Naan Kadavul – Review
Once again Director Bala has proved that he is a filmmaker with substance and he will never be bogged down by so-called cinematic formula. This time with Naan Kadavul, he takes two different worlds; one is about Aghori’s in Kaasi and organised begging mafia in Tamil Nadu. He has shown it perfectly and in an uncompromised manner. Who said one cannot make a film without Kuthu songs, glamour and double meaning dialogues? Here is a film which shows one can satisfy the audiences by a gripping plot. This film also shows there are more realities to be shown are available. So filmmakers just see this movie and shelf your idea of making film with revenge theme and the formula film of 5 songs, 5 fights, some romance and comedies here and there.
Rudhran was left at Kaasi by his father as a astrologer says that his presence will make the family to suffer a lot and asks him to send him somewhere for 14 years. After 14 years he goes to Kaasi to bring his son back to his village. But his son becomes an Aghori, who believes that he is a god. After requesting to his guru, his father brings him back to their home but his guru insists Rudhran to cut himself from family roots and return back.
Another part of the story was about Thandavan who was abducting the poor people and makes them to beg to earn money. Amasavalli, a blind girl abducted from her group to join here. Her sufferings, how Rudhran and Thandavan face off and whether Rudhran punishes the Thandavan form the rest of the story.
The casting is perfect. Be it the hero Arya who plays the character ruthless Rudhran or Pooja, who plays as a blind girl everybody does justice to their role. Arya in the lead character, which is powerful, does well. Bala used him just how much he needed him. At times the makeup of Pooja goes overboard, which makes her face painted with black. The physically challenged people who are acted in this film have done a great job. They are providing the comic relief in an otherwise very serious film. But the stand-out performances were given by the man who played the character Murugan, who works under Mudhalali and Pooja.
This film required some wonderful visuals and Arthur Wilson’s camera provides that. His camera captured the crowd of Kaasi, the underground places where beggars were placed and the fights with perfect angles. The lighting provided in the dark suits the mood of the film. I felt that editing could have been better in the first half. But anyway it doesn’t pull down the pace of the film. Re-recording and sound mixing are perfect.
Maestro Illayaraja has provided some gem of the tracks to this film. But I wonder why some of the songs are not picturised. When I have heard them, they are in the line of the story. I loved the songs ‘Pichai Paathiram’ , ‘Om Siva Om’ and ‘Amma un Pillai’ from this album. The background score gels well with the film. He proves he is still the Raja(king) in that. And nobody can beat Illayaraja when it comes to creating the mood to a scene.
Dialogues and Direction:
Dialogues are written by noted Tamil writer Jayamohan who penned some fine lines in this film. I liked the dialogue where Arya asks, “Is there any purity or impurity for fire?” when a fake Swami tells him that you have made the fire impure. All the credits except music and dialogues, goes to Director Bala who has shown the world of Sadhus, organized begging being carried out by the mafias, the pain and joy through which the those beggars going through, human side of one of the person who involves in kidnapping and makes them to beg. He must also credited for extracting some fine performances from his cast.
Trafficking and organized begging was never shown with such ferocity and he introduces another set of people whom we never seen in our life. The way he captured their feelings is commendable. The location, lot of efforts were went into that, chosen by him are apt and kudos to him for taking the road less traveled. This is the darkest of all the four films he has directed until now.
Light hearted people may find hard to digest the starting sequence of torturing of abducted people, but that is the reality. This film could have been a benchmark film, but it fails by a whisker due to 2 reasons:
- The first half gives a documentary feel as too much time was taken to show the human trafficking and Kaasi. Even though it is understandable that they are being shown for the first time in Tamil Cinema, it drags the film a bit.
- Too much of Hindi dialogues and no subtitles were shown for them, leaves the viewers a bit confused.
To sum up, another great film by Bala who has set himself some standards and goes about it. Watch this film for its true depiction of darker side of our society and about the aghoris, which others never shown.
My Punch: Not a divine, but a ruthless god.