Kaathuvaakula Rendu Kaadhal Is Breezy But A Criminal Waste Of Potential, Film Companion

I suspect writer-director Vignesh Shivan thinks of his movies in terms of shots rather than story. He wants a frame with the film’s three lead actors hugging in the rain, a shot of both his heroines in bridal wear walking down the aisle together and, apparently, a re-imagination of the iconic Titanic scene but with one man and two women. The rest of the plot, if you can call it that, is purely incidental, designed to allow for these moments.

Kaathuvaakula Rendu Kaadhal is the story of Rambo (Ranjankudi Anbarasan Murugesa Bhupati Oohoindharan, to be more specific), played by Vijay Sethupathi. He leads a jinxed life as a cab driver by day, a pub employee by night, and a goonda leader when convenient. Nothing, it seems, will go Rambo’s way, until the tables turn one Ganesh Chathurthi. He meets two beautiful women, Kanmani (Nayanthara) and Khatija (Samantha) on the same day and falls in love with both of them. They too, fall ‘crazily’ for him. Who will Rambo choose ultimately? Kanmani? Khatija? (or crazily) Katrina?

The best thing about KRK is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s full of laughs, cheers, hoots, and riddled with moments of ‘fan service’. The promotions didn’t promise anything more, and the film, for the most part, holds up.

In Vignesh Shivan’s world, an elusive chocobar becomes a recurring symbol, dosa-making is an olive branch of peace and a badam and pista become euphemisms. There are a few fresh, original moments – an “India tour” sequence with Kanmani, for instance, and sparks of friendship, sisterhood even, between the two women. Technically too, there are interesting touches. Even when Kanmani and Rambo are dizzyingly circumambulating the same tree, the camera remains steady. With the more turbulent Khatija though, the camera revolves shakily, even when the leads are simply walking.

However, even with logic and good sense completely suspended, KRK is insanely random. Kanmani is Bengali, we are told. Why? Does she wear Bengali clothes? Does she eat Bengali food? Does Calcutta even feature in her India tour? No, no and no. Had they made Samantha’s Khatija Bengali, that would have at least justified her awkward Tamil. The film is full of such disconnected flashes. Khatija is an aspiring singer-songwriter who doesn’t once do the aforementioned singing or songwriting. A Down syndrome-affected child appears and is forgotten and there’s a suicide sequence which is resolved all too quickly. You would think that the protagonist contemplating killing himself would be of some consequence to the story. Apparently not.

For a good portion of the film, you are ready to overlook these hiccups. In spite of only a two-hour runtime, KRK feels a lot longer than it is. Through the second half, the film begins to feel like a drag, and you can feel the energy in the theatre dissipate. That’s when you begin to notice the poor dubbing job, the awkward silences in between dialogues and the general lack of logic in it all.

Also Read: 15 Tamil Films That Dealt With Love Triangles Before Kaathu Vaakula Rendu Kadhal

Vijay Sethupathi, Nayanthara and Samantha all deliver what is expected of them. Much like the film, they’re easy, breezy and never particularly remarkable. Composer Anirudh Ravichander, too, understands the assignment.

To their credit, Shivan’s writing and Sethupathi’s performance tread the thin line of making the audience understand Rambo’s choices, while not justifying them. Deprived of love all his life, when it comes knocking at two doors, he cannot help but open them both. He’s in the wrong, but there’s an innocence to him. The film has a well-rounded climax with the women taking the final call. Rambo makes an essential point: the end of a relationship does not negate the experiences that precede it.

As KRK ends, you walk out of the theatre with a shrug and a meek smile, at best. Given the talent on screen, it is frustrating to see the scope this film failed to achieve, even within the mass-masala space it was aiming for. When Hindi cinema brought two of its biggest heroines together, Bajirao Mastani was born. This is Kollywood’s answer to that, I guess.

Disclaimer: This article has not been written by Film Companion’s editorial team.

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