‘Naan Kadavul’ - dowdy script dulls decent film (Tamil Film Review)

February 8th, 2009 - 3:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Film: “Naan Kadavul”; Cast: Arya, Pooja, Rajendran; Director: Bala; Music: Ilayaraja; Camera: Arthur Wilson; Rating: ** 1/2

For a film that took three years to make, “Naan Kadavul” (I Am God) surprisingly presents the flip side of moron-monks and moving mendicants’ lives and little else.

Mouthing the Sanskrit phrase “Aham Brahmasmi” (I am the embodiment of creation) and a number of Hindi platitudes, a blond haired monk Rudran (Arya) roams around in tattered jeans and a kurta for the better part of the movie to finally change into designer underwear towards the climax.

Abandoned as an infant in Benares for “astrological reasons”, Rudran learns his mantras in the holy city.

His father reclaims him for a better calling to correct the morally corrupt temple town of Tiruchirappalli, in Tamil Nadu, and its hill fort where Rudra mixes with a pot smoking group of ‘holy-men’.

The tale moves along expected lines egging the protagonist to rescue a blind-maiden Amsavalli (Pooja) who is forced by underworld don to sing and beg first in moving trains and later in a temple. Later the don ’sells’ her off to a beast.

Rudran then morphs into an avenging “Aghori” (apparently a cannibal-sect) and accords salvation to the damsel in distress and her tormentors from the eternal vicious cycles of repeated reincarnations.

One can admit that the film has many plus points in the form of brilliant cinematography by Arthur Wilson, pithy dialogues by Jeyamohan, a sensational musical score by Ilayaraja and a mind-blowing performance by Pooja.

Known for the haggard hero angle since his directorial debut “Sethu” and his subsequent success “Pithamaghan” that resuscitated and rejuvenated Vikram and Surya’s career respectively, director Bala has yet again resurrected a dowdy male-lead.

Yet, despite the initial build-up, Arya’s wooden-faced performance, a weak, implausible script, predictable direction towards its inevitable climax, somewhat snags what otherwise could have been one more good film from Bala.

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