Monday, October 06, 2008

Kaadhalil Vizhundhen


Romances in Tamil cinema mostly fell into the candyfloss category earlier but we've recently had more directors take chances within the genre, leading to movies that are more surprising and less predictabe. Kaadhalil Vizhundhen is one more addition to the list. Though it starts off on a familiar note, it soon takes a turn into darker territory and never looks back. With a strong lead character and a good screenplay, it keeps us interested though a few missteps prevent it from having the emotional impact it aims for.


Sabapathy(Nakul), on the run with his lover Meera(Sunaina), boards a train and ends up narrating his story to a sympathetic TTE(Livingston). He tells the TTE about Meera taking care of him while he was recuperating from an accident that was her fault; his love for her, that he kept silent about for fear of losing her friendship; and her eventual reciprocation after learning about his true feelings. But as he tells the TTE about the circumstances that have forced them to go on the run, the TTE realizes that things are more serious than what he initially thought.

Recently we have had several movies follow the narrative structure where things start off with something interesting and the film then rewinds to show us what led to that. While some movies, like Kee. Mu. misuse this technique by revealing their cards and lessening the suspense, others, like Alibaba, use the start to set our expectations and then proceed to break them. Kaadhalil Vizhundhen, thankfully, falls in the latter category. The familiar lovers-on-the-run start reveals itself to be something very different once Nakul finishes his story and we are as surprised as Livingston at the turn of events.

The entire movie rests on the shoulders of the character played by Nakul. How much we like the movie depends on how much we buy into the transformation of his character and his subsequent actions. The director lays the groundwork quite well for this. There is a strong, valid foundation for his feelings for Sunaina and both the depth of his love and his fierce way of expressing it are well-etched out. So we feel for him. There are still a couple of scenes(like the one where he cuts her nails) where things get a bit weird but for the most part, he earns our sympathy with his situation. His character is also the reason why the violence, though bloody and gory, doesn't feel gratuitous or exploitative.

Tamil directors are usually guilty of oversimplifying things. Everything is spelt out and there is little that is left to our imagination or understanding. The director here goes the other way and leaves too many things for us to figure out. Some of these, like why Sunaina takes so long to respond to Nakul and what exactly happens during that time, raise some anticipation about an upcoming explanation or surprise, which never comes. Others, like what exactly led to the key plot point that drives the entire movie, are even more damaging since are trying to figure out what happened instead of being pulled along by the movie. It is possible to piece together what happened from the dialogs and actions of the people involved but some kind of explanation would have generated sympathy for one of the key characters and increased our involvement in the events that transpire.

Nakul, the chubby kid from Boys, has undergone an impressive transformation to play hero here. He seems a bit rough around the edges initially but comes into his own as his character gets some new shades. Sunaina is pretty in a simple way but doesn't have much to do. Naakku Mukka... became a rage when the audio was released and brought with it the kind of publicity that no amount of marketing could have generated. Those who enjoyed its fast beats and fun lyrics won't be disappointed in the way it's been picturized. It is real energetic and features some fast dancing from Nakul. The song's second appearance, probably added owing to its popularity, isn't as impressive though. The rest of the soundtrack isn't too bad either. Thozhiyaa... has a catchy tune and some apt lyrics too while Unakkena Naan... has Vijay Anthony's unique stamp over it.

11 Comments:

At 11:00 PM, Anonymous Viswa said...

Unakkena Naan is a absolute ripoff from rihanna's "unfaithful"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_4-zRVFLnY
Shame on Vijay Antony!

Nowadays no more originality in stories or music or whatsoever...tamil cinema heading to lower depths and we moviegoers are taken for a ride time and again
Next time genuine attemptaa irundhalum, copynu dhaan ninaika thonum!! :)

 
At 7:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unakkena Naan is credited in the CD as composed by PV Prasad (Director).

Vijay Antony did it because of the director's request, but didn't want to have the song under his credits.

The lead singer who sung the song has commented about this in a blog.

 
At 7:55 AM, Blogger Raju said...

How about the changing accents of Nakul? It looks as if the dubbing was done in two different time periods..

I liked the movie overall.. Though the explanation part that you mentioned was missing, I like the directors who leave the viewers to imagine what would have happened, or even create the feeling in us to watch it again. I prefer them to those directors who leave the climax open-ended.
All the melodious numbers are good.. 'Solladi', 'Un thalai mudi', 'thozhiya', and 'unakkena naan' (despite the total lift) are in every CD I burnt in the last 10 months or so.
About 'Naka muka' picturization, aptly said. Nowadays, with several dance shows going on in various TV channels, the contestants pick up the songs from unreleased movies and use their own imagination while dancing. Every dance show had atleast one pair dancing to this song. The same is true with talent hunt for dancers, and I must say that most of them did it better than what Sridhar managed in the movie.

 
At 11:28 AM, Blogger just mad said...

" Sunaina is pretty in a simple way " -- and this what I have been telling everybody.

This is a sync really ! ;)

 
At 1:52 PM, Anonymous Gunduz said...

OT:

http://www.kollywoodtoday.com/gallery-updates/enthiran-stills-leak-in-goa-too-images/

ENDHIRAN IMAGES

 
At 2:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

gunduz,

rofl, it's morphed !

 
At 3:37 PM, Anonymous gunduz said...

no, check out www.onlyrajini.com - an article and Aish! as well

 
At 10:25 PM, Blogger Icy Cool said...

I just like that Nakul's energy. I have not seen this movie as yet. But with the little bit I got to see in suntv I think he has a lot of energy in him. Being young boy and having a whole life to dream about helps too I suppose. Btw. I read a review somewhere which used the phrase "Nakul's bold performance". This actually I feel very aptly describes.

 
At 10:55 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

viswa, hadn't heard the song b4 but u're right, 'unakkena naan' is a blatant rip-off :)

anon, glad to hear vijay anthony has some ethics :)

raju, i do remember thinking he sounded very unpolished in some scenes but didn't register as his accent being different.

i saw a pair dance for 'naaku mukka' on vijay tv's program from a link a commentor gave. they were real good :)

justmad, yep I remember u saying that earlier too :)

icycool, yes he does have a lot of energy and has really given 100% for the role. that always impresses me :)

 
At 11:15 AM, Blogger just mad said...

Hey Balaji,

You caught me ! ;)

 
At 7:38 AM, Blogger Bart said...

Again a tad overpraised review from you after Alibaba :)
The movie's first 50 to 60% has lots of inane, unbelievable and illogical scenes. Nakul's accent certainly has an issue - he doesn't sound remotely close to a boy from streets. Otherwise he is very much good.
The boy-girl falling in love scenes, the background of both the girl and boy, the atrocious railway TT (the empty Nilgiri express compartment adding to ??) all made the movie so - so. The strikingly similar Guna Kondaen ( :) ) scenes actually add energy to the movie and finally it ends exactly the way it is expected to.. Overall I felt its a just-passable movie and thats it :)

 

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