Kathakali – The Indian classical dance form is
known for its exuberant makeup, intensified emotions and refined body language of the performers.
This is the title chosen by Pandiraj, Vishal and team for a less intensive tale they set out to narrate. The power the title exhibits has not been exploited to the fullest by the team headed by director Pandiraj though it is the first of its kind from this master of children’s films.
Out of the many kinds of narrative techniques that can be adapted by storytellers during the process of filmmaking, Pandiraj takes advantage of two contrast techniques;
1. Letting the characters discover the line of events along with the audience – This does not involve any suspense or twist.
2. The main character hiding an element of surprise/suspense and disclosing it at the very end of the narration.
The manner in which the transition was made from the aforesaid first technique to the second is not new to our audience, but is worth mentioning as it is handled well.
Kathakali starring Vishal and Catherine Tresa in the lead easily transcends the intended message/story across. But the time taken to set-up the plot could have been shorter.
Perhaps, the plot does get heated and spiced up as it approaches the interval point. Unfortunately, the second half again takes a longer time to captivate our attention by failing to utilize the boost that the interval point provided to the story.
Vishal as usual appears in a homespun character highly bound to his family and emotions. Slight shades of his character from his previous flicks like Pandianadu and Paayum Puli might trouble the audience while they try to empathise or sympathise with his character.
Catherine Tresa sadly has nothing much to offer as the story will stand alone, even without the love track.
Supporting casts that include Karunas, Mime Gopi, Kiran and others do their part well. Nobody looks off beat while looking at the overall big picture though they don’t succeed in striking that special chord.
The story looks very current and timely as they have made use of the Chennai and Cuddalore rains as a backdrop for a particular episode.
With a decent production value and efficient work from cinematographer Balasubramaniem, Kathakali has no complaints with regard to the overall quality in presentation.
The editing could have been much precise with respect to the number insertion shots or shots giving more details (avoidable as it seems unnecessary) used. Hiphop Tamizha must start using other voices in his track as the repetitive feel of his style troubles the experience.
Kathakali can definitely be considered for a one time watch but it might fail to give you that 100% satisfaction that you may seek.
Verdict: ‘Kathakali’- Doesn’t have the expected intensity, but is a one time watch.