| Considering the quality of previous entries like Love Channel, En Sakhiye
and Jjunction, resulting from the collaboration of new talent both behind and in front of the camera,
it was with trepidation that I started watching Kaalaatpadai. This movie too has new faces in the lead roles and is helmed by a
debutante director. But the movie turns out to be a pleasant surprise. It contains a simple, familiar, intercaste love story but makes it
entertaining and absorbing through a tight screenplay and strong dialogs.
Ram(Jai) has finished college but whiles away his time with friends without looking for a job. Sridhar, who comes from a conservative
Brahmin family, is his close friend. Ram falls in love with Priya(Vidhu), Sridhar's sister and soon learns the feeling is mutual. When
news of the romance comes out, Priya faces staunch opposition from her family while a wedge is driven between Ram and Sridhar too.
The way the movie starts leads us to believe that Kaalaatpadai too is set to traverse the same path laid out by several recent
movies. As the hero and his friends smoke, drink, make fun of elders and tease girls, the dread that sets in is unavoidable for anyone who
has sat through movies like Gummaalam and Jjunction. But the movie has a surprise in
store once the romance is brought in. Though not consistently cute( the bit where he asks her to figure out what he wrote on her eyelids
is one of the few 'cute' scenes) and being a little too quick to be entirely believable, it has its strongpoints. It has some enjoyable wordplays
between Jai and Vidhu and is surprisingly clean. The fact that the romance transforms Jai is also welcome.
The single factor that elevates this movie from mediocrity is the script. Almost everyone in the movie speaks sensibly and the dialogs
sparkle with rare intelligence. Unlike Thamizh, the last movie that stood out because of the strength
of its script, the cleverness of the script here shines through in regular, day-to-day conversations and not comic wordplays or proverbs.
Be it Radharavi's advice or Vidhu's admonitions to Jai, the words coming out of the characters' mouths make a lot of sense and are
practical. And 'Thalaivasal' Vijay's words of advice to the guys when he relates his own story contains so many little gems(I absolutely
loved the line about life being a station and the three-liner about one's parents and issues wowed me).
As in most movies involving the Brahmin community, this movie too tries to derive comic effect by exaggerating
their actions and accents. But it does not take it too far and desists from making them complete caricatures. Vidhu is a very strong
character who believes in and supports her tradition and her comebacks to Jai when he teases her about her family's mode of
speaking are intelligent. Even Radharavi makes some nice points about the differences in the way of life of the two families at the
end. The climax reminds us of another superhit movie but is still short and sweet.
Jai is tall and well-built but is not particularly handsome. Emoting is not one of his strongpoints either. Vidhu is excellent in her role.
While the initial scenes revolving around the blooming romance make us doubt her acting abilities, she comes into her own as the
movie proceeds. Her confrontations with her family are convincing and she hits the right notes whether in the romance or the advices
to Jai. The actor playing Sridhar too performs well, especially during the outburst after learning about the romance. Bharadwaj's slow
songs are melodious while the fast songs offer nothing new.