kaali – has a heart
vijay antony with a reputation for delivering off the beaten track movies and this time he’s teamed up with director kiruthiga udayanidhi. ‘kaali’ through the four stories of rural love of her tries to convey the underlying themes of the search for one’s own roots and the sacrifices of women towards the abolition of castes.
Bharat (vijay antony), a successful American surgeon, has a recurring nightmare about a boy caught between a huge python and a raging bull. when his mother needs a kidney transplant, she offers to donate, but his father reveals that he is adopted and therefore the blood type will not match. After his adoptive mother recovers, Bharat leaves for India in search of her roots and discovers that her mother Parvathi, cheated on by her husband, died after being attacked by a bull and that she had called it kaali. The hero then goes to his mother’s village, Kanavukkarai, where he befriends Gopi (Yogi Babu) and establishes a free clinic for the poor. The local medicine man Valli (Anjali) initially resents the hero as a rival, but later falls in love with him. father john (jayaprakash), a highly respected priest, helps in every way. A sulky landlord (madhusoodhanan) and a mysterious man in the forest (nasser) who has “parvathi” tattooed on his hands are suspected to be the father and his stories unravel. who kaali’s father is and whether or not he recognized his son makes up the rest of the script.
vijay antony plays not only bharat but also younger versions of madhusoodhanan (college boy), nasser (a thief) and jayaprakash (priest), of which he plays the thief who falls in love with a married girl parvathi (amrutha ) . he is very effective in the fights and does not disappoint in the emotional scenes either. his monotone voice modulation that was an advantage in his previous films is jarring here considering the fact that he is playing four characters. Anjali as the village healer impresses in the opening scenes, but soon disappears from the script. sunainaa as a strong woman who makes the greatest sacrifices for her oppressed people has the greatest support as an author and her role and does her justice. Amrutha as the college girl who takes the Romeo and Juliet route in her love life and Shilpa as the town girl trapped in a marriage to an old man are welcome finds in both looks and talent. One-handed yogi babu keeps the audience in splits whenever proceedings sink. Nasser, Jayaprakash, Madhusoodhanan, and Vela Ramamurthy are solid. rk sure the villain of the four stories lacks depth of character.
‘kaali’ has an ancient feel to it which is quite refreshing. the idea of vijay antony playing the younger self of his presumed parents works to a certain extent. the central theme of the abolition of castes and the character of sunainaa who is shown as a champion of the oppressed are positive aspects. Vijay Antony-Amrutha love story based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Vijay Antony-Shilpa’s forbidden love are interesting. Audience b and c are more likely to enjoy the story’s themes and narrative style than urban audiences.
on the downside, there is absolutely no emotional connection for the audience with any of the characters. all four stories are also not connected by any common thread and the sole suspense factor of who the father is is the sole driving force. Vijay Antony uses the noble medical profession to attract the villagers and testing his DNA for his personal needs is a huge disappointment for his character who is otherwise shown to be a man with a social conscience. the movie progresses at a leisurely pace that may not be
all of vijay antony’s songs have an 80’s vibe in sync with the story and are enjoyable to listen to. however, he is found to be lacking in the baseline scoring area where he usually shines. Richard M Nathan’s camerawork and Lawrence Kishore’s editing are definitely a boost to the film. kiruthiga udayanidhi, who gave the cheerful urban romance ‘vanakkam chennai’, has tried his hand at a rural story. the film has some heart to its story with competent acting and technical aspects to match. His attempt to narrate an emotional drama like a whodunit thriller has had less than desirable results due to flaws in the writing.
verdict: go for it if you like emotional dramas with a social message.