Director: KV Anand
Cast: Vijay Sethupathi, T Rajhenderr
There's a very witty moment in KV Anand's Kavan (Catapult). I won't spoil it for you. I'll just say it toys with the interval moment in our cinema, the way we've come to anticipate it from events that keep building to a dramatic high.
And that's it. Nothing else is remotely interesting, unless you're a fan of the Madhur Bhandarkar brand of satire, which picks an aspect of society and brands it as evil – we're meant to tut-tut and applaud the filmmaker for opening our eyes.
The seriously overlong Kavan is about television, and all the research is up there on screen. You don't have to worry about missing any of it. The writing takes no chances. In case you did not know what "embedded journalism" is, you get the phrase, the definition, and the connection to Iraq. The film could have been titled Google.
The media portions of Kavan are laughably overblown – just wait till you see leading man Vijay Sethupathi (he plays a journo named Tilak) capture a riot on his smart phone. In what's meant to be a moving moment, the film has Tilak deliver a monologue about respecting women. No one seems to remember the "comedy" from a few scenes ago, when a plus-sized woman refers to herself as "youth," and the news editor looks her up and down and calls her "booth." Heck, Tilak himself mocks her as an "aunty."
I know what you're going to say. Don't take any of this seriously! It's not meant to be realistic! This is commercial cinema! At least they're not wasting time on a romantic track with Madonna Sebastian! Perhaps that's exactly why we should take films like Kavan seriously. Because they end up defining the mainstream and influencing the kind of movies that get made.
There's a politician who's seen snacking on a mixture. (Ahem!) He's interrogated on camera in a lengthy pre-interval segment that reminds you of Mudhalvan, and how the same material in different hands can produce wildly differing results.
I kept waiting for the T Rajhenderr appearances. He plays… Oh, it isn't important what he plays. It's what he says. This is how he bids goodbye: "Always I'm a free bird / Hereafter no word." He's the only one who sees that the earnestness around him could use some puncturing.
Watch the trailer here: