Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Favorite Tamil Love Stories - III

Kaadhal


Tamil cinema romances - even the ones that end in tragedy - are usually lighthearted, candyfloss romances with emphasis on cuteness rather than realism. In this environment of cinematic romances and artificial feelings, the romance in Kaadhal is a real eye-opener. Presenting all facets of love without sugarcoating any of it, the film is a unique experience in the genre of romantic movies.

Watching Kaadhal is like watching the goings-on in our neighborhood. More real than a reality showand more candid than a Candid Camera episode, it feels like the movie is a result of the camera rolling as ordinary people go about their everyday lives. Bharath and Sandhya are two fascinating characters in the middle of this and so its no surprise that we become involved with their lives. We share their happiness when they are with each other, their sorrow as they struggle in the city and their dread as Sandhya's family catches up with them.

When it comes to movies, sadness always has a greater impact than happiness and so Kaadhal is at its most powerful when it throws the young couple into difficulties. The problems they face(and the solutions they come up with) are as real as they can be and movie serves as a realistic epilogue for all those movies that portray eloping as the solution for lovers in trouble (even the troubles faced by Madhavan and Shalini post-eloping in Alaipaayuthey seem cinematic after seeing Kaadhal!). Its only in the climax that the movie abandons its realism and what sounds like a very powerful climax on paper sees its impact diluted somewhat on screen(a big reason for this is Sandhya's overacting).

Among the romances in Tamil cinema, Kaadhal stands out as one of the most realistic ever.

6 Comments:

At 4:24 PM, Anonymous ram said...

a para from my review that echoes your sentiments abt the movie:

As I mentioned earlier, the down-to-earth nature of this movie is one of its biggest assets. If the adolescent love story in the first half captivates us with its sweetness, the bitter realities of the second half haunt us with their sharpness. There is a simple but telling sequence that deserves special mention - the lovers having escaped to Chennai wait for their friend in a dirty corner of a desolate road- the rank smell bugs the little girl. Later the three of them are walking the streets of Chennai in the scorching heat, looking for a place to live, when the girl complains that she cannot endure it anymore because she is getting her period. This whole sequence is so well-written and shot with such restraint and dignity that the film manages to shed light on the unsavory details of real life that are conveniently forgotten in Tamil Cinema’s usual attempts to either trivialize or romanticize the lives of youngsters. Thinking in retrospect, it is amazing how “Kadhal” works just as well as a cautionary tale.

 
At 4:39 PM, Anonymous ram said...

please tell me raja paarvai is # 1 or # 2 :-D
coz i absolutely love the story of raghu and nancy (kamal and madhavi, for those thamizh cinema illiterates!)

 
At 5:11 PM, Anonymous Sandya said...

I think Kaadhal can be revered for being subtle.. but I don't buy that any of the emotions displayed in this film (or the way they have been filmed!) are terribly unique or original. I still feel that "Kaadhal" was a very ordinary film at best. I don't know.. I have never felt that it was extraordinary or superlative in anything that it delved with, except winning out substantially in the 'subtlety' department.

If anything, both Bharat and Sandhya have learned the 'best' in basics about acting (emotional and physical) and the film really built a solid foundation for them and Balaji Shaktivel. I've never been convinced that Kaadhal was superlative to be part of any top 5, 10, or 15 list.. while I can surely see a "Rhythm," "Raaja Paarvai" or even an "Alaipaaythey" (I guess there's no hiding that I am an ardent Mani fan! :-) being part of any list. None of these films are flawless (while each of us can claim otherwise!), they fulfill our respective requirements/wishes for good romantic cinema.

That said, Balaji, I accept your choice of "Kaadhal" in this top 5 selection, but respectfully disagree, as "Kaadhal" is just too ordinary overall (even though it is vividly subtle and deserves praise only for that quality).... and Sandhya's overacting is just the half of it! :-)

 
At 7:01 AM, Blogger Me too said...

Bala and Balaji Shaktivel have given many new directors the confidence to go with realistic/natural portrayal on screen!! 'Kaadhal' is among the very few movies which lived upto its expectations and hype.

 
At 10:09 AM, Anonymous Anon21 said...

Sandhya, what elevated 'Kaadhal' to be a more than ordinary film in the minds of audiences was the fact that it was mostly filmed in Madurai :):)

And I think that it was after the success of this movie that we suddenly started seeing other movies being filmed in and out of Madurai...

 
At 11:31 AM, Anonymous Ravi K said...

The basic story is essentially the same old rich-girl-poor-boy story, but the grittiness and sweatiness of the treatment make it worth a look. The end is perhaps over-the-top, but if it had a happy ending I doubt the film would have made an impact. Its not a perfect film by any means, but it is an interesting respite from the usual dishum-dishum masala crap.

 

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