KadaiKutty Singam - A family drama that works!
Walking into Kadai Kutty Singam I had my doubts in place. Firstly because this looked like a typical 90s film (90s is not a bad thing. It is just the assumption or even reality that melodrama looks out of place today). Secondly because the film releases a day after Tamil Padam 2. It makes it all the more difficult to convince us to buy into something that might have just been spoofed 24 hours back. So for Pandiraj to come out unscathed, he has probably chosen the most challenging of times.
Make no mistake. Kadai Kutty Singam is certainly a template film. There is this hero introduction scene. There is also this predictability that could easily play spoilsport. Again, template isn't a bad word and if the execution is convincing you could bring anything to life ( On a completely different note this is the reason why many have trouble with a film like Sanju. Because it makes you to buy into something very important that you are unsure of). For a film like Kadai Kutty Singam to work, it is the performance that holds the key and the cast ably supports Pandiraj to bring life to this rural drama. In simple terms, you may not react to the way the characters on screen react to situations but the actors convince you that this is how the characters would react and they are not merely performing their duty under the influence of glycerin.
Karthi is one of the finest or rather the most unfussy of actors we have today. He has not done that one film with a complete makeover physically but come to think of it and he actually has played a range of characters and he is also able to do them quite convincingly without making it a point to drive home the thought 'Hey! Look, I am a versatile actor!'. Here too he puts in a fine performance. Again it is a performance that this type of film demands. The entire cast does a good job and Pandiraj deserves credit for making no actor look out of place. This is a film where Soori too keeps things in check. His comedy might or might not work with you. But he keeps it low key and that helps.
The songs and fights play out like mere ticking of the checklist. But Pandiraj ensures that not much damage is done. The stunts are mostly showcased as 'before' and 'after'. The hero build up is there. The aftereffects of the fight like the flying stuntmen are there. But he cleverly rushes through the actual stunts. What he is doing is extremely difficult. He is trying to please every section of audience and while pandering to one he is trying to ensure that he does not shoo away the other. I really liked the way he treated the relationship between Karthi and his sister's daughters. There is this scene in the climax when he explains why he does not want to marry either of the two girls. He reveals that it is not possible to look at them with intimacy when he grew up with them like a family. Most films don't venture into this area and even if they do they mostly come across like a forced closure. But in this film there is this consistent way in which Karthi looks at both these girls throughout and an awkward reluctance as well to explain to them his lack of romantic feelings for them. The scene during the end credits about the equality of the genders does have the customary messagey tone but it is good that Pandiraj felt it was necessary that he made sure that he undoes any thoughts (if at all) about the need of the male to be the saviour of the female.
The writing of the villain could have been better. But most of the other complaints are minor and are possibly requirements for this genre. Yes, a few of them could have been possibly done away with. But as such they remain within tolerable limits.
Convincing performances and neat direction from Pandiraj ensure that Kadai Kutty Singam rises above the predictability factor and turns out a job well done.