REVIEW: KAATRU VELIYIDAI (TAMIL)
Twenty five years back, the management graduate from Mumbai turned film maker Mani Ratnam, introduced himself to the Bollywood world through ROJA. That also marked the debut of A R Rahman, and what Rahman has created after that is something for which all music buffs would eternally be grateful for. And as if to convey his gratitude to Mani Ratnam, Rahman’s compositions for Mani’s movies have that special touch and a number of these numbers have been chart busters. KAATRU VELIYIDAI is the thirteenth effort of this team and the tag of thirteen doesn’t seem to have affected either the background music or the songs.
Mani Ratnam has always delivered his best when he has worked on a presentation of true lyrical romance set against a canvas of dramatic conflicts. Mouna Raagam, Roja, Bombay, Alai Payuthe (remade as Saathiya), O Kadhal Kanmani (remade as OK Jaanu) are examples of this genre. KAATRU VELIYIDAI belongs to this genre, but unfortunately the dramatic elements come to the surface only occasionally. The romance between Beauty and the Beast couldn’t have been captured better by anyone. Aditi Rao Hydari as Beauty is just outstanding in every manner, and the Beast played by an assistant director to Mani (Karthi) is just as good. Karthi is awkward at times, and some may call that poor emoting, but my view is that he emotes exactly as his director wanted him to, which is what defines his character. Each of the emotions ranging from excitement, display of arrogance, childlike wonderment, resignation without losing out on self-respect, and this list can go on and on, has been captured beautifully against the lovely backdrop of the snows and the mountains. The credit for this must go to Ravi Varman, whose camera work is just stunning.
The dramatic part which Mani tries to introduce to muscle his story (the Kargil conflict) is the movie’s weakest part; in fact some of the scenes featuring the escape border on being frivolous. Whether it is because of this or the weak scripting in these areas, the end result is that the audience remains on the outside and is never seriously drawn into the folds of the cinema as it progresses from scene to scene. Could we assign the blame for the lack of audience involvement on the “irrationality” of the love between the lead stars? But then, most hard core romantics will agree with me that true love is perhaps irrational; if it was love based on desired outcomes, then wouldn’t it be called “calculative” or “matlabi”?
I saw this movie, subtitled in English and therefore was able to appreciate the poetry penned by Vairamuthu: if the translation was so lyrical, how much more beautiful the original would be? On the lighter side, let me conclude by saying that this movie does show that all is not lost if you have a Beast lurking in you: there could still be a Beauty to fall in love with you!!!
RATING: 3.5 out of 5
April 8, 2017