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'Kadali' Review: Waveless Emotion

Film: Kadali
Rating: 2/5
Banner:
Madras Talkies
Cast: Gautham Karthik, Arvind Swamy, Arjun, Thulasi Nair, Lakshmi Manchu, Ponvannan, Kalairani, Singampuli and others
Music: A R Rahman
Cinematographer: Rajeev Menon
Editor: Sreekar Prasad
Screenplay, direction: Mani Ratnam
Producers: Mani Ratnam, Manohar Prasad

Story
Set on the backdrop of the fisherman community, Thomas (Gautham Karthik) grows up as a careless and lawless person until Father Sam (Arvind Swamy) comes into his life and gives him a direction and purpose of living. But in the past Sam has an issue with the bad guy Berchmans (Arjun) who is a noted don. He frames a plan and traps Sam and puts him in jail. Meanwhile, Thomas falls in love with Priya (Thulasi) but she has a past which is not known to anyone. After Sam’s arrest, Thomas loses his faith again and joins hands with Berchmans. What happens after that forms the rest of the story.

Performances
Gautham Karthik has traces of his father Karthik and he was confident and expressive. While his natural body language was suitable for the role, as a debutante he did a good job.

Thulasi Nair will have issues. She has to cut down her weight and must work a lot on her looks. Of course, she was at ease in front of the camera and did her bit as required without much issue.

It is good to see Arvind Swamy back and that too in good shape. As usual, his character was mild and he fitted into it without any difficulty. One should see more of him to assess if he still has it in him or not.

Arjun is a true performer as he infuses his presence into the character smoothly. For a change, he did a role with a negative shade but he proved his mettle in quite a few scenes.

Lakshmi Manchu was brief but made her presence felt strongly. Thambi Ramaiah was neat, Ponvannan was good, Kalairani was standard. The others didn’t have much scope.

Highlights

  • Cinematography
  • Background score

Drawbacks

  • No concrete plot
  • Weak energy
  • Confusing emotions
  • Slow pace
  • Zero entertainment

Analysis
Mani Ratnam and his legacy goes beyond the regular filmmakers and that is why though he takes his own time to make a film, everyone waits patiently. There is a good reason why Mani Ratnam is so popular. His storytelling, his flavor and above all, his technical finesse such as cinematography, songs, background score create a totally new experience for the viewer.

All these factors played a key role as everyone entered the theatre for this film. The fact that it also had two noted debutantes also added to it. But few minutes after the film begins, one begins to realize that Mani Ratnam has not forgotten his signature style but he forgot the changing time.

The film suffered big time due to lack of proper storyline and all tracks had some relevance but without a direction, depth or emotional connect. As it is, since it is a dubbed flick there is going to be the issue of relating to the nativity. So, it is not really sure what Mani was trying to convey through this film.

The opening is decent and one can see the artistic side of it but unless there are characters that the audience has to relate to and scenes that should make them go through the emotions it is of no use. The first half is more focused on the equation between Karthik and Arvind Swamy. The second half has a little bit of romance but it is not nurtured well.

Overall, this is a film which is technically well made but in terms of content, substance, feel it is a disappointment. Given the budget involved, it is very hard for it to score.

Also, there are movies like ‘Ongole Githa’ ‘Vishwaroopam’ around which will hamper.

Bottomline: A sea with no salt…

(Venkat can be reached at venkat@greatandhra.com or https://twitter.com/greatandhranews)

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