Genre: Action

Director: Susi Ganesan

Cast: Vikram, Shriya, Ashish Vidyarthi, Vadivelu

Storyline: A CBI officer raids crores, and then steals some more crores as a Superhero and distributes it to people who pray to him

Bottomline: Slow death

The makers of Kanthaswamy launched their film giving all their invitees a DVD player with a trailer of the film. Now, that we’ve seen the film, we think it would be an even better idea if they had given all members of the paying public a remote control to watch this film in Fast Forward mode.

Gone are the days when Vikram’s films used to be received with whistles and dancing in the aisles. The 200-minute-long-‘Kanthaswamy’ is a painfully slow narrative further slowed down with Are-You-Kidding-Me-Slow-Mos that one frontbencher actually screamed: “Yennai Konnudunga” (kill me now). This was one of the rare moments when the audience actually laughed.

The only other fun moment being Vikram’s effeminate Kokarako dance before he attacks. We are left hoping he does this more often in the film but alas!

Not for kids

In the second half of the film, we rarely see him in that funny suit. This Superhero film is not for kids. Unless you would like your kids to get acquainted with parts of the female anatomy. And male too.

Vadivelu almost moons us, flashing his cheeks through a transparent water-drenched shorts instantly making you wish you were blind. Around the end of the film, Kanthaswamy asks item girl Mumaith Khan how much the bad guy paid for her to dance in his mobile pad. “30 lakhs,” says Mumaith after bouncing around in a skimpy something.“This 30 lakhs would’ve helped so many poor families,” CBI officer Kanthaswamy (Vikram) says, reeling out some more statistics to prove economic disparity in the country, a lesson director Susi Ganesan seems to have picked up from the discarded pages of Shankar’s first draft of ‘Sivaji.’

In fact, a whole load of the plot devices including vigilantes with double lives, public grievances interface, encrypted passwords, media manipulation are from Shankar’s old pages from ‘Gentleman,’ ‘Anniyan’ and ‘Sivaji’.

Now, Susi, Vikram and Co… Considering the 40 crores you guys spent on making this cock-and-bull story, you could’ve just given that money to charity directly instead. Why make the already poor people spend another 50-100 bucks to watch something they already know from better-done films?

‘Kanthaswamy’ is not a unique superhero or original by any stretch of imagination or spandex. This self-styled superhero is just Batman wearing a cock suit, aided by 11 Robins and operates like Robin Hood. Like Phantom, he operates like a ghost, leaving his victims with a mark of his ring. Curiously enough, he also likes to dress up as a woman and dances like Aishwarya Rai to arouse comedians. A helpful back story later reveals that Kanthaswamy and his chaddi buddies were used to role-playing in school plays and that the hero always got to play Draupadi. And now, he has 11 Robins. What’s the significance? Now, if Kanthaswamy is the alter-ego, who’s the Peter Parker-equivalent? You know, someone like Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent who is a cover to blend into society? Kanthaswamy’s ordinary avatar is CBI officer Kanthaswamy.

Now, vigilantes or superheroes create unique identities because of their inability to do something they can’t do in their ordinary avatars. But here, Vikram wants to be superhero in both avatars, the narcissism reminding you of ‘Mullholland Drive’ (where the star kills the actor in her after falling in love with her own image). As an actor, he has nothing to do. This CBI officer has all the power to raid the influential and a boss who is supportive. He has a support system consisting of his most loyal childhood friends, a protected office space and leads a cushy life commuting around in stylish SUVs or a superbike.

The villains are clowns — one is a caricature who’s busted right in the first few minutes of the film, the other is seen dancing around item girls in his boxers and there’s a third Don who says “Mexicovle Pichumani theriyatha aale illai”. Really? So why would we take them or the film seriously? For the action sequences?

To make things more boring, director Susi goes out of his way to explain how each stunt is done like a making-of-the-film built into the action sequences. For what joy? For realism. With slow-motion shots. All the superhero action sequences in the film have been recreated from DVDs of ‘Batman Begins’ and ‘Krissh’. It is Shriya who is the real super hero of this film, the one likely to draw crowds, given all the little clothes she’s got to wear in the film and the makers have also thrown in a dance with just a towel for a bonus — one where she goes “Miao Miao” to seduce the hero. Take your kids along at your own risk. Unless, you are poor and suffering already. Or at least, demand that remote control.