Kalavani – Show stealer!
Kalavani opens Director A.Sargunam‘s Kodambakkam account with Pasanga fame Vimal as the lead and the Poo fame SSKumaran as the composer. As per the title, Kalavani is an awesome Romantic rural comedy with quite a number of interesting and laudable moments. More than anything else, Kalavani launches Sargunam as one of the best writers in India whose mellifluously interwoven screenplay wins the audience’s heart right from the first scene. With a no-wonder story line which almost appears inadequate for a 2:30 hours movie, sargunam has spun his scenario like a shrewd spider. Kalavani does to comedy in Tamil cinema what Paruthi Veeran did to tragedy. Both of them have a similar story thread but with a wild difference.
Kalavani‘s story belongs to antiquity: Boy meets girl, boy forces girl to love, girl loves, girl’s brother comes inbetween, boy wins. Definitely inspired from the likes of Bharathiraja, Kalavani is about Arikki@Arivazhagan (Vimal) a spoiled youth, falling in love with Maheshwari (Oviya), a girl from an enemy village who also happens to be his arch rival Ilango’s (Thirumurugan) sister. To be straight, Arikki wooes and wins Maheshwari resolving the longlasting conflict between the two villages. After a long time we see a movie which is seamlessly interspersed with agriculture, the real backbone of India. Filled with fun and frolic, Kalavani‘s crosswire is on the lighter side of the Tanjore belt villages. Hailing from one such village Sargunam has stuck close to his own life experiences, which makes the movie rooted and very Tamilish.
Going by world standards, Kalavani’s screenplay deserves a place among the world’s most original scripts. Unlike recent comedies which failed to tickle our ribs, Kalavani is loaded with a lot of laughing gas. Vimal’s unblemishing performance as Arikki along with Soori and co is evidently a memorable one for years to come. Ovia, the girl from God’s own country shines throughout, in her reactions more than her actions. Ilavarasu and Saranya play cliched roles of dumb parents but only to superexcellency which almost camouflages the ordinariness of their characterisation. Thirumuurugan, the associate director of this movie handles the antagonist’s role well. His amateurish and doubtful acting adds on to the attitude and body laguage of his character. Kanja Karuppu once again plays a Malvolio, which caters only to the groundlings. But Sargunam, places his characters at the right blocks of his screenplay making sure that everything and anything counts. Throughout the movie, there are a number of unexpected and humorous incidents which wake up the laughing hyena in us. There are too many hilarious scenes in Kalavani to make us go into splits. If you watch it in a crowd, make sure you’ve ample space to roll. Apart from comic scenes, there are a number of surprising and shocking moments in Kalavani to keep us busy. Though a comedy, Kalavani stands firmly on logic and speaks through every single one of its frames. Kalavani‘s biggest strength is the candid portrayal of Tamilnadu’s tradition and what the recent panaromas have done to it.
Dubbing is one of the major flaws of this film. In most of the scenes, the lip movements don’t go well with the audio. Along with poor dubbing, the Tanjore dialect makes it too difficult for the outsiders to comprehend the dialogues. Adding to this, the screenplay is so very naturally crafted that we miss a few subtle plot points landing up in doubt and chaos as we always do in real life. A boon becomes a bane here, demanding very serious attention to every single detail. Things go fine and raise our expectations but leave us disappointed, when Arikki doesn’t do anything new to get his girl in the third act.Though well made, Kalavani is after all one of those picaresque movies which glorify a rogue. Apart from this, the director sets the stage immaculately before getting his corrupt lead onshow, which justifies every act of this Kalavani.
With a handful of neat numbers and unpredictable BGMs, SSKumaran contributes in a great deal to Kalavani. Raja Mohamed‘s editing is sleek and gimmickless which makes it one of the main fortes of this talkies. Omprakash‘s cinematography scores in slow moving and static shots, rather than in the steadicam shots. With no violence and profanity, Kalavani‘s success once again proves that films with originality and good narration are always ahead of movies with nonsensical technical grandeur and those pointless remakes. Kalavani says, I’ll cheat, lie, bluff and what not, but still you’ll like me!