Cast: Vijay, Asin, Vadivelu
Vijay-starrer “Kaavalan” after facing many hurdles managed to hit the big screen on Pongal day much to the delight of his fans. It has typical Vijay movie ingredients like mass song, fight, comedy, sentiment but the most important factor is that the movie has managed to portray Vijay in different light; reminds us more of the Vijay from the “Thullatha manamum thullum” days.
Bhoominathan (Vijay) is indebted to Semanoor Muthuramalingam (Raj Kiran), a wealthy and powerful feudal landlord, for saving his life. So, after coming to know that there is a threat to Muthuramalingam's life, he takes up an assignment to be his bodyguard and saves him and his family — wife (Roja), daughter Meera (Asin) and son Karthi (KK). Later he is given a new assignment by his boss to be Meera and her friend Madhu's (Mitra Kurian) bodyguard at the college where they are studying since they happen to be soft targets.
Bhoomi is some kind of a joke at the campus, with his peculiar mannerisms, security guard uniform and dark glasses. Meera and her friends find his presence, often irritating.
To make fun of him and bring him under control, Meera starts making prank calls pretending to be in love with him without revealing her identity and Bhoomi starts responding and eventually falls in love with his secret admirer. After a while, things get serious leading to a twist in the story.
Asin plays her character and performs what is needed, even though some might feel that she was over dramatic at places; but going by the flavour and proceedings of the film, it's acceptable. The chemistry between Vijay and Asin even though not great manages to hold us as the script is one where the hero and heroine share a lot of time longing for each other rather than spending time with each other.
Scenes involving Vijay and Vadivelu are a scream and, as usual, Vijay is impeccable with his comic timing and mannerisms. After a long time we actually get to watch Vadivelu do something that we have always enjoyed him do. Raj Kiran and Roja add weight and credibility to the cast. Mitra Kurian does a fine job playing Asin's friend.
Behind the scenes
Coming to the technical aspect, director Siddique has done a good job of making a film that falls under a romantic feel-good film casting a mass hero in the lead and making it work. He is sure to get the families into the theatres. A special mention to him for portraying Vijay, in a completely new avatar. He has definitely made an effort to extract more from Vijay the actor rather than Vijay the hero. But the drawbacks are a few loose scenes in the first half that don't contribute a great deal to the flow or progression of the film. The film also loses pace in the second half mainly because it's predominantly verbal.
It suddenly shifts into a mode very close to looking like a drama where everything is verbal as there isn't any great visual play. If only had the film been more visual (meaning visual sense pertaining to composition, framing, shot choreography) it would have been a film with a fresh look and an appealing content. Cinematographer Ekambaram does a fine job with the limited scope the script offers for him to experiment with lenses and angles.
Music and songs have always been a huge draw with regard to Vijay film's. But “Kaavalan” will enjoy that edge as the songs are slow, feel good and not exactly one that pumps in adrenaline. Vijay dances well as usual but fails to make the front benchers and fans dance as the songs don't offer much scope for great moves. Even the way the song are picturised add to the films credibility as the main songs are montage based and help in the narration. The back ground score even though adds emotion to the scene, is a bit melodramatic in a few places specially in the second half. The good thing is that the songs don't hamper the flow of the film.
Overall, Vijay and his magic work well for “Kaavalan”. His ace comic timing, mannerisms and subtle performance in the climax makes his performance absolutely a knockout. He carries the film on his shoulders and is one good reason to watch the film. Vijay has definitely made a comeback with this film and has proved that he can portray a character using substance and not merely gloss.
The film starts off like a usual Vijay film and as it progresses it starts to pick up emotions, genuine incidents and subtle performances from the lead. The story is simple and relatable. No villains, no evil intention, no blood, no beeps in the middle of a dialogue. Smiles and tears dominate the second half. The film breezes through initially with comical aid provided by Vijay and Vadivelu, then picks up momentum before the interval. Post interval, the film moves along in a relaxed pace, then a sudden twist before the climax and a very subtle, feel good climax. All this make “Kaavalan” a decent Pongal treat.
Bottomline: “Kaavalan” is a decent, feel-good entertainer that will work well with the family audience, specially the ladies and also with Vijay's fans who will be pleasantly surprised.
SUDARSHAN N., 25 years