I’m a fan of Mani Ratnam. Always loved his style of film-making, his gutsy attitude of choosing difficult subjects, and making films far ahead of his time. More importantly, I love his portrayal of emotions on screen which have sporadic dialogues. His conveyance of emotions to the audience is just perfect. Be it Mouna ragam, Nayakan, Roja, Bombay, Iruvar, Alaipayuthey or even his last film OK Kanmani. Being his fan I feel ‘Kaatru Veliyidai’ is one of his more fragile works. If you watch his previous works, never have the other aspects of the film tried to dominate the script, but in this one the complete opposite happens. You have Ravi Varman’s spectacular visuals and Sharmishta Roy’s naturalistic production values which completely take control over the film. Not to forget A R Rahman’s breezy music as well. All the three have an upper hand over the content of the film.
The characterisation of the protagonist, Officer Varun played by Karthi seems to be unclear and you tend to have an ambiguous opinion of him. This usually never happens in a Mani Ratnam film. But the female protagonist, Dr Leela played by Aditi Rao Hydari seems to be clear. Feminist. Headstrong. She craves for an equal relationship. The relationship between both of them never goes in the right direction. There’s always a tense factor which exists throughout which makes it lacklustre. Karthi seems dull and gives an okay performance. On the other side Aditi has just grabbed this opportunity and made the best use of it. Her act is more mature. She is like one of those girls whom you had a crush on in your dreams.
Many have said this before and now I repeat that Mani Ratnam is the only director who gives a brilliant portrayal of Rahman’s music on screen. This is true till date. Be it the peppy ‘Azhagiye’ or the slow poison ‘Vaan Varuvaan’. The director has chosen the right habitat for the film which tried to make up for the dull script. The film has traces of ‘Alaipayuthey’ but against a Kashmir backdrop. There are a few scenes which have touches of the vintage Mani Ratnam. The one where Leela tells Varun about her pregnancy is just brilliant. But on the whole, the touch is missing. There are traces of ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ too. You’ll realise when you watch the film. The focus clearly seemed to be on the picturisation of the events taking place rather than storytelling. Credit to Ravi Varman for showcasing Kashmir and fighter planes in a never seen before way. Also Sharmishta Roy for the realistic sets created.
Mani Ratnam chose the right canvas for an ambitious painting but in the end it just turned out being messy and misused.
Krishna is major movie buff, who loves exploring the cinematic world irrespective of the language or genre of the movie. He’s always ready to have a chat on anything movie-related.