Kodi: Polls apart and flying high

What’s most heartening about the film is the weight it gives to its female characters.

The very first scene of Kodi establishes that it’s got everything to do with politics. Karunas is speech-impaired, but he wants to become a politician. Someone chides him, “Arasiyalvaadhi na adukumozhi pesanum, aakroshanama pesanum…unakku pesave varala.” (You need to speak well to become a politician, but you cannot even speak.)

Which is why he’s mighty pleased when his wife delivers twins. Brothers (Dhanush in his first double role) who can speak, yes, but in stark contrast with each other. Kodi (“one who is born for politics”, as someone puts it) and Anbu (he gets slapped by a girl in his second scene) are not just chalk and cheese in personality and looks, but their ambitions are also vastly different.

One wants a piece of the local politics. The other just wants peace. Enter Rudhra (Trisha) who wants the power too. She’s grown listening to stirring speeches by politicians, and hopes to become one as well. But what is she to do when her own love interest stands in her way?

As Kodi, Dhanush is back to his old merry ways as a don-politician. For some reason, I kept thinking of his scrawny frame in Kadhal Kondein and boy, how much he’s beefed up since then. As Kodi, he fills the frame. As Anbu, though, he’s a tad tepid, sometimes unsure of how much exactly he’s expected to do.

What’s most heartening about the film is the weight it gives to its female characters. Trisha gets a well-written role that has ample scope for performance, but does falter in some of the movie’s most crucial scenes.

Anupama Parameshwaran as ‘Muttai’ Malathi delivers a cute performance in the first half, before the director loses interest in her character and decides to focus on Trisha’s.

The casting choices are interesting ones; S.A. Chandrasekhar as a politician is a pleasant surprise, while ‘Kaali’ Venkat is convincing as a loyal friend. Music composer Santhosh Narayanan suffers from a post-Kabali hangover — ‘Kodi Parakkudha’ is ‘Veera Thurandhara’ in disguise — but manages to acquit himself with ‘Ei Suzhali’.

I kept thinking how much faster Kodi would have been if it was directed by someone like Hari. But that’s not taking away one bit from director Durai Senthilkumar, who deserves credit for an engaging plot that includes a pre-interval block that jolts you.

After all, when was the last time a commercial political film worked to a large extent without the existence of a dominating male villain?

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Printable version | May 25, 2020 10:34:11 PM |

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