Chennai is the most exciting place to be a film maker now in India. While the National media celebrates the Kashyap’s , a quiet sort of renaissance is happening in Tamil Cinema with film makers like Bala,Ameer, Mysskin, Sasikumar etc. Recent entrants like Karthik Subburaj have also joined the bandwagon and now you can add one more name to the list,Nalan Kumarasamy, the director of the recent black comedy, Soodhu Kavvum.
Soodhu Kavvum is a good example of a noir comedy a genre which Indian Cinema rarely explores. This alone is enough as the major reason as to why you should watch this movie. Soodhu Kavvum is one of those few films, which are difficult to write about, as it will spoil your experience of watching this movie if you have not watched it yet. Now the first scene in most Tamil or Telugu films have elaborate introduction scene for the hero which may include an action scene, a song and punch dialogue about how to live your life etc. Soodhu Kavvum establishes that is not going to be anything like that with the introduction of Das (Vijay Sethupathi) who is beaten up by a girl whom he tries to Kidnap nay Kednap. This sets the tone for this dark comedy.
In some other part of Chennai we have three friends living together, Pagalavan (Simhaa), Kesavan (Ashok Selvan) and Sekhar (RJ Ramesh Thilak). While Pagalavan and Sekhar are jobless, Kesavan, an I.T professional too loses his job by quirk of fate. When things look down and out for the trio, fate intervenes when they meet Das at a seedy Chennai Bar. Das convinces them to join him in the business of Kednaping (read Kidnapping) and he has 5 rules/principles that he follows when he is kidnapping someone. Soon the trio and Das form a bond and are quite successful in their business of Kednapping.
The rest of the story follows what happens when they decide to kidnap an honest minister (M.S.Bhaskar)’s son, Arumai Pragasam (Karuna Karan) something that they get into after a lot of deliberation. Needless to say lot of confusion and more interesting characters follows and the film switches its mode into noir territory. I am of the firm belief that songs are nothing but impediment in Indian movies and very few directors in Indian Cinema have got the knack of using songs to take the story forward. Well you can certainly add this movie to the list. Music composer Santosh Narayanan who started off with a bang in 2012 with films like Attakathi and Pizza is in form here as well. My personal favourite is the hilarious Kaasu Panam Song (Gaana Bala, Antony Dasan) and the surreal song Sa Ga (Divya Ramani) between Das and his girlfriend Shalu in the middle of torture sequence.
On the acting front, Vijay Sethupathi is the one to watch out for. He is chameleon like and the way he slips into his role of the soft spoken kidnapper Das, and speaks in broken English is to watch out for. With recent films like Sundarapandian, Pizza and Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom and now Soodhu Kavvum, Vijay Sethupathi certainly seems to be on the right path.RJ Ramesh Thilak had me laughing whenever he came on screen, his rant against reading newspapers or his experience about driving Jaguar showcases his acting skills. Sanchita Shetty as the imaginary girlfriend of Das has nothing to do other than show her legs, legs and her legs. Her character is what you may call ultimate wet dream of men. Yog Japee as the cop who will do any illegal and unlawful activities to get his case solved is a relish to watch. The character has very few dialogues, but he is one of the reasons why the second half does not get boring. Simhaa as Pagalavan, the Nayantara fan is super fun but the scene stealer is surprisingly Karuna Karan, who plays Arumai Pragasam, the Minister’s son who wants to make it big in his own way.
Generally seen in usual character roles, here Karuna Karan shines in a role which is simple yet complex. Nalan Kumarasamy is a director to watch to out for. Probably with any other director this movie could have been just an exercise in absurdity, but Nalan brings a sense to this chaotic story without bowing to commercial trappings of cinema. The innocence of the first time director has some charm which adds to Soodhu Kavvum. And yes a big salute to the producer C.V.Kumar who is slowly emerging as a big ray of hope to all aspiring filmmakers in Tamil Cinema. What started off with Attakathi and Pizza now seems to come along pretty well as a successful model for C.V.Kumar’s production firm, Thirukumaran Entertainment.
Nearly half way into 2013 this is one of the best Indian films released so far. In fact I feel also feel that this will emerge as one of the best one of the best Indian films of the year as we take stock at the end of the year. Go watch it.
Do check out the wacky Kaasu Panam song here