Kaithi - A non fussy actioner that is gripping and delivers the goods!
Kaithi like many action films is about an ordinary many in an extraordinary situation. But is Dilli(Karthi) really an ordinary man? Dilli is said to have a bloody past but this film isn't reusing the now done to death Baasha template. Kaithi pretty much is about how this character saves the day ( or night rather ) for a bunch of policemen.
Much like Maanagaram, Lokesh Kanagaraj gets into business right from the first frame. We see a group of cops at work and there is this immediate palpable tension that we are sucked into. You realize that the maker is in complete control of the proceedings. The characters look real and even before we know what is actually happening we are already invested with the few characters that are introduced. Naren is brilliant in Kaithi. As the upright cop who is helpless and has to rely on Dilli, he reaffirms that he is a powerful performer. Karthi as the one man demolition army has a presence that sells his heroics. Both these actors ensure that they never go overboard. There is this emotional quotient that is running right through the film but is always in check. Despite being an action film, Kaithi has strong performances from its supporting characters as well. George (a splendid actor) in Kaithi is an example of how competent filmmakers can do away with typecasting actors.
Technically the film is top notch. The chase sequences are superbly choreographed. The action does follow the one vs many cliche but the stunt sequences feel real. The score of Sam CS does the job and never tries to overpower the visual narrative.
Kaithi could have been a dark film. ( There are lives in danger and some lost as well). Kaithi could have been a heroic action film with the protagonist being shown as invincible. But Lokesh gets the balance right for a realistic action film that is being catered to the mainstream audience. The subtle humour works. The film never travels on the perspective of a single individual. Karthi might be the action hero at the center but there are superb heroic moments reserved for others as well.
The film does sort of feel like being stretched a little towards the end. Maybe Dilli taking on a horde of henchmen for the second time felt a bit repetitive? And for an action film that really worked, I never felt that one big goosebump moment. The film probably had one but that is given away in the trailer.
Lokesh reaffirms his stamp as an authoritative filmmaker. Kaithi is a focussed actioner that keeps things simple but ensures that the narrative is gripping.