Director Pandiraj has assembled a battalion of known actors, led by Karthi, in his latest film Kadai Kutty Singam. It has been a long time since we last saw a family drama with a rural setting, having a noted hero in the lead.

Plot – Perunazhi Gunasingam (Karthi) is a proud young farmer. He belongs to a large joint family, with two ‘mora ponnus’ Chellamma (Priya Bhavani Shankar) and Aandaal (Arthana) vying for his attention with the intention of marrying him. When Gunasingam falls in love with a girl outside his family, Kannukiniyaal (Sayyeshaa), all hell breaks loose. The family is already quite dysfunctional and this makes things worse. How Gunasingam goes about sorting out all the tension in the family, brings them all together again and gets Kannukiniyaal forms the crux of the tale.

What Works

  • The first half an hour of the film is very lively and engaging, with all the characters being introduced, the enjoyable ‘Vaa Jikki’ song sequence and Suriya’s guest appearance. Don’t enter the cinema hall late!
  • Karthi proves to be quite the selfless performer, sharing the frame with so many other noted actors. His screen presence and performance are majestic. His emotional breakdown and dialogues in the climax felt very real. When he talks about the pride of being a farmer and the societal perception of farmers, it connects well.
  • A few sequences (particularly about farmers) are preachy, but Pandiraj shines in them, with his good intentions and thought-provoking dialogues. It’s also refreshing to see a village movie where the lead characters are affluent and tech savvy. The Tamil nativity factor is strong too.
  • Pandiraj takes on the Herculean task of managing so many noted actors and distributing the screen time and important scenes among them. Editor Ruben must’ve also faced quite a challenge in keeping the film taut, given all the baggage it carries.
  • Soori brings his tried-and-tested routines to KKS, and also gets to do the introductory voiceover. He seems to be a ‘must have’ in such rural films.
  • Imman has a good outing yet again with his melody tracks filmed on Karthi-Sayyeshaa, the peppy ‘Vaa Jikki’ intro song and the power-packed ‘Kaalai Theme’.
  • DoP Velraj’s use of traditional lamps in the ‘Thandora’ number and his aerial shots are visually pleasing.

What Doesn’t

  • The film turns highly melodramatic and emotionally manipulative in its second half. One extended stretch at a temple with the entire family in attendance is reminiscent of the mega TV soaps that are aired on Tamil GECs.
  • The film’s 80s, 90s-style treatment makes it seem like it is stuck in the past.
  • The track with the caste-obsessed villain and how he becomes an obstacle to the lead pair’s romance, is also very routine.

Final Word: Kadai Kutty Singam ought to work better with the family audiences and those from a rural background. Wish the mush had been kept in check!

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