Friday, February 6, 2009

Naan Kadavul Review

My second movie review after Dasavatharam, I wanted to make one on slumdog millionaire but somehow buried that decision because I felt that I should not make it a special movie as others have made it through hype. I actually hated(the word disliked would be very mild here) slumdog millionaire for exposing India’s poor side with almost zero logic. Ok coming back to Naan Kadavul, credits must goto Bala for exploring the unexplored area in Tamil Cinema,

1. Physically challenged beggars
2. Aghoris (A type of Shaivate saint of Hinduisim)

[Spoiler ~~~~ Contains the plot of the story. Those who have not watched the movie or intend to do so, don’t read further]



The film starts with an old man and his daughter from Tamil Nadu searching a man named Rudran(Arya) who was left in Kasi before fourteen years on astrolger’s advice. They find that Rudhran is no ordinary man now and he is an aghori (one who believes that He is God). Rudhran’s Guruji asks him to go with his family and return on time after shedding the bounds of family.

Meanwhile in a village called Malaikovil in Tamil Nadu there is a notorious gang which trains the physically challenged to beg. They live with the money which these beggars bring. It is a cruel world which Bala throws light upon. The dungeon like place where these people live itself showcases the pain and suffering of those people.

But those physically challenged people share some lighter moments too. Particularly the conversion between them when they are costumed as different Hindu deities. Allotting different cabinets for them was amazing! There is a kid in the film who has pulled a brilliant performance (His name was not displayed in the titles). He mentions about Ambani to his group. When a guy queries who is Ambani, he replies that he is the one who sells cell phones. There are many such rib tickling one liners in the film.

*Pichai karan kittayey pichai edukkarayey (You are begging from a beggar)
*En annana thozhilathipar aaaki heroinukku katti koddupen (I will make my bro an industrialist and marry him to an actress!)
Are just few samples...

Now coming back to the plot of the film, Amshaveni (Pooja), is a blind woman who sings old film songs to entertain people and gets money from them (yet another form of begging). She lives with people who monoact and mimic like the film actors MGR,Shivaji Ganesan and Rajnikanth. The dialogues by those artists are pretty sharp. MGR’s film songs were meaningful, which helped MGR win votes, but did people follow his advice? And MGR asks Shivaji to teach the current young actors to act(I think Simbhu was clearly the target here!).




A guy named Murugan who belongs to that notorious gang of Malaikovil sees her singing and finds her to be a good asset to their gang and takes her with him, after some drama. After few days of crying, she becomes accustomed with that group. But it’s not happy going for her still. Another guy from Kerala, pays 3 lakhs of money to hire 15 children from the Malaikovil gang. And those children are removed to kerala. The dialogue “Maatu Kari saapitaalum malaiyalathaan moolaiyey moolai” (Even though Mallus eat beef, they are brainy!) was pretty apt there.

Meanwhile Arya who returns to his hometown which is Malaikovil too, doesn’t live in his home, instead he settles in the temple where those beggars beg daily. The same man from kerala who bought the children brings an ugly looking man(he infact resembles the cannibal in worng turn movie) and asks for a blind girl so that, she need not look at him but love with him after marrying him. That ugly looking man is a very rich guy who offers 10 lakhs for the blind girl. Here again the dialogue of Kavundamani “Kozhi kuruda irunthaalum, kuzhambu rusiya irukkanum!” (even if the hen is blind it’s meat is tasty!) fits aptly. Amshaveni fits into the bill exactly thinks the leader of the Malaikovil gang. But Murugan who feels pity for her tries to save her. She takes shelter under Rudran. Rudran kills the man from kerala. He is taken into custody by the police who are afraid of him. They produce him in the court and court releases him because his crime could not be proved.

The leader of the notorious gang wants to revenge Rudhran but he ends dead too.Before his death, he had tortured Amshaveni and had beaten her up heavily. Amshaveni comes to Rudran and asks him what mistake did she do? Right from her birth she had been suffering! She asks for a solution. And Rudran kills her too!

Rudran recalls his master’s words, for some people death is a boon (Siarukku maranam thaan varam). It’s an astonishing climax from Bala. Who had depicted in this film that euthanasia (mercy killing) is the only solution for such people!The story looks pretty simple. But the screenplay and the performance of the actors make it amazing!

It is a very brave attempt from Bala. The surprise in this movie was Arya’s screen performance which was very limited when compared to the promos. And his acting resembles Pithamagan Vikram (especially when police are afraid to talk with him). I believe many of his portions where removed from the film. Another surprise element was Pooja’s performance, especially in the climax where she has done a fabulous job. She is bound to get the national award.

And I nearly forgot to mention about Illyaraja’s music. He has done what is necessary for this film.

To me three people stand out in this movie.

1. Bala (for bringing out the physically challenged people into the scheme of things)
2. Jayamohan (Dialogues)
3. Pooja (Excellent acting)

I never expected Jayamohan to do such an excellent work in the dialogue department (To be honest, I didn't know much about him). Many of his dialogues resembled my thoughts, which moved me close to this film. I had read only one novel by him (Pani Manidhan). It was long time back. This movie has made me to search other works of Jayamohan!

Bala has yet again delivered. He generally disturbs people with his cinema but does not provide a solution. Here for the first time he has provided a brave solution to a problem. I would like to give it a 9.5/10.

I am waiting for the DVD version of the film which is supposed to have two climaxes for this film.

It’s definitely worth a watch. But I don’t think it would suit audience of all category. It’s strictly not for children.

9 comments:

Arun Kumaar.S said...

I do agree with all the points u gave in here. and am jus back from the movie.
But i think u dint review the movie fully. When i talk ab8 guru u say
"Don give jus those scenes as examples. Its not only those tat makes the movie"
I think this best fits to this movie.
The scenes u gave as examples were fine. I feel Arya has done a brilliant job. His role was nt gives so much of importance.

And i ve no words to describe Pooja's acting. Simply amazing.
i feel the story is out of the line as usually bala do.

There were LOTS of unnecessary scenes. Cheap comedy. Mocka comedy.

Few to quote yammaadi aathaadi n the STUPID scene which follows it(cant descibe DAMN IT), Too many Face close ups of beggers, few scenes where beggers do somethin called comedy and laugh to themselves. these were really unnecessary.

And deepak u usually tok ab8 somethin called 'EXPLOIT'. and i dunno y u dint use the term in ur review. Bala has over exploited with mentally retarted people. I really feel one hour in the film was really too disgusting. This could ve been done as an art film. Few cheap comedies really made it BAD. a Usual bala's film.

I think u could ve specified these few negatives which were really there in the film. 9.5 is jus too much. Behindwoods has given a descent rating(3/5).
I would give (3.5/5).

As u said ab8 climax, it was really amazing. Kasi portion was too good for a tamil movie. The concepts he stated in first half were all given excellent justifications. Dialogues definitely needs an applause. Concept of the title 'AHAM BRAHMASMI' is best explained.

Main plus points in the move because of which i liked the movie are
1. Arya... Stunning performance one could ever give... He deserves a recognition for it...(marana gethu)...especially that WALK... Masterpiece...
2. Pooja... i really ve No words...
3. Ilayaraja... Maestro has done it again... BGM n MUSIC Awesome...
and of course Bala... for direction... good one...

A definite worth a watch...

Deepak said...

you forgot JayaMohan mate... In my view his dialogues carry the movie forward...

Regarding exploitation...
This is not exploitation at all...
This is showing what they are...

But Mani Rathnam exploits Children, lovers, et all for the sake of commercial hit of the movie...

And the beggars laughing... Let the beggars laugh too...

Yes Arya's portion was little...
That's again Bala's specialty...
He will deliver something unexpected...

It is not necessary that the hero should come for the entire movie...
I was disappointed with his screen presence time...

And actually aghories are cannibals, Arya eats the people whom he kills...

It would have been too much for a tamil film...

Bala has promised a 3 and a half hour director's cut of the fim for the dvd version...

I am waiting for that version

Arun Kumaar.S said...

yeah... heard tat... and ya am waitin for it too...

and ya regarding jayamohan... good work by him. many too good dialogues. and ya it helped move the movie in a good way.

reg exploiting i don think he did for commercial purpose. But for some sake he did too much. like shooting everything real. He is tryin to prove something to someone which should not be the motto of a director.

Anyways a too good film for the recently released STUPID tamil films. So i think we stop the arguement here...

A K S

Karthikeyan said...

funny guys talking funnily ..... haha ... dont try to square your personal tit for tat in comments ...

i dunno why mani ratnam came into this discussion .....

Kingpin said...

A step in the positive direction for Indian cinema will be when we stop referring to actors and actresses as 'heroes' and 'heroins'. We get as movies what we watch more of, therefore for us to get "better" movies, we have to evolve into a "better" audience.

Agreed, not all of us have the similar preferences in terms of genre(s) or what is shown in a movie and what's not. But just because we do not appreciate what is given screen time does not make it irrelevant. A movie is like a child; the Director's child. It's the Director's right to develop it the way (s)he wants. Saying 'I didn't appreciate so-and-so-scene(s)..' is alright but dictating what should have been done and what left out is going overboard. Seriously, if you are that good at it, make a movie yourself. Or even give the idea a thought. See how far you go. Talking, rather preaching, is easier, you'll realise. If you don't, either we'll end with a great movie sometime or an idiot.

Now, the idea is not to defend the Director or the movie itself. The idea is to steer the discussion towards more relevant areas.

Acting. Arya's portrayal of Rudra, an Aghori, was fair. But in terms of the standards set by many contemporary actors, one might give it a 7.5/10. Pooja's portrayal of Amshaveni, a visually challenged beggar, was quite impressive. I can't imagine any other actress pulling it off with even half the scrouplessness. She was a definite 8.5/10. Most of the physically challenged beggars end up being merely extras who do not contribute a lot to the plot but were relevant to build the drama.

Dialogues. The best part of the movie, in my opinion, were the dialogues. Especially the ones in Sanskrit, which I didn't comprehend jack about. Nonetheless, they sounded strong enough to have meant something of great intensity. It is always like that with things we don't fully understand, we end up upholding them higher than the things we better understand. The dialogues delivered by the MGR, Sivaji and Rajnikanth look-alikes were also phenomenal. The rest of the dialogues in Tamil were alright, but the delivery could have been better. More than the delivery, I think it is the way they sound.. the sound mixing or perhaps the dubbing, I think, that kills the intensity of the dialogues. They end up appearing as jokes on-screen.

Music and background score. The music of the movie was for the movie. The Hindi song that plays in the beginning of the movie, sets the tone perfectly right for the movie. The composition is lifting. There wasn't much else of what I could relate to as music. The background score was also quite okay. Let's just say I thought it was fair and went with the requirements of the movie.

Story, Screenplay and Direction. After spending about 2 hours watching the movie, I failed to see what the main "plot" was. At one point it the quest of a family to bring their son home, at another it is hardships in the everyday life of the physically challenged beggars, at yet another is the debate about who is "God". It seemed as though there isn't any spinal cord in the movie's plot rather merely sub plots which take the movie forward. The plot doesn't corroborate why the police handle Rudra differently when he is arrested after the killing of the Malayalee beggar lord than they would handle any other crime suspect, and as to why there aren't any of the local beggar lord's men with him when Arya is beating the pulp out of him. There are other such holes too. Also, the superhuman characteristics and the fighting abilities of Rudra are perhaps commonplace with most viewers but those traits are a little over the top for a "realistic" movie buff like me. And the surreal climax that has been spoken of before, I didn't get it. I thought it was rather a premature ejaculation than a climax where only one of the partners has climaxed and the other is wondering 'WTF!'

Nonetheless, a movie worth the two hours. And the way ahead for Tamil cinema. 6.5/10.

Deepak said...

The movie has promoted mercy killing. Thats what the movie is all about!

Kingpin said...

Really?

Anonymous said...

do anyone know the full poem which arya says to his mother "ainthirandu thingal aagi adangi nidra thumaye kai irandu kal irandu annathe "
i need this poem
do help me
thank u

Venkat said...

ai irandu thingalAi adangi ninRa thumaye, Kai irandu kAl irandu kaN irandu Anadhae.
UdambAvadhedhadi uyirAvadhedhadi?
UdambAl uyir eduttha uNmai gnAni nAnadi.--KaduveLi Cittar