Kanda Naal Mudhal
I described the soundtrack of Kanda Naal Mudhal as a "delight". Until the intermission, it appears as if the same term could be used to describe the film also. But what transpires on screen after the break dashes that hope. What starts off as an enjoyable, different film eventually ends up as a pale copy of countless other romances.
Krishna(Prasanna) and Ramya(Laila) have been at each other's throats at every occasion they met in the past. Now they come face to face again when Krishna accompanies his US-returned friend Arvind(Karthik) to finalize Arvind's alliance, for the girl they go to see is none other than Ramya. Krishna tries to poison Arvind's mind against Ramya but Ramya does the job herself when she tries to act as someone she is not. That irritates Arvind, who tells her the marriage is off. But Ramya believes it is Krishna who has sabotaged her marriage and her hatred for him increases even more.
Kanda Naal Mudhal is a love story that is undone by love! The movie is youthful and fun as long as none of the characters are in love. It creates likeable characters, fashions interactions between them in an interesting way and creates a knot that looks like it will be fun to unravel. But once love enters the picture, the film stumbles badly. It loses track of what made the first half so enjoyable and turns mushy, cinematic and cliched.
The first half is interesting because it has familiar players in the field but they end up playing a different game. With two men and a woman, the story has the elements of a love triangle but plays out differently. With the fights between Prasanna and Laila and the drama between Karthik and Laila, it proceeds interestingly. The above two factors also lend themselves to comedy and this has been exploited in a subtle manner. Laila's posing as a possible doormat wife Karthik's exasperation at the same and Prasanna's attempts to reveal the truth lead to some very funny moments.
But after Karthik is almost out of the picture, the film becomes completely predictable. And thats not its only problem. There are several rather silly sequences(the one with Prasanna and Laila in the middle of the road takes the cake) and the dialogs, which were natural and funny so far, turn overly sentimental and artificial.
Its pretty amazing that when a film takes a turn for the worse, all aspects of it seem to be affected. I'm talking about the picturization of the song sequences here. The first few songs like Erimalai Naane... and Kookoovena... are picturized very differently and interestingly. Even Pushing It Hard..., my least favorite of the songs, is picturized in a humorous manner and is placed at a suitable point. But the second half sees both Merke Merke... and Panithuli... picturized very unimaginatively. The former is also awkwardly placed while the latter starts off as a seemandham song before turning into a weak duet. There is another song, sung very badly by Yuvan(I think) that was not part of the soundtrack.
Prasanna gets another role that suits his strength - subtle comedy. He has this ability to say funny things with a straight face and that is very funny. Laila looks incredibly cute here, particularly in the scene where her marriage with Karthik is finalized. She is in her elements when she is fighting or playing for laughs but comes up short during the emotional scenes in the second half. Karthik fits the role of the US-return and his accent sounds true. Among the 2 seniors, Revathi seems more natural compared to Lakshmi, who always tends to overact.