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Review: ‘Kadaikutty Singam’ Is Karthi’s Redemption

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Director: Pandiraj

Cast: Karthi Sivakumar, Sayyesha Saigal, Arthana, Priya Bhavanishankar, Viji Chandrashekar and Bhanupriya.

Music Director: D Imman

Pandiraj writes about the people he knows. That is never more apparent than in Kadaikutty Singam, a story about a man bound by familial love. Gunasingam’s (Karthi Sivakumar) life has boundaries – five of them, and all of them named after queens, no less.

Two of his nieces, Andal (Arthana) and Chellamma (Priya Bhavanishankar) vie for his attention – each is convinced that she will get to marry him. Sadly for them, Sayyesha’s Kannukkiniyal walks away with Karthi’s affection, leaving the others to try and rebuild their lives. Pandiraj’s screenplay touches upon age-old traditions, and gently nudges them away. It’s time to move on, Pandiraj says. But not too fast.

The film’s strength is its portrayal of the relationship between Karthi and his sisters. Each one of them has their own distinct identity, and all of them want the best for their brother (but not all of the time). The complex nature of family, the politics that determine every relationship is etched with loving detail.

The story is nothing new to Tamil cinema. The villain is a Tamil cinema prototype. He is tall, built and perpetually angry. He snarls and spends his time dreaming up ways to kill Gunasingam. There’s also a bizarre series of scenes in which he asks people to not clean his toilet, as he wants to prepare to go to jail. And its all for nought. When its time to act, Kodiarasun (played by Shatru) is a spectacular failure. It’s like Pandiraj wants to skip right ahead to the climax portion, where another important social message awaits.

Sayyesha is at ease in front of the camera, but is wasted in a role that is probably completely alien to her. She does not gel well with the film’s rural milieu, and is required to be village Barbie when she’s clearly meant to shine in the citylights.

The nicest thing one can say about the music is that it tends to disappear into the background. It’s all of the heard-it-before variety, but the D in D Imman stands for deja vu these days anyway.

Cinematographer Velraj infuses the film with rich greens and vibrant yellows – a treat to watch, especially if you’ve only seen gloomy weather for the past few days (like me).

Actor Soori is on point as the witty ‘nephew’ of Karthi. He’s got a rejoinder for everything, and is the film’s voice of reason. Along with Sathyaraj, Viji Chandrasekar and Bhanupriya, Kadaikutty Singam boasts an eclectic cast who knows exactly what it is they’re doing. Karthi, too, steps up to the plate. His pitch-perfect portrayal of a loving family man is what makes his roles from Komban and Kaatru Veliyidai fade away. He redeems himself with this film.

There’s an abundance of social messages for Pandiraj to weave into the narrative. Caste is an inseparable part of rural entertainers and that is the case here as well. However, Pandiraj chooses to exploit it to his advantage. So, Karthi’s Gunasingam contends that caste does not exist.

Kodiarasu seems to think otherwise. For he spends his time forcing inter-caste couples to maintain a four-feet gap and harassing women who are seen speaking to men. Like the other release this week – Tamizh Padam 2, the scenes involving Kodiarasu are the weakest link in the movie. The real enemy is within. As Karthi’s Gunasingam is intent on his tiff with Kodiarasu, he fails to see his sisters for what they are and what they can do. Being the youngest in a family of six is the real curse, Pandiraj seems to hint.

Tall, brawny villains can be vanquished.

Sisters? Not so much.

***

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

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