Monday, February 09, 2009

Naan Kadavul - disappointment !

edited on 11th Feb 2009.
Just finished watching Naan Kadavul. In chitambaram. Went to pichavaram yesterday and while returning, halted here. Well, the ticket price was 80 Rs - that equal's Sathyam's price - economy class! And, there was no A/C ! Anyways, finished the film and composing this review from our hotel room in my cell.

What does Naan kadavul say? It's the story of a man forsaken by his father in Kasi who comes to take him back to his home fourteen years later, and the experiences the son faces, in the father's town - Malaikovil in South Tamil Nadu. The film begins and ends at Kasi.

For the first time, there is no romance in a Bala film. Good to see the change in Bala's approach. The heroine is a blind girl, who begs by singing songs. Also, there's no real 'story' till the interval, and the film 'begins' only after the first 80 mins. Unlike Bala's earlier films.

In the beginning, when the father comes to Kasi in search of his son, we see Arya, who is an 'Aghori' - a sanyasi group which followes certain vigorous rules and worship Lord Shiva's violent stature - Kaala Bairava. We see an Aghori Guru, for whom the Hero is a disciple. The hero is called Rudra. The father talks to the Guru and after the Guru assuring his disciple that he will return to him when the time comes, takes his son to his home town.

Back in Malaikovil, we see Thandavan, the villain, who has copious beggars under his control, and collects all the money raised by them. We see a group of terribly mutilated beggars along with Murugan, a gunda who works for Thandavan and has a collection of beggars under him. Rudra lands up in Malaikovil. He doesn't like any kind of relationships which bind him to the mortal world, and his sole aim is to contemplate and meditate upon the lord. So, he leaves home and goes to a place in the hill where the other 'sadhus' reside.

We also see the heroine. We learn that she is a blind girl who runs her livelihood by begging. This is what we see in the first half.

In the second half, the story begins. Murugan sees the blind girl singing in a train, and brings her to Thandavan. Thandavan hands over the girl to Murugan and asks him to place the girl in the mountain among the other beggars. In spite of the poor girl's resistance, she is placed at the mountain to beg.

A fellow person who does the same kind of business as Thandavan comes to him with a peculiar offer. He wants a few of the beggars to be taken to Kerala with him to beg in certain locations. He offers money to Thandavan and takes a few of the poor beggars with him. He gives Thandavan 10 lakhs for the blind beggar girl to be married to a terribly disfigured guy whose face is nothing but a few remnants of skin sticking on the skull. This fellow wants a girl to be married to him, and since no one would dare to even see his face, plans to marry the blind girl.

The girl refuses and goes to a Saadhu in the mountain, who asks the girl to go to Rudhra. The girl runs to Rudhra and when the girl is about to be abducted, Rudhra beats the gundas and kills the man. As a result, the police arrest Rudhra, who does not care about any of these happenings. He continues to live his 'own' life, bathing in the river, smoking ganja and meditation. The police try to enquire Rudhra about the missing person, but Rudhra says he has given the person what he deserved.

There is one mind chilling scene at this point. When the police ask "What have you done to that man?", A tight close up shot of Rudhra shows his face. He reclines back casually, looks up, and tells "Thinnutten" ('eaten him'). Those words have been cut and a mere beep plays at that time, but from the way he moves his lips, it's clearly evident. There is no direct scene that tells us about this particular trait of an Aghori. . That he eats dead bodies. But this single shot when the hero tells that he has eaten a person, gives us a chill in the spine. This is my most favorite scene in the film.

Finally the police give up and they release Rudhra.

When Rudhra is released, Thandavan runs to him with vengeance and attacks Rudhra. After a battle, Rudhra kills Thandavan. The blind girl comes to Rudhra and pleads to grant her freedom from this janma and the forthcoming janmas, as she is unable to withstand the pain inflicted by Thandavan and his people. She is in a very bad mutilated state, bearing the brunt of Thandavan's anger as the guy who wanted to marry the blind girl refuses the offer and goes away.

Rudhra remembers what his guru told. That he is an Aghori, who has the power to liberate people from this life and the forthcoming lives and grant them moksha. What he does at the end to liberate the poor girl from her sufferings forms the climax, and Rudhra finally walks away from the hill, and goes to his guru in Kasi. And the film ends.

The portrayal of the beggars is a definite plus point. The song 'Pichai paaathiram yendhi vandhen' is filmed in an excellent manner, like 'Kadavul ullame oor karunai illame' from Anbulla Rajnikanth and 'Enge sellum indha paadhai' from Sethu. But, that song is originally about a person seeking enlightenment. If you listen to the lyrics, it's evident. Using such a song to portray beggars, did not gel well. And Pooja's acting. In the initial few scenes and in the climax, she has done a great performance. But in some scenes, while she talks, she has done the same moves, like tilting her head one side and shaking it. Except that, her performance deserves a good applause.

Arya's performance is okay. He overacts in some scenes, and doesn't have any scenes to his credit, to be lauded. In short, he is the executioner. The director fails in this very concept. We see the hero as an Aghori, who doesn't care for anything, and who considers himself as the 'Kaala Bhairav', granting moksha to people who do not want another janma. Now, he beats and kills the bad guys. But there is no relationship with the audience. In pithamagan, the hero does the same but we were able to understand the reasons and were able to connect. But here, there is no real reason for the hero killing the villain. The villain attacks him, and that's the only justification for the hero to kill him. I mean, the audience knows that Thandavan is a bad guy who deserves to be killed, but the hero doesn’t. So, when he gets killed by Rudhra, it doesn’t connect well. That's one of the many weak links.

And, the movie has been filmed in such a way that the audience doesn't know whether the hero is a real Saadhu or is a guy who believes that he is a great soul. Most scenes are towards the second point which alienates the audience from them.

Overall, I was not able to like it. Some scenes were good, but when commenting as a whole, I would say it's a disappointment, which made my assumption right, after seeing the trailer. Refer my post which I published after seeing the trailer. That it's a bore.

My previous posts about Naan Kadavul. .

Sent from my mobile device

Affly, Rajesh .


Ajith said...

i can understand ur reluctance to accept something good...instead u better watch a BILLA,VILLU or PADIKKATHAVAN..............

Ramanan said...

The aghori can identify if a person is dusht (bad).You see that is what Arya says before chasing the Keralite ..This is mentioned initially in Kasi when the sadhus explains about aghori to Rudra's father.

The S c o r p said...

Hi Ajith. Well, I will never EVER accept the movies u mentioned as movies. They are some crap, which are marketed in the name of movies. I'll tell u. I've watched numerous number of foreign and english quality movies. I can easily observe that screenplay is lacking in this film .That's y I wrote like this. So, when every Bala film comes, I shud write as it's a great one? Anyone who are seeing the film will accept that these are the negative points. Hence, don't comment with rage. try to understand the review. Thanks for commenting.

The S c o r p said...

Hi Ramanan,

Yea that's rite. But precisely that's the point I 'm mentioning - that Bala has not given a clear account of whether Rudhra is having that power to identify good and bad. Coz he very much attacks the blind beggar girl also, while she advises him to go to his mom. Hence, if that point is explained thru a scene, then it wwould have been easier to accept that the hero has the power of identifying the bad.

Thanks for the comment Ramanan.

logesh said...

Dear Rajesh,

Spirituality is an OCEAN. In sprituality "Aghori" life style is entirely different from normal human being. These kind of life Bala can't take it in a 2 hour Movie. My only satisfaction is he is the only person taking these kind of film in TAMIL film industry. But the efforts taken by Mr.BALA is commendable.

The S c o r p said...

Hi Logesh,

Yes. What you say is absolutely right. This is a different movie in tamil industry. It is commendable that Bala has taken such a film. But my point is not about the message it gives but the screenplay. The screenplay really wanders in this pic and that makes all his efforts disappointing. That 's what I felt..

Nice to see the comment Logesh..Hope u are enjoying life.. tell my best wishes to everyone there!!

Starglider said...

Hello Rajesh,
I am quite disappointed that you found this movie disappointing. I found it very engrossing and different. It was an excellent movie. As for my comment about your movie review, I agree to Ramanan explaination of how Aghoris can identify bad people. And as for your response to him, I think that Arya beating up the blind girl when she asks him to visit her mother is not really to hurt her, but to make her leave the place. He is just clearing her from that hill, because it's obvious from the girl's talks that she is not understanding his spiritual quests and she is just childishly entreating him to talk nicely to his mother. It's like parents clearing off kids when they interfere in mature matters that they do not understand.

The S c o r p said...

Hi Starglider,

Well, the reason I found the movie to be disappointing is because of the screenplay. There was absolutely no screenplay at all, and the movie 'begins' only in the second half. I agree that it shows the telling tale of the condition of beggars, but that was not sufficient according to me. The first half has certain glitches like the long scene in the police station where the goal of the scene is to show murugan taking the blind girl away from her crowd to thandavan. The scene would've been shortened to exzctly fit this part.

There were certain 'drags' in the screenplay like this, and that's why I didn't like the movie. I liked some scenes in it, but to me, the screenplay was the culprit.

And, yes. What you have given is correct about the Aghori attacking the blind girl. I juz wanted to give a brief account of that part - the justification about the Aghori being not given in the movie that I mentioned about that incident.

Anyways, not a problem. I respect the Aghori cult and the great sadhus. Hence, even though I didn't like the movie (only coz of the lack of screenplay), I do cherish the tradition :).

Valluvan said...

Hey good to see your blog. I would like to share few points here, as you say this movie might have some glitches, even i felt few masala items resembling his earlier movies. But beyond all those as per me its holding a lot of spiritual messages embedded in this.
It breaks common mans rage against the creator (generally majority people under poverty line having a in-depth feel that they had been cheated or punished by god)
And knowledging everyone that moksha is what more important than anything else (majority of the common people pray for money and stuffs here rather than thinking beyond materialized life)
Good practical in-depth intro about different varieties of people and spirituality for everyone who doesn’t even have time to think about anything beyond their life

I guess, still more things are there but these might be the keys i believe.

Fine, let’s see from more practical point of view. This movie is not for some minority knowledged high society or rather only for literate people. Its targeting just people (either literate or illiterate) to feel and feed the above said visions.
The movies which you have listed as best movies, even majority of literate guys were not aware of those.
I mean rather than being very best and pure but not popular or rather not much useful for majority of people(like some great sadhus who left the world once they realized paramathma and left worldly life without doing anything else) is not great for the society than being more lively and reaching the mass and knowledging them (like Buddha)
FYI..Am not comparing bala with Buddha, it’s not the point.

Being a movie maker and surviving in a market of a small geographical area, he should make his films more commercialized for reaching both financial success as well as to broaden the visions of common man.

If the movie doesn’t have all those masala things, then definitely movie become an utter flap, giving a name of flap director to bala but might become a very best movie among knowledged community.
I guess that’s not bala or any common mans requirement.

Please share your vision and comments on these.

The S c o r p said...

Hi Valluvan,

Yes. I have agreed wholeheartedly that 'Naan Kadavul' is a different attempt. It's a post modernistic representation of an unexplored territory - the Aghori Saadhus and the poor beggars, and the connection.

Yes. This film throws light about a man considering moksha as the ultimate thing and not wealth and mortal pleasures. And, yes. It presents the audience with the stunning reality which is all around them but which they have always ignored to realize. Seeing this film, the audience will now at least think about the poor beggars, the society, the quest behind god and everything.

What you have mentioned might be the motive behind Bala filming the movie with a few glitches. He might have thought about the common man's perspective. That it must reach everyone.

But, my point is, there are a lot of great movies around the world, which always have been taken for the common man. I mean, the world's best film makers have always strove hard to make the common man realize about the hardships happening around him and to make him try to at least lift a finger towards them, ultimately trying to make the world a best place.

I am sure that this movie might have been taken in a much more improvised sense. I mean, just take a look at 'Paruthi Veeran'. It is now being acknowledged as a great film, around the world. Why? Since it showcased people as they are. Realism. Without any masala. It showed life as it is, in the villages.

Likewise, Naan Kadavul too might have been filmed in a much more realistic sense. I mean, certain scenes are not necessary absolutely. They just pull the movie back. I noticed that there is no screenplay at all, and that made the film boring, even though it had everything you mentioned.

If these minute glitches been taken in to consideration, Naan Kadavul would have been a masterpiece, which would have made the entire world to look at our film industry with pride. But, since Bala didn't took these in to consideration, it stays as a mere Tamil film, which would be forgotten after some time.

Thanks for commenting, Valluvan.

Valluvan said...

Thanks for the fast response. May be I might not be having such in-depth knowledge about movies. I guess i should watch more good movies. Anyway thank you very much.

The S c o r p said...

Not at all Valluvan. Please don't think like that. Everyone have their own view about the film. You have expressed your view and I have expressed mine. Hence, happy blogging and thanx for posting your views.. They helped me a lot.

The S c o r p said...

Not at all Valluvan. Please don't think like that. Everyone have their own view about the film. You have expressed your view and I have expressed mine. Hence, happy blogging and thanx for posting your views.. They helped me a lot.

The S c o r p said...

Not at all Valluvan. Please don't think like that. Everyone have their own view about the film. You have expressed your view and I have expressed mine. Hence, happy blogging and thanx for posting your views.. They helped me a lot.

Anonymous said...

Man, I completely agree with you. You know, I am not Indian, but live here and have a Tamil husband and a Tamil gang. Both my husband and gang were trying to convince me to go to the movies and watch that. It was a torture. They were translating it to me, but seriously speaking, the only thing that made sense was the way they portrayed the beggars. It seems the director made a great effort to try to connect that sadhu with the beggars in order to make some sense but he ends up not making any sense at all - there is no storyline, only a collage of brutal facts and that 'hero' sounded pathetic to me. The heroine was good, and could convey her sentiments in a very touching way.

The fight scenes looked messy, it would have been of much help if the director had spent some money and time hiring a fighting expert to help him up in those scenes. I know there are very good martial arts experts here in South India. Had he done that, the fighting scenes wouldn't look so lame, I tell you that.

The S c o r p said...

Yes. U r rite. The movie would've been good if it had a nice story and a good screenplay. Without both, it looked ordinary.

arun said...

Rajesh, i saw the movie yest and it's awesome. I strongly dis-agree with your comments on this movie. What your expecting more than this.. no one can have this much of guts to take like this.. we shld appreciate bala instead of criticize t movie. Of course Arya role was not pretty gud as expected but he played his part according to his role. So don't post abnormal comments in your blog hereafter :)

The S c o r p said...

Hi Arun,

The movie lacks a nice screenplay, and was boring to watch, even though some scenes were good. Overall, this is what I feel about the movie, that it's a disappointment. Not only the screenplay but there are some more factors which have made the movie uninteresting. I have given them in my post. Hence that's why I mentioned it as a disappointment,

PS:- Oye .. is that you Thayiru? pinni puduven pinni :)

Rams said...

To Devathai: You would have felt the movie as a torture because you don't know the language. Translations sometimes cannot convey the exact feelings/meaning of a dialog/scene unless you don't understand the language and assimilate the meaning by yourself. Moreover in the movie, Rudhra is a sadhu, not an action hero/trained martial artist to do supernatural fly-in-the-air stunts. Whatever the fights scenes performed are more practical and acceptable for a sadhu (not meaning a soft person). Otherwise it would be a masala. Also the director is not trying to connect the sadhu and beggers. It's not necessary also. Sadhu's path is not to help out beggars.
Anyhow the word "torture" is a much exaggerated term.

To Scorp: Initially I thought that Ruthra thinks himself as a great soul (scenes with other sadhus in malaikoil). But later I felt that he is the God of death (As he is preached and brought up by his Guru/rituals). That's how his mindset is fixed. So he cannot be kind one time (with good people) and become furious in another time (with bad people). If so, it would look like a masala. Hence his very character itself is depicted as a rude ascetic as shown in the intro song itself that he can identify wrong people and fights with them. (as Ramanan and Starglider commented). Although all sadhus follow spiritual path it is not necessary their characters should be same or similar (kind, soft, polite, patience, as most of us think/expect). So it's ok to have a rude sadhu. In my opinion the movie is 99.99% perfect.

Thanks for your works. They are great!

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