Director: Arunraja Kamaraj
Cast: Sathyaraj, Aishwarya Rajesh, Sivakarthikeyan
If cricket is the soul of our country, don’t forget farming is its backbone. This is what Kanaa is all about. Directed by Arunraja Kamaraj, this sports drama has parallel storylines on women empowerment and the need to preserve agriculture, both told in an entertaining and engaging way. The strength of Kanaa is Aishwarya Rajesh, who literally breathes life into Kousi Murugesan, a woman with big dreams from a remote village.
An actress who dares to do off-beat roles in Tamil cinema, Aishwarya ensures justice to whatever she performs on screen. She had no qualms in playing the mother of two children in her debut movie Kaaka Muttai, nor did she shy away from playing a less promising role in Mani Ratnam’s Chekka Chivantha Vaanam. However, with Kanna, she has elevated herself into a mature actress for whom her character matters. For someone who did not know the ‘C’ of cricket, she has come out with flying colours. Her hard work and commitment are visible on screen, appearing authentic and raw.
Kousalya Murugesan (Aishwarya) loves cricket thanks to her father Murugesan (Sathyaraj). Murugesan is a farmer and loves his land as much as he loves cricket. Kousalya watches her father cry when India loses the World Cup and she is determined to make him happy by playing for the Indian cricket team. How she does it forms the rest of the story. The typical underdog fighting her way up takes center stage. Since most part of the movie is set in a village, the farmers’ plight and struggle are touched upon with a lot of sensitivity. Gully cricket, the guy friends supporting her aim, a father who is a pillar of support and an entire village up and against women playing cricket is all interlinked in the two hours and 20 minutes film.
Sathyaraj is the rock of this movie. He has shuttled well between playing a supportive dad to a farmer who is desperate to save agriculture.
Sivakartikeyan’s extended cameo serves the purpose very well. He has anchored the film very well with his restrained performance and gives the film a big push in the second half.
All credits to lyricist-turned-filmmaker Arunraja Kamaraj for having done extremely well in his debut venture. The cricket match sequences are shot close to reality and the background score has supported the movie well. Three cheers to music director Dhibu Ninan Thomas. Although you hear slight traces of Dangal theme music in the background music, Dhibu has managed to make it very impactful and elevate the sequences through his music.
Kanaa is an engaging sports drama with a farming angle neatly intertwined. Kudos to Sivakartikeyan for gathering guts to do such films. Tamil Cinema surely can do with more such clean, neat and realistic films.