CAST AND CREW
Production: Anand Ponniraivan, Iraivan Films
Cast: Gaugin, J Vadivel, Jishnu, K, Lakshmi Priyaa, Narein, Singampuli, Sriirama Santosh
Direction: J Vadivel
Screenplay: J Vadivel
Story: J Vadivel
Background score: K
Cinematography: Sriirama Santosh
Art direction: Bala
Lyrics: Mani Amudhan
The title makes you wonder if this is some kind of spoof. But as the film reels out, you realize the aptness of it. There could not have been a better fitting title.
Kallappadam is interesting and enjoys the unique distinction of a real time director (Vadivel), cinematographer (Srirama Santosh), editor (Gaugin) and music director (K) reprising their off screen roles on screen too.
The film’s premise is not new. It is about the struggle of an aspiring director wanting to make a meaningful debut film, the subject of which is very dear to him but he has ceaselessly been turned down by producers for its lack of financial viability.
With him are his friends who themselves are trying to make it big as editor, cinematographer and music director in the tinsel town. How do they go about their travel and the paths they choose form the storyline of Kallappadam.
“Means don’t matter but ends do” seems to be the motto of Vadivel in the film when he says no one cares how you rang in success but your triumph alone would be the talking point. There could be some disagreement on this if you are a purist but Vadivel does bring in a poetic justice to his story at the right place.
The film does take its time to find its pace but once it grasps the note, it takes on a fast mode. The suspense combined with humor sprint the film forward. Added to that, K’s BGM renders the right kind of mood to Kallappadam. Mysskin writing and singing the number Vellakkara Rani has the retro zing feel to its entire conceptualization and execution.
There is a very nice tribute to the already vanished art form Koothu which incidentally has been finely woven into the main story line without sticking out like a sore thumb.
It is after quite a long time that we get to see veteran comedian Senthil making a meaningful cameo in Kallappadam. Singam Puli as Singam Puli is a kind of sounding board to the foursome who uses the senior to their benefit.
Vadivel brings out the plight of producers through Naren when he says “Nee ellam padam panni award vaangiduvae, naan ennatha panna” in exasperation. Refreshingly, there is no love track but a single woman character in the form of Lakshmi Priya who is there in the film not because of the color and verve that the gender brings in but because the story ‘actually’ needs her.
Even though the film is about the travails and frustrations of people wanting to get a foothold in the dream factory, there is a lot of positivity in it that makes you exit the hall with a smiling face.
When you view the film through a hand lens with huge magnification, you might find the performances amateur and a few such quibbles in the storyline. That said the film is after all about amateurs but a sincere one at that and hence such niggles can be brushed off.
In all Kallappadam may not be your slick, stylish, rich, glossy film with powerful star cast but a genuine one that would appeal to you for its simplicity, earnestness and unpretentiousness.
In a way, as Vadivel signs off his product, it is a tribute to all those sincere producers who are on the anvil to give life to those numerous aspiring directors.
Verdict: Kallappadam is simple and earnest. Give it a watch.