Kolai Review | A Terribly Written Thriller With an Overdose of Green-Screen CGI

Every time Vinayak, the character played by Vijay Antony in Balaji K Kumar’s crime thriller Kolai, starts to explain the psychology behind the killer or the reason for a particular move he made, I couldn’t resist the giggle as both his performance and the writing reminded me of the Tamizh Padam spoof movies featuring Shiva. Crowded with pathetic green-screen CGI backgrounds, this seemingly rejected direct-to-OTT film (assuming from the aspect ratio) tests your patience from the word go.

The murder of a singer-turned-model, Leila, is the central theme of Kolai. Officer Sandhya Mohanraj is in charge of the investigation. When her superiors started to intervene in the investigation, her mentor Vinayak decided to assist her in solving her first major case. How Vinayak, who was going through a personal tragedy, manages to help Sandhya in solving the mystery behind Leila’s death is what we see in Kolai.

In a few of my other reviews, I have mentioned how some filmmakers, in their efforts to make the procedures understandable for viewers, create characters that look like idiots on screen. When Sandhya is questioning the witnesses, or Vinayak is giving her guidance in the most layman’s way possible, I wondered what the hell she was doing in the police academy and how she was even selected for the job. And there is this urge inside Balaji K Kumar to insert all the cool theories he learned during the research for the content in the lines uttered by the hero. The second half of the movie is the area where something significant is happening, and sadly that too felt highly generic and bland.

As I already said, Vijay Antony’s portrayal of Vinayak is kind of funny as he tries to act like Mammootty from the CBI series and reaches nowhere near that. Poor Ritika Singh is playing a dumb police officer who rarely makes any move on her own. Meenakshi Chaudhary, as Leila, looks stunning, and that’s all that the movie demanded from her. God knows the significance of the characters Raadhika Sarathkumar and Murli Sharma played in the film. John Vijay’s character and performance look really horrible on screen. Kishore, who played the role of Babloo, was the only guy who managed to elevate the writing through his performance.

It seems like Balaji K Kumar has this desperation to show off the craft in his making style. The cinematography uses neon lights in one single frame to distinguish between the past and present. While that choice made sense, I didn’t understand the logic of certain Dutch angle shots that had nothing significant happening. The investigating officer having a personal tragedy and the investigation helping him get closure to that trauma is a prevalent thriller trait. But here, those tracks have nothing in common, and how this movie ends by forcefully clubbing those two tracks looks bizarre. The CGI backgrounds are really terrible and almost reminded me of the Sujoy Ghosh segment in Lust Stories 2.

If you consider laughing at the movie as a way of big-screen entertainment, then I would say Kolai starring Vijay Antony, is one such film. There is a hallucination scene in the movie where Vinayak, in the present, is asking his daughter, who is in the past, to not get into the car. Watching that cheap recreation of the iconic Interstellar moment in the same week Christopher Nolan released his most ambitious film is nothing short of painful.

Final Thoughts

If you consider laughing at the movie as a way of big-screen entertainment, then I would say Kolai starring Vijay Antony, is one such film.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.