After the release of Mani Ratnam’s Kaatru Veliyidai, the critics have taken two sides. One side points out that Mani Ratnam’s film starring Karthi and Aditi Rao Hydari was a let down. Another side tells us that the movie was a love story told like never before. VC (Karthi) and Leela (Aditi) fall in love – VC is a masochistic animal who thinks women are ‘made’ for certain things. Leela is the doctor who asked to be assigned in Kashmir for her first post. How the two evolve through the situations – mostly how VC evolves as person is captured in the film.
This is about that stark memory that so many of us revisit. It is about running towards making that memory a part of your reality today. It is about taking determined steps in that direction even as the memory starts to get hazy. This is yet another Mani Ratnam experience. Only, this one lacks conviction.
There are so many layers in this film, some that might not have a connect with you. But the ones that hit a chord do so perfectly. Each scene in itself is a stroke of masterpiece, each expression a beautiful colour on a canvas. Only, the picture that forms in the end doesn’t take your breath away for it lacks conviction.
The tale of Leela Abraham, a doctor who works in Srinagar, and officer Varun is poetic. It starts with Bharatiyar’s poem and ends on an expected note. You could marvel at every frame, you could applaud Mani Ratnam’s portrayal of a woman who fights falling in love with an arrogant and self-obsessed man. It happens often. But, he nails the struggle that Leela feels beautifully. Karthi’s role of a fighter pilot, a man who is a study in contradictions, is one of the best characters created by the director so far. But, the film takes a turn for the worse when the characters do not create an impact. Mani Ratnam is known to make films with characters that leave the cinema hall with you. Neither Leela nor VC manage that.
While Karthi has done an excellent job of playing the role of an arrogant and chauvinistic man, Aditi Rao Hydari as Leela is the shining star. The chemistry between the two is splendid. Their action and reaction, timing, and the way they complement each other is on point. RJ Balaji as Dr Illayas and Rukmini as Dr Nidhi are great. Unexpectedly, RJ Balaji’s humour in this film is better than the plot.
The star of this film is its cinematography by Ravi Varman. There are certain shots in the film that would leave you with goosebumps for they are just perfect. Certain scenes were so creatively shot and certain scenes capture the emotions of the character in such a way that has never been seen before. Close up shots, reflections and mirror images were used beautifully.
AR Rahman’s soundtracks became a hit among fans when they were released online. Vaan and Azhagiye remain top chartbusters even today. Tango Kelaayo, Nallai Allai, and Saarattu Vandiyile have been picturised beautifully. The songs – refreshing and as beautiful as they are, did not add much value in terms helping the pace of the movie. The background score was as expected by AR Rahman. Vairamuthu’s lyrics, especially for Nallai Allai is memorable.
Every scene has an extra oomph because of the way it was framed, and Mani Ratnam’s films are known for great picturisation.