Cast: Vikram, Akshara Haasan, Abi Hassan
Director: Rajesh M Selva
Back in the 90’s, much of the action in an action movie would revolve around losing, locating and then protecting a CD-ROM that contains some explosive information. In the decades that have passed since, we’ve evolved to a period of digital currency, electric cars and some insane food-delivery apps. We’ve also ejected our CDs to move on to cloud storage and pen drives. So if we were to set a generic action movie in today’s day and age, all we need to do is find-and-replace the aforementioned CD from the screenplay with a pen drive and we’d have a cool, hip thriller that’s Netflix ready right? Well Rajesh M Selva, the director of Kadaram Kondan, seems to believe so. Because there’s not a lot going on in this film to suggest that we’re watching something that’s cutting edge.
Expect for maybe Vikram’s über cool hipster look. A cigar-smoking, leather jacket-wearing assassin/double agent, Vikram’s KK looks like a tattoo artiste who prefers almond milk in his breakfast cereal. He hardly speaks in the film and when he does, he sounds like a distant cousin to Christian Bale who’s forgotten that he isn’t Batman anymore. But the film opens promisingly. We first see a wounded KK in Kuala Lumpur being chased out of the Petronas Towers (name one Indian movie that’s set in KL that doesn’t show the skyscrapers). Just when they’re about to catch up to KK, a bike crashes onto him and he’s taken to the hospital.
This is where we meet Vasu (Abi Hassan), a young doctor whose job it is to take care of this unidentified hipster. New to the country, Vasu also needs to take care of his extremely pregnant wife Athira (Akshara Haasan). But when the bad guys kidnap Athira, Vasu is forced to take KK out to safety so he can get back with her. This is where the film could have evolved to become a buddy movie where the two strike up an unlikely friendship. But the thing is, there’s hardly any chemistry between KK and Vasu to create the emotional chords this film is desperately in need of. Vasu, even in the most juiciest of moments, looks at best like KK’s intern, always too cautious and fearful to really engage with him. It’s the same lack of chemistry when we witness his relationship with his wife. Yes, we get a song and some generic pleasantness but nothing more to get us to really worry for their unborn child, which is, given the film’s genre, a ticking time bomb.
But even if we’re willing to overlook the need for emotions to hold together such a movie, shouldn’t we be treated to some kickass action? This is where the film really disappoints, because the director’s earlier Thoongavan had some great ass-kicking fun. For all the wait in the first half for the film’s big action set pieces to kick in, we get almost zero payoff. There’s a half-decent chase in there somewhere and a combat in KK’s lair that should have been a lot more bone crunching fun. The only real action scene that seems to work is the one involving Athira, when she fights off a short-haired policewoman in a small dingy police station bathroom.
Even obviously thrilling scenes are under-explored. Like the stretch where KK and Vasu, by this time the most wanted men in KL, try to sneak into the police headquarters to retrieve that all important pen drive. Every step here should have gotten us to jump out of our seats in excitement but not in the way it’s shown the film. I’ve seen couples finding it harder to make their way into semozhi poonga.
With a convoluted plot about corrupt police officers and a colourful gangster too happening on the side, we see the dots but it’s always a challenge a connect them. They should perhaps have chosen a better film to remake. A better set supporting actors would have helped too. Or maybe they should have worked on the screenplay as much they’d worked on Vikram’s looks. Also, Vikram has always been an A+ actor, right? But why does he keep getting a C- when it comes to selecting films?