Director Maniratnam is always known for making romance dramas, that are close to our hearts. ‘Kaatru Veliyidai‘ is a romance drama too, which is set in the backdrop of the 1999 Kargil war. The film is the tale of Captain Varun who works for the Indian Air force and Doctor Leela Abraham.
Director Maniratnam has failed deplorably in making this romance saga lively Right from the first scene where the flashback begins, everything looks so artificial. In the whole movie, not even more than 4 scenes are actually refreshing. The film is narrated in a non-linear method, but neither the romance scenes are soulful nor the Pakistan escape sequences are intriguing.
Every other character except Leela’s, look so alienic and almost all the pivotal scenes are lifeless. Not just that – for some reasons, the film on the whole is far away from common (be it the hero’s family which is said to be a Tamil family settled in North India doesn’t even have a single Tamil face or the song in which the Marriage happens completely in North Indian style or the ‘Pillai’ family reacting so cool for their elder son marrying his pregnant girlfriend on the 9th month or the younger son bringing home his fourth girlfriend). The characterization also looks uneven at times (in other words, may be the director failed to make the audience feel his inner conflicts) – actually, it is a wonder that someone like Leela falling for a abusive, male-chauvinistic and self-centred Varun. Of course, the film does have scenes that tries to explain the inner struggles of Varun between being himself and trying to adapt for the sake of his sweetheart – but, all of those scenes fall flat with an uninteresting writing. Till the end, the film keeps on progressing with no impact on the audience at all.
The only relief in the whole film was the scintillating cinematography by Ravi Varman, the breath-taking visuals, the songs by A.R.Rahman (BGM was not that great too ) and the gorgeous Aditi Rao. Aditi Rao as Leela Abraham speaks all through her beautiful eyes; her enthralling debut is indeed a very big plus point for ‘Kaatru Veliyidai’. Unfortunately, Karthi as the protagonist has been a major miscast. Be it his get-up without a moustache, his awkward mischievous acts or the ‘Maniratnam’ style romance – it was all a misfire. He was the biggest minus point of the film, making it even more unbearable. RJ Balaji does remind Vivek from ‘Alaipaayuthey’ a lot, is that me alone who thinks so? I am not sure if it really makes any difference to the film, if the scenes involving Delhi Ganesh and the scenes of Leela’s parents are chopped off mercilessly.
Undoubtedly, ‘Kaatru Veliyidai’ is the weakest of all Maniratnam films in terms of writing and the poorest in terms of connecting with the audience. How the hell on earth, did the team shoot such a scene where Captain VC escapes off the Pakistan border – is that so easy to do it, as if it is his college hostel gate? After quite a longtime, I felt like walking out of the cinema hall halfway through a film; it was such an uninspiring and boring romance drama.
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