Kadal – a much expected movie (by me) because of the popularity of the songs, especially after the MTV Unplugged version on ‘Nenjukule’. I also had a post about that song and I was so expecting the picturization of that song and first and foremost, I was highly disappointed. It was a background song…what the heck..and it comes almost as the last but second song in the 2nd half of the movie. I already heard bad reviews about the movie, but never wanted to judge based on others reviews. If not for anything else, the camerawork has always been amazing in Maniratnam’s movies. And good that I was saved there. Camera is really amazing, especially in the initial scenes where Thomas’s mother is dead and they are trying to bury her. And the ones in the songs at the later half, i.e. in ‘Moongil thoatam’…its just beautiful. You can easily guess how much of graphics has been involved in the last fight sequence in the ocean. I know I am saying mostly the negatives, but really please let me vent it out. After Sam is arrested Thomas goes and works for Bergmans and then suddenly he is all together only with Bea and Bergmans is MIA (missing in action) and once again after Sam comes back, he lands in the same place as Sam…I understand the reason to show the love that develops between Bea and Thomas (or Tom) but it was too glaring and not well balanced.
Unpredictability – that was one of the strongest point in Mani’s screenplay. Here you could predict a lot of scenes and it mostly made us laugh rather than feel bad. I never laughed this much or mocked Mani’s movies like I did in this movie (except for the last half an hour or so). The first part which was too predictable was Jerina’s confession of having illicit relationship with Father Sam. Man, I literally growled. So cliched. Arjun having a soft corner for his daughter at the end and not killing her. Try having a daughter killed like that by a father and see how people respond to that…So you obviously know that he would not kill his daughter. The last scene where Bea recognizes Tom in the psychiatric ward. Really ? The prologue scene was again another thing… may be I didn’t get what he wanted to say..but why on heaven or earth Bergmans tried to kill Sam, even before he confirms if he is going to tell his superiors about his (Bergmans) sin of flesh (they both are in the seminary). It was out of place and sudden and I did not feel that Bergman’s anger was rightly placed.
But the ones I liked were the response of Tom towards his father (even though that father never acknowledges him as his son) when he is shot dead by Bergman’s. All the time he is angry with him and he wants to kill him but he doesn’t get that low, showing that there is still some goodness in him. Again the same goodness come to the fore when Bergman’s is almost killed by Sam (who is no longer the Father at that time.. I am not sure of how those rules work.. so I go by what is shown). The concept of good vs evil and how each of us have a part of both in us is time and again used in Mani’s movie. But at least here he uses it on an slightly innocent and wronged kid and how he manages to see both and then decide on his own what he wants at the end is nice. The trick to help Bea during her midwifery to realize that each one of us have the option to have blood on our hands through death or by birth and its really our choice is a nice touch…even though involving two kids in it might not be really a practical option.
Performance wise, Arjun stands out as the antagonist as always. Arvind Swamy after a long hiatus comes back and gets mostly beaten up. Sorry I wasn’t that impressed because I felt him doing this kind of role already in Minsara Kanavu. Gautam Karthik, a very young lad, looking very much like his mother, is good in a few scenes and might shine well later. Dances and fights very well. Thulasi, looks a little bigger than Gautam at times even though she is the youngest of the lot and does have a pretty face, but irritates with the giggles and childish behavior (even though some explanation is given for that later…). She could have been a little brighter than being really silly. And suddenly she can nurse and act as a midwife…wow.. too much man. Camera – amazing. Screenplay – shaky. Songs as usual were very good to hear but were there in the context of the movie. Could have been done with some less songs. Wasn’t sure if this was a drama or a commercial movie. Didn’t come in either and didn’t combine both well also. Really fell very very short of the expectations. And one comment that came from my friend. Mostly in Mani’s movies the dialogues used to be limited and well measured. Here we were expecting them to stop talking at times 🙂
And another comment by the same friend. The movie is about Christianity taken by a Hindu and music scored by a Muslim. How secular 🙂