pre-teens. Enjoy your Sivalinga noon show with the front benchers at Albert.

  2. Suman R says:

    Hmm, I see you find faults galore in the film. Let’s help you out and tackle your review paragraph by paragraph:

    1: “not even a single emotion caught my attention” – that itself, my friend, is an emotion. Either way it inspired you to take to social media and make an attempt at a fairly long review of the film, regardless of how “blank” the movie made you feel.

    1: In all fairness, your recent reviews cover some pretty decent movies. So being “least impactful” is not really a downer. Especially when it’s coming from someone with such a limited base of films like you.

    1: Thukpa isn’t bland. Maybe those who make it for you aren’t doing it right.

    2: The title is taken from the verses written by Mahakavi Bharathiar – who is quoted throughout the film, if you paid close enough attention. There’s even a thread where VC’s character says where he gained his fascination for Bharathiar from.

    2: Karthi may not be any Kamal Haasan – but he’s secured some of K Town’s best roles in the past and delivered them with élan. Think Paruthi Veeran, think Madras. He’s also from Mani Ratnam’s own school of films, through his stint as an assistant director. Now try and imagine anyone else from the industry try and pull a romantic face at you, barring Madhavan or Dulquer. Yes, you’ll run.

    3: This ‘aviators’ criticism is so ridiculous. Guessing you’ve never come across an Indian Air Force Pilot. Those things are almost glued to their face, even off duty. Even if so – Mani probably wanted to paint VC as a cocky, stubborn chap in aviators in comparison to Leela and her dainty appearance. That’s how he works. He is no “Perarasu” (sadly) to spell it out for you on screen.

    3: It’s not about showing “villainy”. Real life characters don’t do that. Real characters imply villainy – like VC does in those scenes you mention.

    3: “Mani’s pet Madhavan” – right. As much as we all love Madhavan, this is just picky.

    3: “It was a total disaster, I don’t know how the crowd could keep mum without howling” – I guess the crowd weren’t criticising it for a reason. Awkward.

    4: Two-film-old Sai Pallavi wouldn’t have been befitting of “Azhagiye”, I’m sorry. Promising actress – but no go here. Maybe in Malayalam films – but sadly the rest of India would ridicule her as another average-looking MR heroine like Thulasi (Kadal). Especially as VC’s hollow personality keeps mentioning he wants to be with someone “beautiful”. A blessing in disguise that she didn’t feature.

    4: “Disturbs our personal space” – right, err. If there’s one thing which seems to be unanimously agreed about the film is the performance and casting of Aditi. Rukmini’s a great dancer and was great here – but yeah where else? (Ananda Thandavam – no, Kochadaiyaan – err no, Shamitabh – errr no again).

    5: About RJ Balaji. He’s a character. Have you forgotten Vivek in Alaipayuthey, Janagaraj in Nayagan, Sriman in Aaytha Ezhuthu?

    6: “naughtily it lingers around Aditi’s waist during the start” – ah, guessed it. You cheeky pervert, you. Guess you enjoyed that then. Guessing you had some emotions and didn’t go blank here.

    6 + 7: Okay – these two paragraphs was embarrassingly dedicated to bashing ARR’s well-received work. Pls re-evaluate yourself.

    8: Ah yes, of course. I see a “wedding song” so it must be copied. Great logic. *bangs head* Next.

    8: “how did she pregnant all of a sudden, give some clue Mani sir” – ah, here you go again. No shame at all.

    8: Structurally similar to Raavanan? Aditi Rao Hydari dubbed for by Nithya Menen? – Boy, what have you been watching? Did you actually go in for this movie or did you just sit at home and watch YouTube reviews by amateurs?

    8: “Jail parts were a total disaster” – Dilip Parulkar’s escape from a Pakistani jail in 1971. Go read about it – I don’t think anyone else in India would call it a disaster. Unless you’re not actually Indian, of course.

    8: “Heroes needless to say are clean shaven diplomats” – yeah Dulquer’s scruffy stubble, Gautham’s boy stubble, Vikram’s beard in his last three Tamil films were exactly that “clean shaven diplomats” look. EKSI.

    8: Who even is Leela Thompson? This is becoming a trainwreck of a review here.

    9: Wow – hats off for Mani Ratnam. He must have done well to impress you there.

    10: VC isn’t a chauvinist. He’s someone with a large ego. Big difference.

    10: “she putting her hand down to tease Karthi in Saratu Vandiyila song was naughty” – here you go again.

    11: Yeah, awful conclusion man. Reviews probably aren’t your thing.

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