Cast: Karthi Sivakumar, Aditi Rao Hydari, RJ Balaji, Rukmini Vijayakumar and Shraddha Srinath
Director: Mani Ratnam
The first expression that strikes every movie lover when director Mani Ratnam’s movie is about to release is excitement and huge expectation. Mani Ratnam has the ability to weave magic onscreen with not just his story but with every frame and every move. The entire movie is usually like a painting playing with every string of your emotion and awakening it – ‘Mouna Ragam’ or ‘Roja’ to be precise. Every love story created by the director is simple yet unique. Simply because the stories are relatable with our day to day life and unique because a number of emotions delivered just through acting, simple dialogues and silence are beyond this world and impeccable. Now, coming to the story of Kaatru Veliyidai if you are expecting a ‘Mouna Ragam’ part 2 or even an ‘OK Kanmani’ part 2, please do not!
If it weren’t for the breathtaking locations, brilliant cinematography and beautiful background score, there is no way one would have guessed this to be a Mani Ratnam film. In what way is this movie an eternal love story is beyond the question but, is this even a love story is the real question? The entire atmosphere is “apparently” set up between the 1995-2002 period when there is no such vibe or the feeling. Even if you are a broad minded family of the late 90s, there has to be a little hint of such openness. Karthi tries really hard to be the angry young fighter pilot but fails big time to do so. Of course, Karthi can be an angry, young man like he has been earlier in movies like ‘Komban’ and ‘Paruthi Veeran’ which was understandably a different setup. However, in this, his acting feels very restricted and strained. Though Aditi looks like a snow queen, she portrays her role as a doctor better than Karthi as the so-called angry man. RJ Balaji has no pivotal role as expected apart from repeatedly saying “Oh”.
Ravi Varman has beautifully painted every frame of the movie and every song in every different angle. AR Rahman’s songs and background scores are brilliant but the screenplay is slow and tiresome. Rukmini’s dance moves are breathtaking and will leave you awestruck only for a short while. The idea of a strained relationship between Varun and Leela is good but it is not shown onscreen. Neither did Karthi bring out the raw yet pure love of an angry young Army officer nor did Aditi fulfill the role of a sensitive yet strong woman in love. Kaatru Veliyidai is a movie with two stories in two different directions. “Namma iruttum oliyum pola (We are like darkness and light)”, describes Varun about Leela. “Iruttu” is here, where is “Oli” in the movie?
Verdict: Watch it for Ravi Varman’s cinematography and NOTHING ELSE.