In the mood for an action/dance flick that doesn't require much brainpower? Then Kathavaraayan, the Tamil film directed by newbie director Salangai Durai, is just for you.
This Silver Jubilee Films' venture has a number of scenes that will keep you glued to the screen. For example, the first few scenes where Kathavaraayan (Karan), a local liquor merchant samples his own preparation, sarayam, all the while arguing that the brew has excellent medicinal properties, is interesting.
The story is simple. Kathavaraayan's business is threatened by two people; the town's bigwig (Kadhal Dandhapani), who has his own business to run, and Malathi, a young, perfectly made-up social worker (newcomer Vidhisha), who is in the village as part of her college's National Service Scheme (NSS) camp.
In between hops in Vadivelu, the eternal comedian, who provides a few laughs as the hapless moneylender.
In a series of fairly refreshing incidents, the heroine and hero swiftly develop a dislike for each other, and Malathi achieves her objective: sending Kathavaraayan to prison. The man vows to get his revenge, while Malathi herself is in for a fate worse than death. Bent on cleansing the world of substance abuse, she next targets a drug-peddling gang.
If you think you can guess what happens when Kathavaraayan reappears on the scene, you're in for a surprise. Kathavaraayan is inordinately happy that Malathi's fate hangs in the balance. Not your typical hero, you think. And then the tables turn, in filmi fashion, leading to lots of maniacal fights and a dozen fight sequences.
Back after a hiatus, Karan is quite a delight to watch, even if his accent is terrible. He struts around half-clad, eyes people in a questioning fashion and altogether, enjoys his role so much that you can't help but enjoy it with him.
His heroine Vidhisha, on the other hand, has nothing to write home about. Obviously new to the acting scene, she's slathered on too much greasepaint to really act. A pity, considering that the script actually gives her some scope.
Salangai Durai's screenplay tries valiantly to be different, and has achieved some success despite the regulation, and tedious song-and-dance routines. The portrayal of a blatantly unapologetic hero comes as a refreshing break, and Karan certainly has the face and body that makes full use of the commercial aspects. The latter half of the film, though, descends too much into farce, reminding you of a late eighties movie.
That said, Kathavaraayan stands a good chance of winning among the undiscerning masses.