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Kaalidas Review: A Promising Whodunit That Could Have Been More Competent

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Director: Sri Senthil

Cast: Bharath, Suresh Menon, Ann Sheetal

For a whodunit to work it must hoodwink us. Have us wonder. Is that him? Or him? Or the other one? And this Kaalidas does well. It opens with a death. And then there are other deaths (everyone dying is female). And there is a cop who isn’t bloodthirsty, who isn’t flexing his muscles (though he has plenty to show off), who isn’t beating people up, investigating these deaths. When we first see Bharat’s Kaalidas, he is calmly talking to a man who has a machete in his hand. Kaalidas is appealing to the man in him. The father. Later, he organises public awareness meetings where he says he is the kind of cop who pays EMIs and that we mustn’t revel in saying ‘No one in my family has stepped inside a police station’ as if it’s a scene of crime.

Kaalidas is married but his wife Vidhya (Ann Sheetal) is unhappy in the way, small things can drive a large rift in relationships. He drinks every day (not so much as to pass out, we see him do it only once), and cancels many plans as these deaths and other work keep him busy. She wants him to see her, and pay attention. He seems helpless. No one is just bad or good. Everyone has their reasons. Kaalidas, for instance, is a competent, compassionate cop but he makes up his mind about the women who’re all dying. He thinks they’re loose, and is gently but firmly told off by his senior officer (Suresh Menon) for acting as the moral police. It’s also refreshing how the film frames infidelity as something it is merely looking at, from the outside, as a plot device, without making a single judgement that feels editorial — as if it were coming from the director.

All of the little elements that the film shows us, about Vidhya and Kaalidas’ personalities come to play later. When a young man (Aadhav Kannadasan) moves in as a tenant in their house, he seems to be paying Vidhya a lot more attention than Kaalidas does. It’s a bit weird how flirtatious he is but there’s a chance that Kaalidas’ wife might be falling for this charming man who’s talking to her, spending time with her. The film shows us this track in all earnestness without judging Vidhya.

It gets interesting by the interval when you realise any of the three men in the film could be suspicious. Kaalidas is gentle in unexpected ways. From Bharath to his senior, everyone is human. And matter-of-factly. For instance, Vidhya calls someone (we don’t know what their relationship is until the end) and says her husband is drinking. So the woman on the other line suggests that she also drink. And she does. She pours herself a drink. Finds it bitter and then decides to finish it off with chocolate on the side.

What doesn’t work? The pace. Parts of the staging. Some of the acting that borders on tentative, where people on screen are unsure of what to do. Many parts of the film are just underwhelming, and it’s the suspense that really keeps it going. The film drags a bit in quite a few places. While the music and the songs (even the lyrics) are interesting and add character to the film, it feels heavy and sudden at times. You are very aware of the music that doesn’t blend in all that smoothly.

The ending (not a spoiler) also left me feeling a bit cheated, not in a good way.

This Kaalidas review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site

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