Thoughts on Kaaviyathalaivan



There is a scene where Kali(Siddarth) is chosen by his Guru to play Soora Bathman, the mythical demon Karthikeyan is born to destroy. His different portrayal of the demon king compared to the theatrical, loud and more common version of the demon by Gomathi(Prithviraj), won him the honor of playing lead in the play. Right after this, the movie cuts to an artist adding splashes of red to his painting of a demon to be used as a prop in the play. Gomathi’s jealousy is introduced to us very early in the movie in such subtle and then very not so subtle ways.

Gomathi is painfully direct in questioning those who favor Kali instead of him, so much that your heart goes out to him. When he questions Vadivu about her lack of love for him when all along he has only had her best interests in heart , you feel for him. “He has a point you know”, you want to tell Vadivu. Or when he asks his guru whether he would always be the Ekalaivan to him and fall short of Arjunan, you smile at his sly reference to his superiority in acting skills and his guru’s favoritism . Gomathi makes you feel sorry for him all the while making you hate him a little for acting on his jealousy . He makes you want to tell him, let it go, you are good and he is good too.

Kaaviyathalaivan has fantastic performances. Prithviraj dazzles as the jealous actor forever hoping to one up Siddarth who effortlessly wins everyone’s heart as the more natural actor. How this story of jealousy unfolds in the backgroup of a traveling theater when India is in the cusp of the freedom movement makes up the story. The art direction in the movie is stellar. It brings forth a dream world that is theater with the props and the actual staging of the plays.Very little needs to be said about the music , as much has been said and much more written. ARR is fantastic , his music was one of the reasons I wanted to watch this in the big screen and he did not disappoint . Vedhika was good too as the KB Sundarambal inspired Vadivu. You just wish she was given more scope and a more meatier role than just being the pretty , nightingale voiced girl in love with a boy .

There is something unexplainable and wrong in this movie. In spite of the great performances and a pretty strong storyline, you don’t walk away with the feeling that you just watched a great movie. Instead you immediately start thinking about what this movie did wrong and why it fell short. The answer to me was that this movie tried too hard. It was too ambitious. The jealous actor story definitely worked better in the world of theater than movies but the independence backdrop somehow seemed squeezed in to the movie . They neither evoke any sense of nationalism nor make you root more strongly for Kaali.

But then there are some wonderful scenes like the one where Kaali and Gomathi talk about the Rajapaat who reigns high and their ambitions in the world of theater.There was an MGR-Sivaji analogy there , atleast for me. The fundamental idealogical difference in their schools of thought. The Sivaji reference did not stop there. Going back to the Soora Bathman scene, when Kaali acts out his version of Sooran, with a demonic laugh that could run a chill up your spine, all I thought was this was how Sivaji would have done Sooran. (Please lets forget Veerabahu)

Kaaviyathalaivan – Watch it and if you left the theater feeling something was wrong , let me know what you think that is.


Click on the poster image to enlarge.

The poster says it all.

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Disclaimer 1 : This is not a Thalaivar movie, hence I will be critical :)
For ignorants Thalaivar = Rajini and will be referred that way throughout.

Every movie is as good as the expectation is. So when everyone kept telling me that Kuselan was not a Thalaivar movie, I was like “Duh! don’t tell me you are a tamil movie buff and dint know that!”. Right from the time the movie was being shot, everyone who follows movies knew that it was not a Rajini movie and he was playing a guest role. I do not blame the movie makers for using Rajini for publicity. Rajini sells. Even if its one scene, he sells. Just like how Kamal Hassan does, Shah Rukh does and for some weird , unexplainable and unfortunate reason Vijay does. So if you don’t go prepared for that, well I am sorry its sort of your fault.

So I went fully aware for i was spending my 15 dollars for. A movie where Thalaivar played a role thats it. It was not a Rajini movie. So here goes Kuselan ‘s review. Pasupathy is a poor barber with a nice family. Though he battles poverty he leads a principled life and refuses to cheat to earn easy cash. Meena plays his better half supporting him through their life’s struggles. His life almost turns upside down when the entire village comes to know that superstar is in their town and that Balu(Pasupathi) was childhood friends with Super Star. Everyone in the village flock to Balu asking him favors to help them meet the superstar, each with his own reason .

Balu is worried if his friend will recognize him and even if he does whether he will misunderstand that he is doing so for monetary help. He therefore tries to turn down all the people but gets caught in a quagmire of a situation which causes his entire life and relationships fall apart.The movie concludes with the superstar talking to children telling them the importance of friendship and talks emotionally about the one best friend he had. THe movie ends with the childhood friends uniting.

Performances wise, pasupathy does a good job. Note its not great. I think pasupathy is a gifted actor, but this performance was not great. It did not make me go “wow”. It was good.But thats no enough for him. Meena does a decent job. She has put on a few pounds but it looks good on her. She pulls off a good performance as the devoted wife and a village woman who uses any opportunity to raise her and her husband’s reputation among the eyes of villagers. The kids are ok. The consolation is they are not the usual movie kids who are just outspoken and all you want to do is give them a nice spanking.

Screenplay , something Vasu is generally good at is ok. The scenes were definitely well connected. The only but huge problem was the absolutely unnecessary addition of commercial elements. It was not at all a wise decision. It was irritating at places. Contrary to all the reviews I read, I found Vadivelu quite honestly irritating. There was probably one or two places where he managed a laugh out of me. But at all other times,he was down right irritating and not to mention cheap. Santhanam did a better job.There were many aspects of the movie which they could have easily done with. Vadivelu’s wife was “ugggh, irritating” and so was Nayanthara, the damsel was absolutely not needed in the movie and certainly did not need so much screen space.The scene with her and Vadivelu made me sick. And am sure everyone else did too. They should given people paper bags when they went in to the movie.

The movie had a really nice storyline to it and good performances , but what totally pissed me off was the absolutely unnecessary commercial elements and need to titillate people. Listen up. Stop underestimating people.People need a good movie not unnecessary titillation.

The only absolutely awesome thing about the movie was, yeah you guessed it right was Rajini. It was absolutely amazing to see him riding a horse in the introduction to see him play a mellowed down person . It was like getting a glimpse of him in his everyday routine and he was Cool! He looked young, wore super designer wear from Guess to what not! Good job Soundarya. He did a good job in the climax too. How many times do you get to see superstar cry! Not often. It was refreshing to see him play a character. I loved him absolutely!

Kuselan Plus
-Well Rajnikanth(Duh!) . He rocks.
-A good storyline in the times of Kuruwi and ATM.
-A few laughs

-Unbearable toilet humor
-Irritating songs absolutely misplaced(Especially the one with Nayanthara and the kids. I was almost going to write to Hindu about it. Please girl, you really needed a Tee)
-Bad and really bad background score.
-Stupid unnecessary graphics( Dolphins, Really! In a river in Tamil Nadu.I absolutely have no words. You just made a fool of yourself guys)
-Average performance. no one really touches you with their performances.

So, watch it, if you want a decent movie and are dying to see Thalaivar before ROBO shows up. That is why I went and am glad I did. Its amazing what 3 scenes of Thalaivar can do to erase a few other total disasters.

So finally i saw GURU.The much awaited release of the year.Of course it is considering its mani ratnam.I think the man’s a genius.Anyone who makes films like nayagan, roja or even the simple but evergreen mouna ragam is a genius.So yeah i did go with a lot of expectations.And well the verdict.It was good hmm but not gr8.I guess thts the problem with a mani ratnam or a kamal hassan film. we just expect them to churn out the most inspiring films and want to feel goosebumps throughout the film.
Guru is inspiring,in parts.Its great to see tht this small time village boy has so much grit in him and so much confidence in himself.He believes he can win anyone and simply doesn’t give up.That is just awesome.And the best part was he is not portrayed as this ideal person who overflows with good persona.Nope he is an average guy who wants to make it big and puts himself first,a very real characterization.

The pluses well there’s abishek (before all u guys go “oh so whats new,another girl crooning over abi“).Well yeah u are right abt the crooning part;-).But i really think he was awesome.It dint seem like he was acting.He was Gurukanth desai.Right from the first to the last frame.This is definetely his BEST performance so far.Esp after dhoom2 which was one hell of a debacle.I mean what was the deal with his expression?Why did he had to look like tht throught the film??Maybe it was because of ash and hrithik?If tht was the case then i can empathize with him.Hrithik was down right HOT and delicious.Poor abi.but all tht’s over and done with.Gurukanth Desai was mind blowing.Seriously.

A.R.Rahman,i just dont have words for this man.I often go for a toss wondering who is better,arr or illayaraja.It changes alternatively,when i listen to an 80’s classic from illayaraja its him all the way.I am like wow, what music.And then arr comes out with a gr8 album like guru and bamm its arr who’s the best.The background music is simply awesome.Think of all the superlatives u can for good great amazing and thats how the background score is.The jaage song is unbelievable.If not for anything see the film for the music.Thts the primary reason u do get goosebumps.

minus .. hmmm well it is a little slow .And its not filled with incidents or actions tht make u sit up.Even the scene where he dumps his goods in the IAS officer house ,you are reminded of the scene in nayagan and this seems not so gr8.The ending was especially a let down.I mean yeah his talk was good and everything and he did explain his stand.But not a

gr8 message was it? I mean i had to do it because u have to break rules to get to top in this country.Somehow i couldn accept it.Its a personal choice.And comparing his situation to Gandhi was too much come on what was that abt???

On the whole a must watch movie.y?
a.Mani ratnam(its like Charles dickens,every1 buys one intending to read it) so u gotta see it.
Becomes an ego issue.U have to face questions like “u dint see guru yet??? and if u are a movie buff like i am believe me it hurts!!!
d.Rajeev menon