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'Kathakali' Review: Watchable Thriller

'Kathakali' Review: Watchable Thriller

Movie: Kathakali
Rating: 2.75/5
Cast: Vishal, Catherine Tresa, Madhusudhan, Karunas and others
Dialogues: Sashank Vennelakanti
Music: Hip Hop Tamizha
Cinematography: Balasubramaniem
Editing: Pradeep Ragav
Produced by: Vishal
Written and Directed by: Pandiraj 
Release Date: March 18, 2016

Actor Vishal has been trying to regain his popularity in Telugu. In the beginning of his career, he delivered hits like "Pandem Kodi". Irrespective of his movies not doing extremely well, his dubbed movies always created good buzz. His latest film is "Kathakali".

Find out the movie's merits and demerits. 

The story starts off with Kamalakar (Vishal) returning to Kakinada after spending four years in USA to get married to his girlfriend Mallishwari (Catherine). Kamalakar's family sent him to USA as he is involved in a fight with a gangster called Samba (Madhusudhan). While Kamalakar is busy shopping for his wedding with Mallishwari in Vizag, Samba gets killed in Kakinada. Who is the culprit? The point of suspicion is on Kamalakar who says he is not involved in the murder. Police ask him to come to the Kakinada police station for inquiry. The game begins now. The rest of the drama is all about finding who killed the dreaded goon.

Artistes’ Performances:
Vishal has got to portray two shades of characterization - a stylish US return guy and a local youth. He has shown the variation in both characterizations and has given sincere performance. He is good in the second half.

Catherine Tresa doesn't have much role but she looks cute. Among other Tamil actors, the guy who played the role of Samba and SI are perfect.  

Technical Excellence: 
Like most of the Tamil movies, "Kathakali" boasts high quality cinematography and terrific action moments. Shooting in actual locations in some small towns in Tamilnadu has lent the movie a different quality. There are only two songs but they don't make any impact though. Background score is topnotch. Editing is neat.


  • Racy screenplay
  • Second half
  • No deviation from the story
  • Vishal


  • Uninteresting romantic track
  • First 45 minutes 

After a long time, Vishal is seen in a different movie within the action genre with "Kathakali". The film is less of an action drama and more of a whodunit.

It begins as a regular movie with a lengthy track of how Vishal has fallen in love with Catherine due to an old mobile number of Vishal, going to Catherine. This is quite boring.

But real drama begins after the first forty five minutes as director shifts gear to the killing of local don Samba and the story of Vishal and Samba's family. 

Though Police pick up Vishal as culprit despite he telling that he is not guilty, from the beginning the director plants many scenes rightly with the suspicion pointing to many characters - Vishal, Vishal's brother, Vishal's two friends, rival gang of Samba, Samba's son, etc. Till the end the truth is not revealed. The director succeeds in keeping the tempo till the end with a twist in the climax. 

The story isn't new but the way it is narrated is engaging. Although there are typical Tamil movie elements and the narration loses grip in the end, the climax is interesting.

Vishal beats up goons, takes selfie with them and sends the picture to their boss through Whatsapp. Such funny scenes are also there in the film. 

There are also many loopholes in the story and many action scenes are predictable. The bus arrest sequence of Vishal is somewhat new but it is not convincing at all. All in all, "Kathakali" is watchable murder mystery.

Bottom-line: Whodunit!

(Venkat can be reached or Twitter)



Tags: Kathakali Kathakali Review Kathakali Telugu Review Vishal