Kadal review

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Kadal is a Tamil romantic thriller film directed and co-produced by Mani Ratnam. The film features debutantes Gautham Karthik, son of actor Karthik, and Thulasi Nair, daughter of Radha, in the lead roles. The film marks comeback of actor Arvind Swamy. The music and background score for the film is done by A. R. Rahman. The film revolves around life of Christian fishermen who instill the fact that how faith can sometimes lead to the triumph of humanity. The film is titled Kadali, as the dubbed Telugu version. The film is released worldwide on February 1, 2013 in both the versions.

Directed by Mani Ratnam
Produced by A. Manohar Prasad
Mani Ratnam
Written by Jeyamohan
Screenplay by Mani Ratnam, Jeyamohan
Story by Jeyamohan
Starring Karthik, Thulasi Nair, Arjun, Arvind Swamy, Thambi Ramiah, Lakshmi Manchu
Music by A. R. Rahman
Cinematography Rajiv Menon
Editing by A. Sreekar Prasad
Studio Madras Talkies
Distributed by Gemini Film Circuit, Thirupathi Brothers

After the failure of Raavanan, filmmaker Mani Ratnam has taken more than two years to mould his next master-piece, which features newcomers like Gautham Karthik and Thulasi Nair in the lead roles. His latest directorial venture has simultaneously been made and released in Telugu as Kadali and Tamil as Kadal. Prior its release, the videos and posters of the film have created huge amount of expectations about it.
Kadali is a beautiful romance drama with some commercial ingredients like action and punch dialogues. Arjun Sarja, Aravind Swamy and debutante Gautham’s performances are the main attraction in the movie. AR Rahman’s music, Rajiv Menon’s visual treat, Jeyamohan’s wonderful script and Mani Ratnam’s elegant narration and dialogues, beautiful artworks, costumes and locations are its other strengths.
Kadali revolves around life of Christian fishermen, who instill the fact that how faith can sometimes lead to the triumph of humanity. Set in the background of a fishing village, the film is about the life and times of a young boy Thomas, who meets Beatrice. The story is universal in many ways. It is about good versus evil as the hero is caught between sin and redemption. Mani Ratnam has beautifully intertwined this subject with a love story.
The basic plot is about good and evil, Mani Ratnam narrates it in very complex way by digging into many layers and sub texts. The director tries to capture biblical themes as a part of his characters/screenplay and questions his audience about sin and punishment for it.
Sam Fernandez (Arvind Swamy), who is sincere and dedicated, and Bergmans (Arjun), who is fun loving guy are undergo training for priesthood at a Christian Seminary. But following a few difference between them, they choose different paths of life. Sam comes to a sea side town and starts his life as a father in a Church. He meets a young orphan boy Thomas (Gautham Karthik), who has lost his mother and takes special interest in this boy. Years later, Thomas falls in love with Bergmans’ daughter Beatrice (Thulasi Nair). What happens next will form the crux of the story.

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Comments

  1. A Dinesh says

    Legendary director Mani Ratnam’s latest movie Kadal is out in theaters now. What did the master director has in store for us this time. Read on..

    What is it about?

    Thomas (Gautham Karhtik) loses his mother as a kid and his father abandons him. He is taken care by a Church Father Sam (Aravind Swamy) and there is a special bond that develops between Sam and Tom. Sam has an enemy named Berchmans (Arjun) from his college days. Berchmans comes to take revenge on Sam and everybody’s lives changes after that.

    Performances:

    Gautham Karthik is brilliant in his role. He is a born actor and has brought life into his character. This is a stunning job for a first timer. Tulasi is alright as the female lead. She should shed few kilos if she is looking for a longtime career in films. Arjun is very good as the baddie. His style makes this character entertaining and brings life into the scenes where he is on screen. Aravind Swamy did a decent job. Lakshmi Manchu is restricted for a couple of scenes and she is alright.

    On the Technical Front:

    AR Rahman stores his best for his mentor Mani Ratnam and he has come up with soulful musical score for this film. Cinematography is a treat. Rajeev Menon made this a visual feast. He captured all the moods of sea very well. Production values are rich. Editing is fine.

    Mani Ratnam’s signature style is present in direction point of view. However, the film suffers due to lack of proper script. Mani Ratnam got hold of things during the penultimate hour and by that time it is already too late. The ace filmmaker has certainly lost his midas touch and his fans are in for disappointment yet again.

    Analysis:

    Mani Ratnam’s films have great technical values and are also high on emotions. This time Mani Ratnam only got it right on the technical front. Script wise, Kadal is a huge letdown. There are various threads in this film, but none of them were dealt properly.

    The romance between the lead pair is half baked. The conflict between Aravind Swamy and Arjun is not properly developed. Arjun, Manchu Lakshmi’s thread is abrupt. This shows that Mani Ratnam is definitely not in best form and that is evident in most of the film.

    Only few scenes really made an impact and most part of the movie is preachy and aimless. First half is a real pain to sit through. Things get slightly better in the second hour as much attention is paid to the story. Mani Ratnam who made classic movies like Gharshana and Dalapathy with the conflict between two people as theme has tried it in a different way this time. But only thing is he is not the classic Mani Ratnam now. Only glimpses of that master filmmaker are left now. Kadal may not appeal to any classes of audience due to sluggish pace and aimless direction. Watch it at your own risk.

  2. Arul Velan Mani says

    A Mani Ratnam Film – the three words are more than enough to send the entire theatre thundering with applause and whistle, but a credit will not make the audience sit for the next 150 minutes, To be precise, ‘Kadal’ has its punch for the first 20 minutes of prologue with a couple of segments involving the conflict between Seminary brothers Sam (Aravind Swamy) and Bergsman (Arjun) while the other one is a young innocent boy Thoma aka Thomas, who has lost his mother. Mani Ratnam and writer Jayamohan establish it clearly that plot within the first few minutes that it is about the life of an innocent soul on the cliff between Good and Evil.

    When brother Sam divulges the illicit behavior of his companion Bergsman, he is thrown out of the seminary. Unable to bear this humiliation, Bergsman places a challenge that one day he would settle scores with Sam. What follows next is a drama of emotions that revolves around three characters.

    It’s a wafer-thin storyline and there isn’t much to prolong with the synopsis. To start off with the analysis, it’s Gautham Karthik emotes fabulously to every situation in the film. Undoubtedly, he could be the next ‘Navarasa Nayagan’, the young chap possesses the traits of his father’s acting panache. The actor leaves you speechless at many places, especially in these following situations

    1. When his baptism is denied

    2. Behaving fiercely with the folksmen over the arrest of Father Sam.

    3. Death of his father

    For the first few minutes after the introduction of Thulasi, you might feel she is trying to get projected innocuously, but the complete perception changes, when Kalairani reveals about her childhood problems and underdeveloped mind. Watch out for her performance with a childlike behavior and reactions to Gautam when he says, ‘I have sinned a lot’, to which she connects it with other instances like ‘Stealthily is coming out of her institution’ and ‘stealing sugar’. The most captivating performance is when Gautham keeps relentlessly confessing his sins only to hear her say ‘Fine! Don’t do it again’, which gets us frozen and Gautam Karthik not alone. Incisively, nothing beats the performance of Arjun and Aravind Swamy. Right from the beginning till the end, they keep up their versatile show, but they standout extremely well during the initial portions. Lakshmi Manchu appears not more than a couple of scenes, but Jayamohan’s dialogues make her characteristically powerful. But why rope in a well known actress in just couple of scenes? Is it to gain the interest of Telugu audience as a promotional factor?

    Mani Ratnam seems to have confused himself over crafting the story. It looks like like a collage of Pedro Almodovar’s Spanish drama ‘Bad Education’ and Bharathiraja’s ‘Alaigal Oyvadhillai’. His intentions are not clear here and what is trying to convey. If Sam is projected a symbol of peace, love and angel of God, he should have retained the nature. But his character becomes feeble during the climax fight and Mani Ratnam should have looked into it. Having come up with a strong beginning, the narration becomes sluggish and vague. Well, if Kadal had a strong reason to turn the spotlights on prior to release, it was the spellbinding songs by AR Rahman. But it’s a dissatisfactory work by Mani Ratnam as the placement of the songs are completely dim, except ‘Magudi Magudi’ that sends us high on excitements during the opening credits. ‘Nenjukule’ and ‘Anbin Vaasale’ have been completely wasted and choreography for ‘Adiye’ is splendid. Rajeev Menon has used lots of filters and grading to showcase the richness and it’s not a laudable show while editing is perfect.

    On the whole, ‘Kadal’ might have a strong plot of a youngster wedged between good and evil along with promising performance, but overall, it doesn’t keep the audience engrossed till the end.

    Verdict: Mani Ratnam’s trademark goes missing

  3. Arul Velan Mani says

    Music director AR Rahman is world renowned for his tunes and at the same time he ensures that the lines he chooses for the songs are quite intense. But for some reason, AR Rahman doesn’t seem to have the taste for Telugu and this was once again seen after watching the latest release ‘Kadali’.

    The song ‘Gunjukunna..’ has a line which goes like this – Raacha kurupunnolle nidaroye velallona aasha kurupochi ade ara nimisham nidarode….., the music lovers are taken aback looking at such lines. There is no value to lyrics. They state that Vanamali is not someone who will write songs like this.

    At one point, even the music director’s influence will be there so AR Rahman got them written. History has shown that AR Rahman got weak lyrical tones for Telugu movies. He doesn’t know the language. The music lovers are asking, what is his authority? Due to this tastelessness even Vanamali, Veturi’s names will get spoiled. They suggest that the senior lyricists should tell AR Rahman and add that writing for him is not a great thing but churning out competitive lyrics is important.

  4. A Dinesh says

    The thing with heading to watch a Mani Ratnam movie is the fact that you go loaded withexpectations. You expect the story to be thought-provoking; the actors literally living out their roles and then there’s the visual imagery that you expect will be nothing less than poetic. You know what, Kadal lives up to them mostly.

    The essence of the movie is presented to you in the first 15 minutes of the movie — when a young, rich Sam Fernando (Arvind Swamy) arrives at a seminary with dreams of becoming a priest, dedicating his life to Jesus when he meets his nemesis Berchmans (Arjun Sarja) who has opted to be a priest as it is the only means to fend his poor family. You realise that where one represents all that’s good, the other represents all that’s bad. And it all comes to a head when brother Sam catches Berchmans in a transgression that ends with the latter avowing revenge, come what may.

    With that story as the backgrounder, the director then proceeds to introduce the other important cog in the wheel: Thomas, an orphan, who first meets Father Sam as a young kid on the streets.

    The two develop a familial bond that grows stronger as Thomas turns into a young adult without a care in the world — enter debutant Gautam Karthick with a happy introduction song et al.
    The first half of the movie glides smoothly with happy songs, breezy dialogues between an ensemble of actors and the beginning of a sweet love story between Thomas and Beatrice (debutante Thulasi Nair).

    The turning point of the film comes when Father Sam finds Berchmans (13 long years after that unfortunate night) wounded and left to die in the sea. That meeting and its aftermath ends up shaking up the lives of these individuals. Thomas even deserts Father Sam to work for Berchmans.

    So, who wins this fight of good versus evil? Where does love fit in? Does love triumph all? Mani Ratnam’s movies have always made symbolic references to the Indian epics and this time aroundKadal (written by Jeyamohan) takes inspiration from the Holy Bible. So if Berchmans represents Satan, Beatrice represents an angel who — to quote a dialogue — leads one from darkness to light. That said, we’ll quickly add that Kadal is not a commentary on any particular religion. It is a movie that just takes the eternal conflict between good and bad, god and the devil and places it in a contemporary, extremely scenic setting made even more beautiful by Rajeev Menon’s cinematography.

    The actors deliver their jobs. It’s so good to see the handsome actor, Arvind Swamy, after so long turning in a nuanced performance as the pious Father Sam. Arjun Sarja delivers an effective performance as ruthless Berchmans. And unlike stereotypical villains in Tamil movies, he doesn’t ham it up and we are thankful for that. The ensemble cast, including Ponvannan and Laksmi Manchu in a brief but unforgettable cameo, does a brilliant job, especially considering they deliver dialogues in a dialect prevalent in coastal Tamil Nadu.

    Coming to the debutants, Gautam Karthick and Thulasi Nair manage to recreate a performance that’s almost reminiscent of their parents’ debut movie — Alaigal Oivathillai. Gautam delivers an ace job in the breezy scenes as well as the emotional ones. Thulasi Nair has a winsome smile and in the short role that she has manages to make you smile. These newcomers are definitely ones to watch out for.

    The only drawback of the movie might be the fact that it drags towards the end. Else, go and watch Kadal. It is a beautifully made film.

  5. SS says

    In a time where loads of debut directors are experimenting with different styles and themes, there is always a great demand for one man who planted freshness in Kollywood, years ago. Yes, the legend of contemporary cinema Mani Ratnam is back again with a straight Tamil film, Kadal. Touted to be a romantic drama, Kadal not only boasts the comeback of 90s heartthrob Arvind Samy but also marks the entry of two veteran actors’ (Karthik & Radha) children, Gautham Karthik and Thulasi Nair. Releasing with humungous expectations, will Kadal prove to be another addition in Mani’s list of classics?

    Synopsis

    Sam Fernandez (Arvind Samy) enrols in a Christian Seminary where he meets a brilliant but an unruly student, Bergman (Arjun), who forms a deep hatred towards Sam when his atrocities gets exposed by Sam. This results in Bergman getting expelled from the Seminary.

    Meanwhile in the village, Thomas (Gautham Karthik) gets abandoned by his own father; post his mother’s death. When Sam moves to the village, he develops a soft on Thomas and starts to lead him the right way in life.

    However, Bergman enters the life of Sam again but this time he plans to get his revenge. How Thomas gets entangled in this tussle between good and evil forms the crux of the story.

    Story – Screenplay

    Mani Ratnam who is famous for creating successful mainstream classics, which cater all groups of audience, have fumbled a little this time as a storyteller. His films are best known for the immense emotional connection he makes through his focused story telling.

    However Kadal misses its mark in connecting well with the audience with the lack of consistency in the narration. The film’s main plot focuses on the theme of good vs evil and it often gets associated with the legacy of Satan Vs Jesus. The intention of the director to cleverly put this theme on the backdrop of Christianity is noteworthy but the failure to keep that momentum makes Kadal fall flat by the time it reaches the second half. The struggle of choosing between the good and evil is a nice idea but Gautham joining Arjun at the interval mark, seriously looks forced. The character depths are also left half sketched.

    On the bright side, Kadal does have the typical feel good factor found in Mani Ratnam’s films, especially in the second half. The romantic sequences are very well bought out with the climax displaying the brilliance of the director a little. Realistic, sharp dialogues by Jayamohan are also a big plus to the film as it bring out the coastal nativity convincingly.

    In overall, even though Mani sets up an interesting fulcrum through the clash between Arvind Samy and Arjun, languorous pace and wandering screenplay averts Kadal from becoming a classic.

    Casting & Performance

    Casting is probably the best aspect of Kadal in where each and every one of them competes with one another to come up with power pack performances. Certainly the seniors Arjun and Arvind Samy top the list. Even from the trailer, one could sense that Arjun going to rock in this film and to no one’s disappoint he excels with such a menacing persona. Even at the flash backs he shows a certain degree of versatility.

    Arvind Samy on the other hand, makes a sensational comeback! He almost carries the film on his shoulder with his downplayed, soft body language. It won’t be a surprise if we see him again in many films after Kadal. His maturity and experience have not been diluted whatsoever.

    Karthik Muthuraman must be a proud father as Gautham gives such a seasoned performance in Kadal. His screen presence and the way he have carried him self is remarkable. Especially in the climax his rendition will create a lump in the throat.

    Thulasi , with a limited role, sparkles with confidence. We would love to see more of her in her next film.

    Other bunches of casts such as Lakshmi Manchu and Ponvanan are also make a decent portrayal.

    Technicality

    Like any other Mani’s film, Kadal also comes with good technical finesse. Cinematographer, Rajiv Menon’s earthy tones give the village a cosy look. Especially in the climax, it would have taken immense hard work to crank the scene. For a backdrop like this, he could have easily chosen to overshadow the film but he plays subtle which results in wonders.

    Art director, Shashidar Adappa’s accuracy to bring the coastal life on screen is praiseworthy.

    Mani Ratnam’s usual associate editor Sreekar Prasad sets the slow pace from the start and travels along that speed throughout. However the slow speed intended to draw the emotions deeper, fails unfortunately.

    A.R.Rahman always saves his special best for Mani’s film as all his songs sounds internationally viable. All the visualization of the songs are also well placed and shot. The good thing about Mani is that he knows where to place his songs without any hindrance in the narration.

    In overall, Kadal’s technical elements support the intention of the director to give a cosy film, to a great extent.

    Bottomline

    Even though, Mani Ratnam’s Kadal boasts with remarkable performance and excellent technical finesse, it shockingly suffers from a meandering screenplay.

    Verdict: Half-Baked attempt in providing a classic

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