Cast: Vishal, Tamannaah, Vadivelu, Soori, Jayaprakash
Some months ago, a young man stalked a woman executive and, eventually, when she did not reciprocate his love, murdered her on a busy railway platform. Sadly, Tamil cinema continues with stories that lionize men stalking women in an attempt to woo and win them over. Writer-director Suraaj’s Vishal-starrer, Kaththi Sandai, is no different with the hero, Arjun, stalking Divya (Tamannaah), the sister of a Deputy Commissioner of Police. That Arjun’s intentions are not exactly what they seem to be and that he has an ulterior motive to get close to Divya are revealed mid-way in the movie.
But the path to this revelation is stupidly circuitous with banter and buffoonery dished out by Soori (playing a cowardly goonda, Deva) and Vadivelu turning himself into a strange-looking psychiatrist, Dr Boothri. If this was not enough to bore us to death, Kaththi Sandai draws from Special 26 (the scene about a fake CBI team raiding the top cop’s house to find crores of rupees) and Manjhi -- The Mountain Man (a village whose nearest hospital is miles away).
In the end, the film seems like a canvas of confusing images and ideas. There is romance between a still wooden Tamannaah and a rather stiff Vishal (where is the chemistry, please?) with the heroine sporting skimpy costumes in dances that border on the vulgar. There is the plot of corruption in high places -- policemen and legislators hand-in-glove in looting huge sums of money meant for the development of a hamlet. And then there is Robin Hood out to retrieve that booty, but this Robin Hood also has superhuman strength to get beaten to pulp, only to emerge unscathed moments later to take on dozens of baddies in battles where bullets buzz and knives knock out lives.
If this is the kind of cinema that producers feel will attract footfalls, they may well be mistaken. For, I saw about a dozen people, lots of college kids included, walk out of the movie expressing disgust. Maybe, it is time for a rethink. For, the ticket-paying public may not be in a mood to take anything that is handed over, least of all a corny cocktail of bullets, bloodshed and buffoonery.