The excruciating length and the time it spends to establish characters have played against Kaattu, the new movie directed by Arun Kumar Aravind. But this film which is penned by Ananthapadhmanabhan, son of legendary film maker Padmarajan manages to utilize that length towards the end of the film in establishing characters and Arun Kumar Aravind manages to somewhat recreate the hangover of watching a Padmarajan film which usually articulates characters very deeply.
Nuhukkannu is a nerd who used to work in a Toddy shop. Chellappan, a firecracker manufacturer decided to take him along with him after having seen him suffer a lot from the Toddy shop. Chellappan, who is a womanizer by nature, has an undisclosed past. Kaattu shows us that past and the evolvement of the relation between Chellappan and Nuhukkannu.
In the semi dramatic tone of narration, Arun Kumar Aravind takes ample time to establish the relation between characters. While you almost tend to blame the film for its length there comes a scene in the film where Nuhukkannu thinks about everything Chellappan has done for him. Everything that gets minimally referenced in the narrative gets a space in the later part of the story. What I couldn’t really digest completely was the extent of misogyny. The honey queen story may have justified the attitude, but still some depictions don’t have a justification. Arun Kumar has successfully depicted dramatic sequences neatly in the past, but here he loses grip in certain scenes where the drama quotient was a bit too high.
Asif Ali deserves to be appreciated for his well controlled performance as Nuhukkannu. It was a character that could have easily gone wrong as the mental state of that character was fragile. But he carried the character very efficiently. Murali Gopy manages to portray the rough and intimidating Chellappan neatly. Unni P Dev gets a more hefty character in this movie. Varalaxmi Sarathkumar was a convincing choice as Muthulakshmi and Manasa Radhakrishnan was okay as Ummukkulsu.
Arun Kumar Aravind as a film maker has made an impression through his making style that captures the drama very effectively and intriguingly. When it comes to Kaattu, his comeback film after a three and a half year break, the focus isn’t essentially on making it a gripping tale. He is much more invested in the visual narration and establishment of relationships. Ananthapadhmanabhan’s depiction of the story has a dramatic tone which I felt at times draws the movie backwards. But he succeeds in shaping characters by the end of the film, making the characters live inside us for a while. Prasanth Raveendran’s cinematography for the film provides some really quality frames which plays a key role in mapping the landscape to the viewer’s mind. The background score from Deepak Dev is a mix of old school and contemporary music. The production design is also a quality one.
The well etched characters and the honest performances make Kaattu an indulgent watch. A slightly more realistic rendering and a less elaborate screenplay would have made it an even better film.
A slightly more realistic rendering and a less elaborate screenplay would have made Kaattu an even better film.