Monday, April 17, 2017

Review #505: Kadamban (Tamil, 2017)

Kadamban Movie Review

Plot:
The honey-extracting tribal folks of Kadambavanam, a village in the deep interiors of dense forests, enjoy their peaceful & humble lives with the philosophical company of their forefathers. Presence of limestone underneath earns the village some interest from unethical vultures. With multiple soft evacuation plans failing against the tribal resistance, they resort to uglier ways putting the villagers' lives into complete disarray. Can they withstand when payback time presents itself?

What's Hot?

  • The grandeur of the idea, the seemingly determined execution of it with the filming make the fact that this is only director Raghava's second outing (his first being Manjapai is another surprise!) sound unbelievable. Still a long way away but the film defintely gives us the confidence that he could make it big in Kollywood, especially in the Action genre of films
  • Arya, as the rugged and chiseled Kadamban, lives the role in a way that even inspires you to root for him and the film (at moments when things don't go so well). A lot of what he does revolves around performing stunts or chases and he is completely convincing
  • The film's cinematography (by S.R. Sathish Kumar who had also done a fine job in Peranmai) is splendid to say the least. I don't mean it only for the way it captures the beauty of the forests with aerial shots. In the action sequences, it helps you travel as fast as the ones involved in it. Special mention to the climax (with traps & elephants) that uplifts the spirit of the film unbelievably
  • For a film with very minimal dialogues, the choreography of the action sequences needs to take care of establishing the emotional moments as well & Dilip Subbarayan's work here comes out quite convincingly (A couple of ideas repeat themselves twice but that I'd put against the director)
  • The supporting cast helps create the right atmosphere & even though Cathrine Teresa's role doesn't offer anything new in the romance angle & Murugadoss' comedy doesn't click as an idea, the presence of them and others helps us see the village as one well-knit group
  • CGI work is commendable. Except for one involving Hyenas, all the sequences are believable which is the essence of any good work with graphics


What's Not?

  • The execution in terms of the way sequences & action have been shot may have been good but there is very little in terms of plot points. The villains, the little twists etc. are pedestrian & some ideas the villagers adopt to chase away their intruders are 'facepalm-worthy'
  • Yuvan Shankar Raja's songs are sub-par and play as much a role in impeding the flow of the film as the uninventive placing of the songs picturised (The dream song sequence should have gone on to the trash without a second thought, Editor Deva)
  • The focus on the livelihood of the villagers, their belief-system and instances explaining why they feel obliged to protect the forests could have taken precedence over shots exploring the romance, shots building the villains up etc. That would have made the sermon Kadamban gives at the end look less preachy

The sincerity and extravagant making of a film set completely in the forests makes up for the film's shortcomings as a story-telling device. The enjoyable action sequences with the fit-as-a-fiddle Arya at the forefront make this a bearable watch

Bumpy Forest Ride

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