Director: K V Anand
Cast: Vijay Sethupathi, Madonna Sebastian, T Rajender, Bose Venkat, Aakashdeep Saighal
One of the biggest pitfalls of Tamil cinema is its craze to offer a cocktail of crazy moments, and KV Anand’s Kavan, starring Vijay Sethupathi, fumbles and falls precisely because of this. The film, written also by a cocktail of three people, Anand, Kabilan Vairamuthu and Subha, throws up some of the most disturbing aspects of our lives today. These include pesticide poisoning, ruthlessly unethical media practices to up patronage and police follies.
As the movie began to roll, I was almost sure that I was about to watch another Erin Brockovich, where Julia Roberts’ character fights a huge company that is polluting groundwater, leading to cancer among the region’s residents. Kavan also starts on that same note, of a large industrial firm, owned by Dheeran Maniarasu (Bose Venkat), a politician guilty of committing a cocktail of crimes, like murder, rape and causing communal tension. And he is aided and abetted in his nefarious industrial activity by a television company, Zen TV. Its chairman, Kalyan (Aakashdeep Saighal). Tramples on every page in journalistic ethics to pamper and pander to sensationalist news, often fabricated, only to get his TRP ratings flying.
It is into this den that Tilak (Vijay Sethupathi) walks, wins over Kalyan and gets down to work, with all the passion of a fresher, to produce results through truth, sincerity and ethics. But he soon finds himself hitting a hard wall when Zen TV invites Maniarasu for an interview, and Tilak is given a script or set of questions and told to follow it to the T. But the journalist in him feels insulted at having to do a PR exercise with a politician-industrialist who is nothing but a hardcore goonda.
It is pretty clear from this point how Kavan will run for the rest of its 159 minutes. Unfortunately, the writers and the helmer completely lose track of the original sin (pesticide poisoning), so to say, and wander into issues like molestation and dog-eat-dog rivalry between two television channels, one of which is run by Thirunavukkarasu (T Rajinder). He hires Tilak – who soon takes on the role of a social crusader.
Obviously, the film loses focus and effect. Adding to this chaos – where we see television companies turning into battlegrounds – are dream sequences (with Tilak imagining his intimacy with Malar, played by Madonna Sebastian), dance numbers and downright awful music.
The one interesting redemption is of course Sethupathi, who manages to stay afloat with a performance that is wonderfully understated, his biggest plus point and that of the movie as well. However, he certainly needs to improve his dialogue delivery, which is sometimes garbled. I know the great Hollywood actor, Marlon Brando, mumbled his way through to stardom and stars. Who knows, Mr Sethupathi might well achieve that too.
And I am giving that one extra star for the hero of Kavan.
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