The movie marks a good start for the actor in 2016
When the Kathakali trailer was released, it seemed like an action masala film, which this film is and yet in many ways it is not. One thing is certain, the movie much compared to Vishal's last release Aambala. I believe Kathakali is an important milestone for the director as well as the actor.
What's it about:
The story is based in Cuddalore and Chennai. The whole story is about one man, Amuthavel and his close encounter with problems. Amuthan returns to his hometown from California after five years to marry Meenu. Enter Thamba, the local don of Cuddalore who controls both land and sea. There are some bitter disputes between the two that remain unsolved. But Amuthavel decides to move on to lead a normal life. However, all hell breaks loose when Thamba is murdered just days before the hero's marriage. The gangster had a lot of enemies including a rich textile merchant, a couple of politicians and even his own son. But all fingers are pointed towards Amuthavel. Within a few hours Amuthavel's life starts to unravel as thugs and cops bay for his blood. The rest of the tale is about how he manages to get out of this snake-pit of problems. And the speculation that if Amuthan is actually innocent, then who killed Thamba and why?
For a commercial entertainer, the movie actually has a decent story line. The story has some loop holes and isn't very original, but it still manages to hold the film together and keep the viewers interested. Acting from almost all the cast was good and Vishal portrayed his character well. Though he wasn't extraordinary, he has definitely improved a lot as an actor since his previous venture. Actor Karunas who plays a brief role for comic relief did his parts quite well and will surely make you chuckle if not laugh. The fight sequences were very few and well shot. Rowdies and thugs don't fly in the air anymore and the fights are a lot more grounded and realistic. Of course it is still one man against ten but still it is a lot more believable. Many moments stand out in the film such as the way the conspiracy unfolds within a blink of an eye, the selfie fight sequence and a climax with a multitude of twists. The pace of the movie is slow during the first 45 minutes but then picks up unbelievable pace and moves at breakneck speeds. The last 20 minutes are easily the best part of the film.
The movie was a good experiment from director Pandiarajan but it was filled with compromises. Between trying to stick to the plot and trying to be commercial, Kathakali kind of loses itself. The short and sweet run time and fast screenplay that work in its favor also bring it down. Personally, I felt that a lot of time was wasted in developing a romance track which could have been used to develop all characters. And since they had to rush the entire story later in an hour, none of the characters attained much depth. The breakneck pace also makes it hard to understand and keep track of things as so much is happening in so little time. And the whole point of a heroine here is lost as she has no real relevance to the actual story and just takes up precious screen time. Also, the mystery elements could have been milked a lot more and with so many suspects, it would have made a nail biting tale till the very end. On the whole, the film seemed to drag in the beginning and rush towards the end.
What to do:
You can definitely watch Kathakali at least once and appreciate the fast pace and the thrill it brings with it. But be careful not to blink in the latter half as you might miss something.
3 out of 5
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