Saturday, 8 April 2017

kaatru Veliyidai - காற்று வெளியிடை

Karthi, Aditi Rao Hydari
Delhi Ganesh, KPAC Lalitha, RJ Balaji, Rukmini Vijayakumar
Mani Ratnam
Ravi Varman
A R Rahman
A Sreekar Prasad
Madras Talkies
Release Date
April 07, 2017
2 Hours & 27 Minutes

My Thoughts
Varun Chakrapani aka VC (Karthi), mostly referred as officer, is a fighter plane pilot. In one of the scenes, he says that he thinks God is a fighter plane pilot too; subtly hinting that he considers himself as God – supreme and in control of everything. He demonstrates that side of him more than once – when he recklessly drives a jeep across the beautiful stretch of Srinagar, when he takes off a plane across the snowcapped mountains and when he forcefully takes his love interest, Dr Leela Abraham (Aditi Rao Hydari) for an emotional ride most of the times. His friends also repeatedly confirm that he is self-obsessed and that there is space for no but him in his life. He is complex, erratic, control freak (like his father) and male chauvinistic too. On the other hand, Leela is a romantic who believes in fate and enjoys the simple joys of life like a snowfall, nature and songs. She is also bubbly and selfless. Having said that, she is opinionated, headstrong and independent who believes in equality in a relationship. These two opposites attract and needless to say, they get into an emotional mess.

Through a back and forth narrative of changing times, director Mani Ratnam has tried his best to bring such an unconventional and complex relationship on screen in the backdrop of the 1999 Kargil war.  There are some untouched and unconventional ideas too – pregnancy before marriage, dysfunctional family and its effects on children, fear of commitment, taking people and relationships for granted, etc. Hoots to the situation where Azhagiye is placed in the movie. Double thumbs-up that the director did not stress on marriage but relationship this time (finally). Needless to say, the director continues with his some of his obsessions too - mirror angles, lovelorn hero travelling in search his girl, registered marriage, Srinagar, close-up shots, tinted lenses, darkness, Malayalam, back and forth narrative, etc. Oops! This time, trains were absent! Okay, there were planes. One more thing, there are too many instances that could remind of Alaipayuthe. Couple of mirror angle scenes, scenes between Leela and Nidhi (Rukmini), a telephonic conversation between VC and Leela when Leela is in hospital, to name a few. I think Kaatru Veliyidai is a better dedication to Alaipayuthe than OK Kanmani.

Ravi Varman’s camera captures the landscapes in the most realistic way. When it snows, we as audience feel awed. When it rains, we feel like playing there. When it is windy, we feel cold. All this when it is scorching hot outside the cinemas. The camera has also tried to capture the anger as well as ruthlessness of VC and the fragile innocence as well as beauty of Leela. Needless to say, the suffocation of Rawalpindi jail in Pakistan. Editor Sreekar Prasad has presented the journey of self-love and self-search in the most intimate way possible although the movie is spanned across a wider angle. Maybe in a way, it hints that there is a lot of space in the world, but not in a relationship! AR Rahman’s background music sets the mood and elevates the narration to a musical extravaganza. Sarattu Vandiyile and Azhagiye being the best in album. Strangely, Vaan Varuvaan has some similarities to Omana Penne of Vinnaithaadi Varuvaaya

RJ Balaji’s character is similar to that of Vivek and Rukmini’s that of Swarnamalya in Alaipayuthe. Delhi Ganesh as Leela’s grandfather is cool and sweet. KPAC Lalitha is more like a cameo.

However, the best of technicians and an exceptional storyline is not backed by a compelling screenplay and good performance. The screenplay comes across as an assortment of scenes which has a right balance of signature Mani Ratnam dialogs, background and mesmerizing landscapes. But, it does not convincing explain why VC is so erratic, yet so consistent about his love for Leela. What made him fall in love with her? Why he sees Leela as his trophy girlfriend? Why did he dump his exes? VC’s characterization looks incomplete. He is not chirpy as Manohar (Mouna Raagam), love stuck as Karthik (Alaipayuthe) or even confused as Adi (OK Kanmani). As far as the performances are concerned, Karthi is delivered what was asked. But, the genuineness is missing. His face and voice modulation conveys his hard-heartedness, but in close-up shots, they lack authenticity. Aditi has tried to get her get her dialogs right. Her clothes and accessories look very good. But, she lacks that natural flair that Divya from Mouna Raagam, Shakthi in Alaipayuthe or Tara from Ok Kanmani had.

In short the movie neither evokes the patriotism that Roja did nor inflict lovey-lovey feelings that Alaipayuthe did. This is no Bombay where love story and the crux of the story was inter-woven. There is no Roja struggling in a new place to rescue her husband. There is no Divya who is trying to be herself.  

Kaatru Veliyidai sends as confusing signals as VC. As audience, there will be only one question buzzing in our heads – “Padam ok-ya? Ok-Illaya?” I am confused between “Theriyalayepa (in Naayagan style) and “Theriyaadhu. Aana I love you(Alaipayuthe style).



  1. Unfortunately, Mani's previous films have set a quality bar. It's very difficult for any artist to give his best again and again. Also, I feel, it's difficult for an artist to evolve in accordance with the tastes of the audience which is what Mani is trying so hard. I wish he was himself and makes movies that excite him - not the audience.

    Destination Infinity

  2. I can speak, read, and write Tamil very well. I always speak Tamil at home. I have no idea what “veliyidai” means. I know what “mellidai” (slim hip of a female) means. Is this something describing a beautiful female hip?

  3. Oh. 3/5 rating is so so. Thanks for the honest review.

  4. I can't rate this movie 3/5 but 2/5. Karthi's eyes and expressions are blank. Adhiti was quite good. Yes, quite...not too good. Yes, Mani didn't say exactly why Karthi ditched Girija!

    Photography is too good. Music also can be said 60%. Backgraound score is good. Everybody in the theatre came out with a restless unhappy face.