Kadal Movie Review
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It has been just over two months since “Kadal” released and during this time majority of those who have seen this film have expressed a vast amount of negativity towards it. I caught up with this movie the other day and I’m baffled as to why there is so much hatred for this movie. I don’t feel the need to defend this movie as I too feel there isn’t any justification behind some parts.
Many tones are expressed but in essence “Kadal” is a love story and that a very cute one indeed. The plot completely melted my heart emotionally. I haven’t been so overwhelmed whilst watching a film for some time now.
The film deals with Christian Tamils and their life near a sea coast. It doesn’t take a genius to decipher the Good Vs Evil formula in this film hence this movie could have been moulded around any religion because the primary focus here Good Vs Evil, however the director chose to opt for Christianity.
In the prelude we are introduced to Samuel Fernando (Arvind Swamy), who has left his riches and turned to a life of devotion and Berchmans (Arjun), who idolises Satan and is also a womaniser. Arvind Swamy hardly looks as if he has aged since Roja (1992) and he manages to get right inside the skin of his character’s role. On the other hand, I thought Arjun was a misfit, because he doesn’t come across the slightest bit of menacing, in fact he looks very charming and is very soft spoken throughout the movie. I wouldn’t have minded if Arvind Swamny portrayed Berchmans/Arjun portrayed Samuel but Arjun portraying Berchmans, c’mon are you serious? LOL Jokes apart, whether he fitted the role doesn’t matter, it’s his performance that makes you want to stand up an applaud him. (N.B. I feel there isn’t a correlation between looks and performance as some of the best actors don’t really have the best of looks suiting a particular role and here Arjun’s acting overtakes his charismatic looks.) The two newcomers deliver wonders, Gautam as Thomas couldn’t have asked for a better debut and Thulaasi as Beatrice (Aww, bless her!) is quite young, curiously cute and leaves a solid impact. Furthermore I’m more likely to forget the Good Vs Evil track but surely won’t forget the love track in this film.
I think certain elements of the film were simply unnecessary and I don’t think this movie needed any songs to be honest but because Rahman Ji is behind the music department then it is fair to say that he has outdone himself for film which didn’t require music. I would personally keep both film and OST separate as I can hardly relate the two together. “Chithirai Nela” on screen makes me wonder why this was sung by a male. *Spoiler Alert* When Thomas’s mum dies this song appears, the timing is correct but I feel the motivational message in this song was the voice of Thomas’s mum looking down at him from heaven hence the need for female vocals. Conversely, Rahman Ji might have opted for male voice because God is more often than not seen as masculine hence it might be God looking down on Thomas. “Adiye” was probably the only song that I didn’t warm up to in the OST but on screen it was the best song without a doubt. The cinematography completely blocks out the song for me. "Moongil Thottam" is by far the greatest song I’ve ever heard and I feel the song didn’t really need to be shot as I felt nothing could've done justice to it but that said I think it’s picturisation has done slightly above average justice to it. "Elay Keechaan" for me is the best song that Rahman Ji has sung but on screen, his voice hardly suits Thomas and I think Naresh Iyer would’ve been a better choice. "Nenjukkule" and "Anbin Vaasale" are the only two songs where I can’t pick any faults. "Magudi Magudi" comes twice in the film, first in the title credits (What was the point?) and then around the interval. The song sees Thomas falling into the wrong hands. The song sounds too peppy to reflect a theme of this sort and I feel a more haunting and nosier sounding song should have been delivered. That said, my views on the album itself haven’t changed!
Mani Ratnam’s last film, “Raavan” was so-so, the film explored the notion that there are always two sides to a story. In “Kadal” he has taken the formula of love stories to a whole new platform. What prompted atheist(?) Mani Ratnam to deliver religious based film? Well, the religious tones might seem too in your face but I feel if you look at the other factors of the movie, then religion has a very miniscule role in this film. Good Vs Evil doesn’t necessarily have to translate into Religion Vs Atheism/Satanism because an atheist can be good and a religious person can be equally as bad. What separates Good from bad is love and not religion. *Spoiler Alert* Beatrice being alive in the end hasn’t got nothing to do with Berchmans choosing devotion, in fact his beliefs don’t change in the end and it’s only because he had a heart that Beatrice didn’t die. Mani Ratnam does a superb job at exploring human compassion throughout the movie that the more laurels he receives will always be small compared to what he actually deserves. In “Dil Se” we see a journalist falling in love with a terrorist. “Dil Se” ended on a tragic note but in the long term we can say that the lovers left earth for a better place. In “Kadal” there is no tragedy and I truly feel that “Kadal” breaks the theory of all great love stories being a tragedy.