CAST AND CREW
Production: CHAKRAVARTHY FILMS INTERNATIONAL
Cast: Samskruthi, Samuthirakani, Thambi Ramaiah , Vidharth
Direction: Stalin Ramalingam
Screenplay: Stalin Ramalingam
Story: Stalin Ramalingam
At a time when the same old beaten to death themes invade the screens week after week, here is Kaadu directed by debutant Stalin Ramalingam that stands out for its earnest concern for our dwindling natural resources especially forests and for recording the plight of people who are dependent on the woodlands.
In a way ‘Live and Let Live’ is emphasized in Kaadu and Stalin clearly says that if we are not going to take care of our forests and continue to ravage it, Nature would hit us with such power that humankind would not be able to withstand its onslaught.
When a theme such as deforestation is the basic premise of a film, it is bound to raise apprehensions about its engaging and entertainment quotient. While Kaadu scores fairly well on the engrossing factor, it is not so in the entertainment department. That said, if Stalin had leaned a little on the other side to bring in the commercial elements to keep his audience amused, the film would have lost its spunk.
Velu (Vidharth), an illiterate makes his living through selling fire wood in his picturesque village. Fellow villager Karna’s (Muthukumar) ambition is to become a forest guard but is unable to realize his dreams due to paucity of funds. On the other side, there is government trying to safeguard the forests by driving away people who inhabit the woods.
In the middle, there are people who ravage the forests by smuggling sandalwood and other prized trees. In the cross fire between the government and smugglers are the gullible villagers who are exploited by both the parties. Kaadu records all these in a very sincere manner.
Kaadu can easily win brownie points for being a very socially responsible film and the viewer’s hat should definitely be tipped in favor of Stalin. The topic should have been very dear to the young director to have the conviction to make a film sans any star power or compromising factors.
Sharp powerful dialogues add to the plus of the film. The arrival of Samuthirakani revs up the proceedings. Stalin uses Samuthirakani to mouth the Argentine Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara’s principles and a lot of awakening ideologies.
However Samuthirakani’s character appears to be forced just to utter the leftist dogmas. His character is not clearly explained and his entire jail segment, although powerful, do not fall in line with the rest of the story. In fact, Stalin stutters a little in the second half when he brings in a few incohesive events and characters.
The way the forest officials handle an innocent man is quite shocking and ruthless. The romance portions could have been avoided as they don’t serve any purpose to the film. Singam Puli’s comedy tracks generate a faint déjà vu of Soori’s Parotta episode and are just about passable.
Besides Vidharth and Samuthirakani, there is heroine Sanskruthi who does not have much to do. Naren, Thambi Ramaiah, Poo Ram, R N R Manohar and Singam Puli round out the supporting cast. K’s BGM is noticeable, while Mahendran Jayaraju’s camera work dazzles especially in a few forest and night shots. Rajasekar’s stunts are effectively choreographed.
To sum it all, Stalin’s Kaadu is made with a lot of purpose and one that is very relevant in today’s times. The film will work for people who are open to non-entertainment projects but done with a lot of sincerity.
Verdict: A socially responsible film done with earnest concern