After the failure of Raavanan, filmmaker Mani Ratnam has taken more than two years to mould his next master-piece, which features newcomers like Gautham Karthik and Thulasi Nair in the lead roles. His latest directorial venture has simultaneously been made and released in Telugu as Kadali and Tamil as Kadal. Prior its release, the videos and posters of the film have created huge amount of expectations about it.
Kadali is a beautiful romance drama with some commercial ingredients like action and punch dialogues. Arjun Sarja, Aravind Swamy and debutante Gautham's performances are the main attraction in the movie. AR Rahman's music, Rajiv Menon's visual treat, Jeyamohan's wonderful script and Mani Ratnam's elegant narration and dialogues, beautiful artworks, costumes and locations are its other strengths.
Kadali revolves around life of Christian fishermen, who instill the fact that how faith can sometimes lead to the triumph of humanity. Set in the background of a fishing village, the film is about the life and times of a young boy Thomas, who meets Beatrice. The story is universal in many ways. It is about good versus evil as the hero is caught between sin and redemption. Mani Ratnam has beautifully intertwined this subject with a love story.
The basic plot is about good and evil, Mani Ratnam narrates it in a very complex way by digging into many layers and sub texts. The director tries to capture biblical themes as a part of his characters/screenplay and questions his audience about sin and punishment for it.
Sam Fernandez (Arvind Swamy), who is sincere and dedicated, and Bergmans (Arjun), who is fun loving guy are undergo training for priesthood at a Christian Seminary. But following a few difference between them, they choose different paths of life. Sam comes to a sea side town and starts his life as a father in a Church. He meets a young orphan boy Thomas (Gautham Karthik), who has lost his mother and takes special interest in this boy. Years later, Thomas falls in love with Bergmans' daughter Beatrice (Thulasi Nair). What happens next will form the crux of the story.
The opening sequences are extremely promising and very engaging. Mani Sharma has created a riveting first half. The conceit in the interval point is predictable but yet engaging. But the slow paced-narration might bore you.
As father Sam and Bergmans, Arvind Swamy and Arjun have good scope for their role. In fact, the movie revolves around their characters and they have delivered brilliant performances. They raise above the one-dimensional roles. Newcomer Gautham Karthik also looks promising and impresses you in action and dance sequences. He has tried hard to prove his mettle in the first attempt. His chemistry with Thulasi is a treat.
Newcomer Thulasi Nair has less scope in the film Kadali when compared to other three lead actors. She has also tried to do her best. She impresses you in song sequences. Usually Mani Ratnam films will be very sound in the technical departments and Kadali is not an exception to this rule. Rajiv Menon's photography is absolutely top notch. His picturisation of beaches and sea is a visual treat.
AR Rahman's music is another highlight in the technical front. His composition 'Yadike...' leaves an impact even after you walk out of the theatres. Sreekar Prasad's editing and Shashidhar Adappa's art direction is fantastic. Kadali means ocean, which looks beautiful and peaceful, but it could be dangerous and destructive. This title provides a fitting backdrop to the story.
Overall, Kadali has brilliant performances and wonderful script. But its slow-paced narration, which tests your patience, kills the interest among the viewers. But it should be watched at least once for the attempt of Mani Ratnam.