Friday, April 07, 2017

Katru Veliyidai - The unusual Maniratnam man

This is a fairly decent movie. Certain interactions between the Karthi and Aditi - when the former behaves like a dick and the latter like a squirming worm - made you cringe on your seat and made you want to look away. These are powerfully well thought out and well written moments. Very subtle but the tension is like an elephant in the room head butts you. But they come with severe distractions. The jarring close-ups on Karthi was a strange vehicle. I understand that close-ups are used as some mood inducing vehicles by cinematographers. However, showing Karthi almost exclusively in close-ups  was just too much of 'why dont you step back from the camera dude' for me. I say this because a big part of the movie runs on his ability to charm and mysteriously smile his way into Aditi's heart and ours. The chemistry that makes us feel for them seems absent. Mostly because the love seems baseless and rushed. On either direction, it was hard for me to see why a person of that mind-set would pursue the other person so mindlessly. One can say "that is love" but somehow i feel it isn't.

The entire crux of the movie is the surprise on seeing a new Manirathnam man. The Maniratnam man is usually a highly virtuous, likeable, principled and forceful personality. People like Baradwaj Rangan exagerrate that all Maniratnam men are neither black nor white but superbly grey. I don't necessarily agree. From a perception point of view, they are always likeable. They are the people's man. And the law cant be a basis for grey if your men are always likeable.  This movie was different because the hero came off as genuinely unlikeable. I simply loved that subtlety. The heroine came off as a confused person and very unlike Maniratnam's girls who are usually independent, decisive and never abused. Here she is the opposite. Which was also interesting even if a little bit anachronistic. I wish the suffering of his journey was brough out better. He looked as smug and as much of a jerk as a POW as he looked in his airforce base. It was hard to believe he had changed his attitude by the end of the movie.

Overall this is not as bad as Kadal or Ravanan (his worst) and not in the class of Iruvar (his best). It rests firmly as his 50th percentile movie. It is a reverse portrayal of GVM's Nee Dhaan En Pon Vasantham but much less boring. The pretentiousness of "oh! we sleep together before marriage, have babies before marriage, family drinks saarayam, we are so cool" was weighing down on me. Those show pieces of fake rebellion could've been avoided. But I am coming to terms with the new Maniratnam. One of us has changed. I don't know if its me or him. But the relationship with my boyhood adulation has changed in the last 15 years.