Once in a blue moon one gets to see upcoming directors with a different vision who become trendsetters and also succeed at the box office. Tamil Cinema can be dated based on these directors’ path breaking movies, which have attracted recognition worldwide. K.S. Ravikumar, Vikraman, Ezhil, Dharani, S.J. Suryah, Vijay, Bala, Sasikumar, Samutrakani, Ameer and Pandiraj belong to this group who changed the face of Tamil Cinema.
Vetrimaaran made Polladhavan and Aadukalam, commercial movies with international standards. Balaji Shakthivel gave a new dimension to love stories with Kadhal, Kalloori and Vazhakku En 18/9. Arivazhagan gave a visually stunning thriller Eeram for Shankar’s S Pictures. Vasantha Balan’s Veyyil, Angadi Theru and Aravaan are also noteworthy. Capital Film Works from S.P. Charan introduced visionary directors to Tamil Cinema. Director Venkat Prabhu changed the way Tamil movies were made with Chennai 600028. Though audiences found the candid screenplay pattern different from regular commercial masala cinema, they appreciated the work and made it a grand success. The critics supported the innovative script and direction. Aaranya Kaandam by Thiagarajan Kumararaja was compared to Quentin Tarantino’s movies. C.S. Amudhan, introduced to Tamil Cinema by Sashikanth, enjoyed mass recognition with the support of Cloud Nine Dhayanidhi Azhagiri’s marketing strategy for his spoof Tamil Padam. With Oram Po and Quarter Cutting, Pushkar and Gayathri made visually stunning movies and took slapstick comedy to the next level.
Naalaiya Iyakkunar produced by a popular TV channel made way for young talented new age directors to showcase their work, mostly short films which also generated interest among producers, including C.V. Kumar. Under his banner Thirukumaran Entertainment, he gave the widely appreciated box office successes Attakathi and Pizza.
Along with Studio Green Gnanavel Raja, C.V. Kumar’s latest production is Soodhu Kavvum written and directed by Nalan Kumarasamy starring Vijay Sethupathi, Sanchita Shetty, Karunakaran, Simha, Ramesh, Ashok Selvan, Yog Japee, Aruldoss, M.S. Baskar, Radha Ravi and Gaana Bala. Dinesh Krishnan handles the cinematography, editing is by Leo John Paul and music by Santhosh Narayanan of Attakathi and Pizza fame.
Soodhu Kavvum is about Das (Vijay Sethupathi), his non-existent girlfriend Shaalu (Sanchitha Shetty) and his team of kidnappers Pagalavan (Simha), Sekhar (Ramesh) and Kesavan (Ashok Selvan). They plan to settle in life by accepting a proposal by Nambikkai Kannan (Sivakumar) to kidnap an honest and ethical minister Gnanodhayam’s (M.S. Bhaskar) crooked son Arumaiprakasam (Karunakaran). The kidnap plan goes awry when the minister hires police officer Bramma (Yog Japee of Billa fame) to bring his son back. But the twist in the screenplay happens when Arumaiprakasam has other plans and escapes with the ransom money. The rest of the story is about how Das and his men save themselves from Bramma’s gun with the help of a local goon Das’s brother (Vijaymuthu) and get their share of the loot from the minister’s son.
Nalan Kumarasamy succeeds in providing a wholesome interesting entertainer on screen with Soodhu Kavvum which promises to be a fun ride and does deliver. Vijay Sethupathi as Das, a smuggler who does things his own way, enjoys a hat-trick victory with Soodhu Kavvum. He is convincing as a middle-aged man who aspires to settle in life by committing crimes in a manner based on his own rules. As a mentor, he trains the unemployed youngsters on kidnapping – a hilarious scene! He excels throughout the movie with perfect dialogue delivery and modulation, proving to be a versatile actor who can perform effectively in any given role: in Sundarapandian, Pizza, Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom or here. Vijay Sethupathi is here to stay and will remain an inspiration to aspiring actors.
Soodhu Kaavum has a perfect cast with excellent characterization by the director. Each remains in your mind even after you leave the cinema hall. Sanchitha Shetty is glamorous and adequate for the role of the imaginary girlfriend. When a character asks Das how to find a Barbie doll type dream girl, while eyeing Sanchitha with her skimpy and sexy outfits (yep! it’s not vulgar or offensive!), you might agree that she can attract any man’s interest. Simha, Ashok Selvan and Ramesh are promising. Karunakaran is funny and entertains. Two actors other than these young rising stars who stand out are Radha Ravi as the chief minister and M.S. Baskar. With all the scams and corruption flooding the media, you only can accept the chief minister’s pun-loaded decision towards the end which seems practical considering the politics of today. Yog Japee is menacing as the mad cop who seldom utters a word, supported by his sidekick constable (Venkatesh) who does all the talking.
Technically, Soodhu Kavvum is path-breaking. The narration style is engaging with tremendous support from the cinematography, editing and music departments. The performances by all actors makes the script enjoyable. Music by Santhosh Narayanan is innovation at its best. ‘Kaasu Panam Thuttu Money Money’, ‘Come Na Come’ and ‘Maama Touser’ are sure hits and have also been choreographed in interesting fashion. Special applause to Vijay Adhinathan (art director) and the costume designers!
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