Kaaki Sattai: Heavyweight film for lightweight hero

Updated - March 06, 2015 06:04 pm IST

Published - February 27, 2015 07:02 pm IST

A still from the Sivakarthikeyan-starrer 'Kaaki Sattai'.

A still from the Sivakarthikeyan-starrer 'Kaaki Sattai'.

Sivakarthikeyan’s star is on the rise, so you can’t just cut to him in the middle of a scene in your movie. But he doesn’t have that larger-than-life image — not yet, anyway — and he is still known more as a comedian. How, then, to plan the hero-introduction shot? (spoiler alert) In Kaaki Sattai , the director R. S. Durai Senthilkumar has it both ways. He thrusts us into a brawl in a police station, with thugs who look like they wouldn’t hesitate to slit their mother’s throat, and a constable warns them, “Just wait till Mathimaran gets here”. He’s referring to some sort of super cop, clearly. And on cue, we cut to a jeep that’s coming at us in slow motion. The driver, of course, is Sivakarthikeyan (Mathimaran), but we don’t see him at once. We see him tap his fingers on the steering wheel. Then we see his eyes, then his feet as he slips out of the vehicle. And once he is standing, the camera rises slowly, from his feet to his face. He strides into the scene we were in and threatens those thugs, like any big star playing a cop would. The twist? A little later, we see it’s all a dream. He’s just a constable.

Genre: Action Masala Director: R. S. Durai Senthilkumar Cast: Sivakarthikeyan, Prabhu, Sri Divya Storyline: A lowly cop has to take on illegal organ trade

This dichotomy is evident throughout Kaaki Sattai . The name comes from a Kamal Haasan hit, and there’s a nod to Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu . Rajinikanth is invoked through his cop movie, Moondru Mugam . The story, too, is pretty heavy-duty, one that would suit a bigger ‘mass’ star, with a heftier screen presence. It has to do with the illegal organ trade (poor Vijay Raaz is the villain), and just a few weeks ago, we saw Ajith tackle this issue in his cop movie, Yennai Arindhaal . Can Sivakarthikeyan step into all those shoes? That’s really what Kaaki Sattai is about.

As overlong, utterly generic, badly written, indifferently made action-comedy star vehicles propelled by Anirudh’s growling guitar riffs go, Kaaki Sattai is as disposable as they come. The laughs aren’t great. The romance is perfunctory — you could use the word also for the drama and the attempts at punch lines. The big action sequences look odd because they are choreographed with a mega-star in mind and on screen, we see Sivakarthikeyan. He is a bantamweight duelling it out in the heavyweight category. He looks a little out-of-place in those foreign-location songs too, executing steps with foreign dancers — the charm of a local-flavoured ‘Oodha Colouru Ribbon’ is a distant memory. But may be in a few films, we will no longer feel this dissonance about a comedian trying to be a big ‘mass’ star. After all, as Mathimaran cannily reminds us, we do have the example of a bus conductor who became a superstar.

A version of this review can be read at >http://baradwajrangan.wordpress.com

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