Release Date : Feb 01,2013
Review by : Behindwoods Review Board
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Production: Mani Ratnam, Manohar Prasad
Cast: Arjun, Arvind Swamy, Gautham Karthik, Lakshmi Manchu, Thulasi Nair
Direction: Mani Ratnam
Screenplay: Jayamohan, Mani Ratnam
Story: Jayamohan
Music: A. R. Rahman
Cinematography: Rajiv Menon
Dialogues: Jayamohan
Editing: A. Sreekar Prasad
Singers: A.R. Rahman, Aaryan Dinesh Kanagaratnam, Abhay Jodhpurkar, Chinmayee, Haricharan Seshadri, Harini, Shakthisree Gopalan, Sid Sriram, Tanvi Shah, Vijay Yesudas
Lyrics : Aaryan Dinesh Kanagaratnam, Karky, Vairamuthu
Distribution: Gemini Film Circuit

There are films that have their main draw from its stars and there are films which lure the audience to theatres thanks to the name of the director. Kadal falls in the second category. Mani Ratnam, the most revered director of our times presents his latest offering with two newcomers and two experienced artists to narrate a tale of good versus evil.

Kadal is the story of a young direction-less man and the influences on his life with a fishing hamlet as the backdrop. However, the pivot is the conflict between Arvind Swamy and Arjun which forms the warp and weft of Kadal on which the entire film is woven.
It will not be an understatement to say Arvind Swamy owns Kadal. What a powerful comeback! We are seeing him after quite a long aestivation and the man literally owns the screen with his portrayal of Father Sam. Be it the pain or the anguish or the affection or the determination to carry on Jesus’ doctrine, Arvind Swamy triumphs with the myriad emotions. And Arjun is the perfect foil for Arvind Swamy with a different kind of characterization and the Action King sails through his role.
Karthik Muthuraman can be proud of his son Gautham. As the affection deprived and the venom spewing Thomas, Gautham delivers in his very first film. He scores in action as well as dance department too. A worthy find indeed! Thulasi Nair is natural and the confidence shows. The younger versions of Gautham are perfect, especially the child. His painful and scary looks linger on.
Technically Kadal boasts of illustrious names that prove their mettle once again. In a film like this, there are huge chances that the cinematography overshadows the script. But Rajiv Menon’s success lies in his camera travelling unobtrusively with the needs of the script. Some of the shots he has canned, stay on with you even after you leave the theater.
By now, it is a known fact that A R Rahman reserves his best for Mani Ratnam and the tracks are already chartbusters. Nenjukulle has a different treatment amidst conversations, Adiyae was a let down with the choreography not gelling well despite it being a dream number, Elay Keechan and Moongil Thottam are lively and well shot. Magudi adds color to a well conceptualized title roll and also to Gautham's transformation sequence.
Jayamohan’s dialogues are flavored with coastal nativity but the dialect does not seem to be uniformly spoken. There are quite a few aberrations on this segment. Kadal should be lauded for its art director Sashidhar Adappa who impresses with the church and in the climax sequence.
The pace of Kadal is leisurely languorous and this is the pace that the director has fixed for the film. The first half moves in a unilateral direction but it is in the second half that the film takes a meandering course. Although the conflict between Arvind Swamy and Arjun is the fulcrum, there is not enough depth in it for the rest of the sequences to hinge upon this. Same thing holds good for Thulasi and Gautham’s romance. Thulasi’s psychological condition and her relationship with Arjun are also not explained clear enough.
To encapsulate, the bar is always pushed several notches up when it comes to Mani Ratnam’s films and in that vein, Kadal may disappoint the general audience whereas it would appeal to his fans who are still patiently waiting for his magical spell on them which is missing in Kadal.
Verdict: Technically brilliant, but wanting in Mani Ratnam’s magic



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