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Kathanayagan Movie Review

An “entertainer,” starring Vishnu Vishal and Catherine Tresa, that can’t decide how exactly to entertain you

Baradwaj RanganBaradwaj Rangan

September 8, 2017 | 01:09 PM

FC Rating

★★★★★
film-companion
Kathanayagan, vishnu vishal, baradwaj rangan review, tamil film, Vishnu Vishal, Catherine Tresa, Vijay Sethupathi, Soori, Sean Rolden

Language: Tamil

Director: Tha. Muruganantham

Cast: Vishnu Vishal, Catherine Tresa, Soori

Thambidurai (Vishnu Vishal) is in love with Kanmani (Catherine Tresa). Her father is not in love with the idea of Thambidurai as a son-in-law. So Kanmani hatches a plan. When Thambidurai is alone at home, sleeping, she sneaks in and lies next to him. A wayward arm begins to make its way just south of her neck, and she catches it in time. Sensing her touch, he wakes up. He asks what she’s doing there, and she asks something in return. “Have you seen 7G Rainbow Colony?” What the couple does there, just before the closing portions, she wants to do here. Then, her father will have to consent to this marriage.

Kathanayagan, directed by Tha. Muruganantham, is full of potential running gags that aren’t allowed to… run. Everything comes and goes. Nothing sticks.

Look, I’m not judging Kanmani. If she wants to be the Tamil-film male fantasy, who’s to say no? I’m just saying be consistent. Work that in as a character trait. Make it a running gag that she keeps trying to corner Thambidurai, instead of saying she wants to be a health inspector for a salary less than the cost of one of her outfits. Kathanayangan, directed by Tha. Muruganantham, is full of potential running gags that aren’t allowed to… run. Thambidurai’s mother speaking incorrect English (“conceive” instead of “confuse”), a gangster who moves with a moving spotlight overhead, a belly dancer who seems to be on drugs, subplots with Anandaraj (as a sheikh!) and Vijay Sethupathi (as a doctor who likes boiled eggs!) -- everything comes and goes. Nothing sticks.

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Even Soori comes and goes -- and he’s the best part of the film. Let me rephrase that. He’s the least worst part of the film. I laughed mildly at his predicament in the second half, which abruptly changes tracks. The pre-interval scenes are about Thambidurai and his cowardice. Not much is funny, but at least the premise is that of a comedy. But later, we are in the realm of drama, with Thambidurai being told he has a deadly disease (it’s in the trailer, so no spoiler here), and having to rustle up a big fat dowry for his sister’s wedding. Again, I’m not judging a plot point based on a hideous practice. If this family is okay with it, what can we do?  I’m only judging the lack of coherence.

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Then again, maybe that’s a wrong word in the context of this movie. In an interview to Film Companion, Vishnu Vishal said, with refreshing candour, that he wants to be a mass star. So he does those “mass” things. He lies down on the pavement opposite what he assumes is Kanmani’s house and waits for a glimpse -- he glimpses an “aunty” instead. He fights. He gets drunk and sings. He sets eyes on Kanmani and sings. (“I think of you baby / Looking at you is my hobby.”) After the number, he gets meta. “Nice imagination but unwanted song,” he says. I beg to differ. Sean Roldan’s album, especially a wacko number that goes Tappu tippu, is the only thing about Kathanayagan that’s fun.

Watch the trailer of Kathanayagan here: