I watched Kavan last night and I woke up this morning trying to recall scenes so that I can write something about Kavan. I am still clueless of what the movie was suppose to do to the audience and for the audience. Kavan isn't a film, it is that party that forces you to go back home as early as possible. It was neither amusingly entertaining nor enchantingly engaging. It was neither rib-tickingly funny nor significantly serious. The one liner of the film as intended to be as a TV reporter rebels against the dishonest practices of his channel’s head and tries to get justice for a couple of youngsters who are fighting against a chemical plant.
But the most disturbingly brutal part of the film is the hero's wig. I rather summarise the film as a battle between wigs and Tamil cinema actors and actresses. Who has been giving them all these wise advice that a wig gives a different look and that a wig magically makes someone younger or older? Tamil films are tax free if they have a Tamil title and a U certificate from the Censor Board. From today onwards, please add one more condition- no wigs to be spotted in any of the scenes in a Tamil film. We have successfully progressed from the cosemtic modification of heroes adorning fake moles, in the 1960s and 1970s- let’s not get trapped there again.
“Ambalaina sabalam padathaan seivaan.” (It is natural for man to feel differently when he is with a woman) was what Vijay Sethupathi, hero of the film, utters to Madonna during their break-up scene. So, we have a hero who casually, without any remorse, says this punchline. Yet, in the film, we see him fighting and protesting for a woman who was sexually assaulted. If that line is meant to be a joke and not to be taken seriously, then it is unfortunate that it wasn’t funny. If that line is to be argued as the reality, then why are we endorsing such sick behaviour?
The villan, the boss of Zen TV channel, requests the evil politician to meet for brunch. The drunkard politician answers “yen bench mela pesanum?” One of the many soul-deadening jokes in the film. Tick. Unwisely, the trio gang scriptwriter and dialogue write forget to make it either funny or compelling. Then, we have more of kalakka povathu yaaru type of mimicry comedies attempted by TR. There was a moment of joy to see TR in a film after decades. However, it turned out to be painfully frustrating after a while, to see him shout, rhyme words at the most inappropriate instances and watch him losing such precious screen space and time where he could have scored better if more effort was put in sensible acting. All these gimmicks only adds to the movie’s pervading feeling of staleness.
Director KV Anand, in his recent interview, shared that he reads 5 newspapers everyday. It was evident in Kavan. There were too many messages to the society and attempts in trying to mock every reality TV show which sadly ended up in very disjointed manner, leaving the plot stuttering forward incoherently without tension. Rather than creating intrigue about how the different incidents fit together, alternating between various incidents strands confounds and frustrates. It’s difficult to keep track of where the characters are on the emotional scale and therefore empathy towards any of the characters dissipates.
Other than reading 5 newspapers everyday, the director (who was the cameraman of Mudhalvan) would have watched that Mudhalvan arjun-raguvaran interview scene atleast 5 times a day. There was a similar scene between Vijay Sethupathi(VS) and the politician in Kavan. This kind of film-making warns us that the same scene handled by different directors yield unexpected and unforgiving results. This is like taking on an unwanted challenge to prove to your mum that you are a better cook than her by making her signature chicken curry dish with secret ingredients that she has mastered for years. If you try it, all you get are chicken pieces floating like unattended life jackets in a bowl of masala water.
It has become prevalent these days that google definitions are merely crafted as dialogues in Tamil films these days. In one scene, VS unashamedly spits out the definition of journalism and that isn’t going to impact the audience in any way. Why do we have to spend money to watch films where the hero is going to lecture us with google search defintion? Definitions may work if there were an emotional connect, like the scene from Kizhakku Cheemaiyile when Vijaykumar tells Napoleon at the panchayat about what it means to be a maternal uncle. That lengthy scene. That defintion. That works wonders. That is why we spend our money to watch films.
Kavan- its splintered storytelling and the lack of flow from scene to scene, have made this catapult a faulty one.