I’ve watched almost every single Vishal movie, right from the template movies he used to make, to the experimental flicks he tried and then to the ones where he has almost managed to tread the middle path of a logic driven action movie. I have been entertained by most of his movies, but there has always been a sense of trepidation and the acceptance of the fact that I might be let down. The trailer seemed promising and I was geared up for a movie that wouldn’t take the commercial audience for an idiot.

Kathakali is about Amudhan (Vishal), playing an everyday Madurai Cuddalore Man who has returned from the USA for his marriage to his romantic interest Meenu Kutty (Catherine Teresa) and how he gets embroiled into the murder of Thamba, a dreaded gangster  of that area.

The romantic scenes between Amudhan and well I’ll just refer to her as Catherine (because I cringed whenever she was called Meenukutty), is short enough for the sweetness to remain just on the right side of the line that separates “oh-so-cute” from the “so-sweet-i-died-of-diabetes”. I personally liked the scenes that paved way for the romance by employing the usual group of friends but in a very refreshing manner.

It is extremely commendable that the movie gets away with the machinations of romance pretty early into the movie and the rest of it deals with the central plot of who killed Thamba. There are plenty of suspects for the same with plausible intentions to kill him, ranging from Vishal himself, his brother(Mime Gopi who seems to be in almost every movie), his friends, one random industrialist(JP, he also is there in almost every movie), another gang leader from Chennai, an ex-MLA and the likes. How the protagonist proves his innocence to a relentless cop, escapes from the gangster’s henchmen, finds out the real killer, frees his family from their misfortunes and gets married to his lady is the rest of Kathakali.

Considering the movies Vishal has done in the past year and a half, it is pleasantly surprising that Kathakali had only one solid fight scene, around two ‘mass’ scenes, just two and a half songs and an almost punch dialogue that is (once again pleasantly surprised) not told directly facing the lens of the camera, but still managed to elicit wolf whistles and applause from the audience. Adhi has once again done an amazing job with his music. The  Kathakali Theme and the background sounds in this movie elevates the movie and gives a constant edge-of-the-seat feeling.

As I’ve said once before in one of my earlier reviews (Uthama Villain), a big budget movie must necessarily have its technical aspects working towards enhancing the qualitative features of the movie. On that front, Kathakali ticks almost all the boxes. The cinematography, the editing(just over 2hrs of running time), the writing, everything works for the betterment of the movie.

Coming back to the plot of the movie, there is the proverbial twist in the tale and its predictability depends on the other whodunit movies that a member of the audience would have watched. The movie does start a bit slowly, but once it shifts gears, it becomes an extremely entertaining crime thriller that fortunately delivers more than what the trailer had promised.

Considering the repertoire of Pandiraj’s movies, this movie didn’t seem like his strong suit. But his handling of the script and direction has reiterated the belief fact that Script is KING.

There was this feeling I once had after the back to back releases of Vishal’s movies “Pandiyanadu” and “Naan Sigappu Manithan”, that has resurfaced in my mind.

I am now awaiting the next Vishal Movie…

P.S. Apparently this script was inspired from the real life events of a friend of the director’s. Taking my blog posts into consideration, my friends and I obviously have a boring life.




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