Saturday, 8 April 2017

Under The Spotlight: Kaatru Veliyidai

A Mani Ratnam film will almost naturally create a huge buzz among movie lovers. Such is the class he has created in his past films. Mani Ratnam is an inspiration to me, thus I get super excited knowing a film of his is being released. Kaatru Veliyidai has created huge exceptions through its trailer and song tracks and I am so eager to break this film down through my lenses.

Story Review

The trailer and songs pretty much exposes the feel off the movie. A love story with the hero trapped at enemy lines and seeking to escape. My first impression from the trailer was that this film looks like an extension or in the same lines of Roja. Well I was so wrong, it isn't anything like Roja.

The story in essence is quite simple. The film starts of with showing that the hero, who is an air force fighter, getting trapped at enemy lines. He is tortured and imprisoned there. A couple of things keeps the hero's hope of freedom up with the main reason being his love for the heroine

From this point the film moves between a series of flashback scenes showing how hero meets heroine and their love story and how he tries to escape being a war prisoner and find his way back to India.

Although the story flow may sound simple but where the story wins is the characterization of the hero and heroine. The hero is shown to be a self-obsessed, passionate lover who is filled with aggression. The heroine on the other is shown to be a loving, caring with strong self-esteem and a hint of being a feminist. As you can see they are two polar characters and by them coming together it can be destructive.

With the flashback scenes filled with how they fall in love and what happens when you make two different characters become a love couple, the present scene shows how the heroine is his pillar of strength and the drive to see her is what keeps him going to his eventual escape.

The weird part of the film is that as much as you know this two people shouldn't be together as a couple, you will still end up rooting for them to be together. That's the story's beauty in my opinion. This film shows you how beautiful love is all about although at times it makes you do things which makes no sense at all

Rating: 3.4/5.0

Director Review
Mani Ratnam

There is a reason why this genius is called "The Guru". He took a very simple story and made it into such a beautiful piece of art. The film is filled with Mani Ratnam's trademark in almost every frame.

My first credit to him will be his character design. The way he created his hero is someone who you can easily hate but you would love him at the same. So much complexity into the film and he had it flow well with his story.

Meanwhile when comes to designing the heroine, Mani Ratnam is one of the best person in that area. The way he portrays the ladies in his film is an absolute grace. I loved the way how he brought in a taste of feminism into his heroine although the film was shot in a timeline of 1999 when feminism wasn't a big movement yet.

Second and the biggest credit is the way he got Ravi Varman (cinematographer) to shot each and every scene. Every frame of the film was like a piece of art. The scene which took my breathe away is the scene where Varun opens his eyes for the first time after recovering from the opening accident in the hospital.

They shot Leela presence and emotions by capturing the reflections thorugh Varun's eyes. Such detailing and beauty. Top notch work. Throughout the film there are many scenes which was shot by capturing the actor's performance through mirror reflections. A true Mani Ratnam landmark. I can go on and on picking out details of Mani Ratnam's work and praising him because he is such class.

Finally, the dialogues and one liner in the film were simply amazing. The dialogue at the tango dance was a real stand out and the scene where the hero says that he will love her even if she doesn't love him was my favorite moments.

One disappointment would be that the scene where the hero shouts "Kaatru Veliyidai Kannamma!!!" seems to have been omitted out or maybe I just didn't realize it In a nutshell, it is his directing execution which elevates a simple love story into a brilliant art. Thank you Mani Ratnam for this. You will always be my inspiration.

Rating: 4.7/5.0  
The Cast

I've always rated Karthi highly. His performance in his first couple of film was top class (Paruthiveeran and Aayirathil Oruvan) but after that his movie selection was so poor bar Madras, so much so he started to look nothing more than an average actor in the industry.

Joining hands with Mani Ratnam is perhaps the best career decision Karthi would have ever made. The performance in this film will spawn new opportunities for him and I hope he makes the right pick.

Coming down to his performance in this film, Karthi plays the role of Varun or better known as VC who is an air force pilot. Having trained much to be an air force pilot where his job is to kill people, that has embedded an aggressive trait in him which leads him to have anger issues and emotional outburst. He decides with his heart and not his mind.

At the same time he is shown to be madly in love with his heroine. He is also shown to be someone very obsessed about himself and thinks about the gains for him. Not the type of guy you would love in real life yet there is something about the character which you can't hate him in the film.

During his imprisonment, a sense of maturity grows in him and begins to realize the value of his heroine. Karthi plays the role with so much conviction and the output was good. He has done his homework to understand how a fighter pilot carries themselves as performance it well.

The one down side from his performance when he tries to emote with his eyes. There a couple of scenes where he looks deeply into his heroine eyes with his eyes wide open. What was meant to be shown as him being crazily in love, kinda felt a little scary in my opinion. Felt he should have emoted better with his eyes.

 Rating: 4.0/5.0

Aditi Rao Hydari

It wasn't only love at first sight for Varun, but it was for me too. The opening scene in the train with Aditi peeking out would just take your heart away.

Aditi plays the role of Dr. Leela Abraham, a young, caring and loving doctor.

She is just the total opposite of Varun. She is a believer of fate and destiny while he believes that he makes his own luck. My favorite trait of her is that she has a sense of feminism and a self-worth. There is almost no logical reason why she chooses to be with Varun either than it is true love. The internal complexity of her character was so well written by the director and brilliantly brought to screen by Aditi.

The way she looks at Varun while being in love with him will make you wish your girlfriend will look at you the same way. So much grace and elegance. My favorite scene which feature her is the scene when she flies over the Himalayas with Varun. Just take a moment to note the way she looks at him and how she emotes. You will fall in love with Dr. Leela Abraham.


 Rating: 4.0/5.0

R.J. Balaji & Rukumani Vijayakumar

The film has been so beautiful crafted with the lead characters so much so it doesn't really need any addition character, yet from the balance of the cast, this two people are worthy of a mention.

Prior to this film, I could never understand why any director would cast R.J. Balaji in a film. All he does is talks fast, makes witty jokes while other people are talking seriously. Every other director saw that R.J. Balaji could only do this but not Mani Ratnam. He made an actor out a guy who previously can never act anything other than a comical role. Here he does makes a couple of jokes, but very subtly and sometimes he wins the audience by just the way his eyes reacts in a scene.

Rukumani on the other has always proved that she in an amazing dancer and that talent of was very well used in this film. She does play a pivotal role as Dr. Leela Abraham's friend. Absolute love the scene how she explains to R.J. Balaji the love cycle among the characters. Love the way how smoothly she says she has a crush on him

 Rating: 3.0/5.0
The Music
A.R. Rahman

I call this legend as god's favorite musician and he keeps on proving me right. To make a love story become a success you need 3 key elements which is the way the film is shot, the performance of the cast and the original score of the film.

A.R. Rahman's score in the film during scenes lifts the film to a whole new class. If you realize nearly almost every scene you will hear a hint of music going on while the characters are speaking in a scene. Music gives live to a film and in this film, perhaps music is the heartbeat of the film

The song speaks for itself with all the songs being an absolute class. Loved the way how he paces up and down a song and uses it as a score during the scenes. The man is indeed a gift from god.
 Rating: 5.0/5.0

Final Verdict: A simple yet beautiful piece of art

Final Rating: 4.0/5.0


  1. Are you mad please see a good doctor. Though there are no medicine for stupidity but you seem to have crossed that stage you need clinical assistance couple of electric shock .get well soon bro . The movie is boring to death and there are no two ways about it. Utter flop , total crap , bullshit .

    1. I guess we all have our own opinions. I stay true to my review that in terms of film making style, the movie is a real joy but the story isn't the strongest point. Thanks for commenting Jagan!

    2. @jagan, I can clearly feel that you have seen this movie like a commercial potboiler. Sorry to burst your bubble,the film strongly portrayed flawed love in a perfect manner.The characters,technical finesse was top notch though it can be realized only through the lens of mature audience

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