Kaththi begins at the stroke of midnight at a morbid jail in Kolkata. Convict no 617 is on the run. As he is fleeing through the wilderness, he turns around.
The theater erupts.
It’s one of the most unusual introduction scenes for Vijay in recent times.
A few minutes later Vijay’s Kathiresan sets his eyes on Ankita. Anirudh Ravichander amps up the percussion, and Vijay breaks into his trademark jig.
Director AR Murugadoss is a strong believer of the power of cinema to change minds; and he keeps poking at our conscience throughout Kaththi. There are a multitude of recent newspaper headlines that he deals with in the movie – farmer suicides, the 2G scam, media sensationalism and more. And then he brings in Vijay in a dual role into the narrative and skillfully plays to the galleries; faltering occasionally, but recovering just as quickly. The end result is very satisfying.
Murugadoss particularly shines when Vijay the superstar takes precedence over the actor. He brings in his entire repertoire: well-placed close up shots, stylish slow motion stunts and the Vijay punchlines. All set to rousing background music. One Vijay is the flashy superhero and the other a virtuous do-gooder; and following the unwritten rule of superstar dual roles, one character fills in for the other one’s inadequacies.
Kathierasan shuttles between jails, trying to make a quick buck wherever he can. And Jeevanandam is a communist social activist who is fighting to save his village from being taken over by the head of a soft drink company (Neil Nitin Mukesh).
Vijay gets enough scope to play up his image – radical speeches with punchlines designed to elicit thunderous applause. He also gets stunts designed to up his charisma.
His Jeevanandam has a salt and pepper stubble, wears scruffy shirts and is milder than milk. If Kathiresan can readily take on 50 men in one go, Jeevanandam can only let out a cry of protest. If Kathiresan gets to romance the heroine, Jeevanandam has dedicated his life for a cause.
But while Murugadoss passionately fusses over his hero, he woefully overlooks his heroine. Samantha picks up where she left off in Anjaan, receding to the background and only making brief appearances – in hot costumes – to dance with Vijay.
Neil Nitin Mukesh looks impeccable and makes an interesting debut as the refined but ruthless villain. He even gets the lip sync right.
The songs are a distraction during the first half of Kaththi. Anirudh does get it right with Aathi, but loses steam midway by trying to cram too many things into his songs. The superhit Selfie Pulla is annoying on screen with all the ummas thrown in.
Though Vijay is at home as the flamboyant Kathiresan, he doesn’t quite get Jeevanandam as easily. The strained effort that went into some of the emotional sequences is evident. But Kathiresan more than makes up for it, particularly in the last fifteen minutes. And in that fantastic coin stunt scene.
The Kaththi 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 an advertising relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.