Director: KV Anand
Cast: Suriya, Mohanlal, Sayyeshaa, Arya, Boman Irani
1) First things first. Kaappaan, which is set predominately in New Delhi and thereabouts, doesn't even attempt to explain why everyone in the film speaks in Tamil. If the PM, played by Mohanlal, gets a Malayali surname to explain his accent, others don't even come close. From Pakistani terrorists to Kashmiri students, from a local police officer in Delhi to international businessmen, everyone speaks in Tamil. But, honestly, this isn't as jarring as it sounds. You just accept it and move on.
2) During Ko, KV Anand was still a reasonably-new director. He had many new tricks up his sleeve, and they worked extremely well. He used to be able to use red herrings very effectively, but those tricks don't work anymore. We've adjusted ourselves to look at every character and plot point with suspicion. So, when the "surprises" are thrown at us, it feels like we've already reached there.
3) Another mainstream film and another mainstream heroine who gets nothing substantial to do in it. Sayyeshaa looks pretty, she gets a couple of strange comedy scenes and, of course, songs that really make you question Kathiravan's (Suriya) sincerity in the line of duty. The other women in the film, such as Kathir's mother and the PM's wife, feel more like cardboard characters rather than real people.
4) Like some of KV Anand's films before, the problem has never been lack of writing. The issue with Kaappaan too is the over writing. There are too many things happening. From the Kashmir issue to the farmer crisis, from corporate greed to religious conflicts, the film wants to address, and also try to solve, every major problem in the country.
5) For the price of a ticket, you're also going to be getting a series of lectures. Certain dialogues in the film play out they have been taken directly from Wikipedia. In case you had bookmarked an article on hand pollination to read later, hold on. You get a nice video demonstration in Kaappaan.
6) To the film's credit, the action scenes are all pretty cool. I particularly liked the film's opening stretch that begins with Kathir blowing up a goods train. A combat scene set in a watch tower too worked quite well.
7) Suriya is sincere, to a fault. Which is why one of the things the film tries early on doesn't quite work out. We know the actor a tad too well to know he's not really going to do anything too dark.
8) Boman Irani gets an interesting character, but I don't know if it's because of his dubbing or the writing, he's hardly the actor he usually is in other movies. Mohanlal too doesn't get much to do apart from being a very likeable Prime Minister, which, of course, he manages very easily.
9) Another problem with the film is how things start feeling very repetitive. In fact, there are four to five instances where the scene setup feels similar. There's a public event, a life is in danger, and Kathir has to save the day. A few scenes later, it's the same thing all over again.
10) The film tries really hard to play out like a Frederick Forsyth novel with huge explosions and even bigger twists. But, sadly, what the film actually reminds you of are the dozens of films starring either Vijayakanth or Arjun where the hero saves the country, with loads of jingoism thrown around. Kaappaan has its moments for sure, but they are hardly enough to make it the razor sharp, fast-paced thriller it tries to be.