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Rediff.com  » Movies » Vijay of yore is back as Kaavalan

Vijay of yore is back as Kaavalan

January 15, 2011 17:43 IST
First off, Ilaya Thalapathi Vijay deserves kudos for shedding his action/political persona and digging his toes in and choosing a script that focuses on comedy and emotions. And having gone through endless trouble, legal and otherwise, expectations about the film have risen sky-high. Ekaveera Creations' Tamil film Kavalan (Bodyguard), a remake of the Malayalam hit Bodyguard, directed by Siddique himself, has certain changes incorporated in the script for the star himself but that's only to be expected. This isn't to say that the film is completely devoid of minuses, but the beginning, at least, kicks off in intriguing fashion.

Instead of the usual fireworks induced sparkling title credits, the introduction is pretty low-key, despite the boxing-match beginning. In yet another surprise, the hero, Bhoominathan (Vijay), so named by Muthuramalingam (Raj Kiran), at his birth, and blessed by him to be the very epitome of non-violence, even takes a few punches on the chin. Of course, he also gives back as good as he gets. That's because Bhoominathan, or Bhoomi, as he's called affectionately, would like nothing more than to solve everyone's problems with a healthy dose of violence.

That's the cue for his family to send him to Semmanur, to take a course in passiveness, by making him Muthuramalingam's bodyguard. Exactly how being someone's bodyguard would lead to a gentle life is anyone's guess, but Bhoomi makes the journey anyway, unaware of his family's intentions.

From hereon, the film changes tone almost entirely. Barring one or two random sequences where Bhoomi saves his mentor's life, and thereby incurs his wife, Devika's (Roja) wrath, there's precious little of action here. He does however, run into the very pretty and fully-made up Meera, Muthaiyya's daughter (Asin, in Tamil after a long break) and mistakes her for a factory worker and believes her friend Madhu to be the real daughter of the house.

Much hilarity ensues, as Amavaasai (Vadivelu) joins the fray, and adds plenty of applause to the proceedings.

Bhoomi now becomes Meera's bodyguard, as she goes to college at the VIT and seems to study English Literature, a course which Bhoomi joins as well (!). A good many amusing sequences follow, as Bhoomi dons a ridiculous uniform, shades and tries to perform his duty to his utmost. Meera resents his presence and tries to get rid of him by proposing various silly ideas, including getting him to fall in love.

No one bites, and she decides to do the deed herself, posing as an anonymous caller, gets him to like her and naturally falls in love with him.

It says a great deal for Vijay's commanding screen presence, comic timing and spontaneity that he can take logic-less scenes and make them completely his own. In this case, he has also discovered the ability to laugh at himself; a good many goof-ups are at his own expense and he makes the best of them. Thankfully, all the political punch-dialogues and messages to friends and foes have been cut out.

After a long time, you get to see the softer, romantic Vijay who made movies like Kadhalukku Mariyadhai, Love Today and Khushi such a rage among the masses. His body language and mannerisms are subdued and he's tried to act, after quite a while. As usual, he showcases his dancing skills with Step it Up, while Yaaradhu has been picturized heart-warmingly.

Asin looks her usual pretty self, but she's too well-made up and there's a haggard look in her eyes that's hard to miss. She has a few moments to act as well, and does her best, but isn't very convincing.

Raj Kiran and Roja are complete wash-outs. Vadivelu, as usual, sets the audience hooting with laughter whenever he arrives. M S Bhaskar has been wasted.

It's obvious that the Tamil version has been altered to suit Vijay's image. So, many sequences hang loose without proper resolution, characters speak without continuity and some segments make no sense whatsoever. The first half races along, while the second half loses pace, before wrapping up things in a hurry.

Vidyasagar's tunes are largely foot-tapping, while N K Ekgambaram's camera-work is appealing. This is a pretty colourful movie, while Nalini Sriram's costumes add some pep. K R Gowri Shankar's editing could have been put to better use; several scenes are disjointed. Guruvaran's dialogues are a bit repetitive, and could have done with a good dose of maturity.

It's Vijay, aided sometimes by Vadivelu, who knits together the rather lackluster screenplay and keeps the laughs coming. For a nostalgic return to the Vijay of old, comic interludes and lack of double-edged dialogues and future plans, Kavalan works.

Rediff Rating

 

Pavithra Srinivasan