Kadhalan Movie Review

In honor of A.R. Rahman’s Oscar wins, Satya showed me some of A.R. Rahman’s songs on YouTube.  We loved the songs “Urvasi” and “Mukkala” from the movie Kadhalan and Prabhu Deva’s dance moves so we requested Kadhalan from Netflix.  It was my first Tamil movie. 


Overall, I’d agree with other reviews of the movie that the music was amazing, the dancing was amazing but the actual movie was odd. 


A rough outline of the plot is that a young college guy (Prabhu Deva) falls in love with a politician’s daughter (Nagma).  He at first makes fun of her traditional dance classes, but after talking with his father he learns that he will earn her respect and trust if he takes in interest in her hobby rather than mocking it.  The politician turns out to be corrupt and is involved in bomb plots so that the government can be discredited.  Prabhu Deva gets caught up in all this and is taken into police custody.  The police torture him in all sorts of gruesome ways-making him wear a cloth infested with biting ants, giving him insect infested food, sticking ice in unpleasant places, etc.  One of the saddest scenes was when his father discovers that he has been torturing his own son.  The father asks the son to let go of his fantasy of winning the girl in order to stop the torture, but Prabhu Deva refuses.  Somehow he gets free and charms the girl’s crazy grandparents.  Eventually, good triumphs over evil and boy gets girl. 


Pluses: I liked the scenes between Prabhu and his dad.  I thought his dad gave him great advice.  The love story was kind of sweet.  Prabhu’s college friend was funny.


Minuses: Too many fight scenes and too much torture.  The movie kind of dragged after intermission and felt too long.


I was surprised at how much Tamil sounds like Kannada.  Both languages seem to use the same tones.  Kannada has a kind of “eh” drone when people pause that Tamil also seems to share.  Perhaps I’m not describing that clearly.  Satya was surprised at how many Tamil words he was able to understand.  This really shouldn’t surprise us that much though since both languages are in the Dravidian family. 


I liked seeing things I’d never seen before like the clear, see-through buses.  The dressing style seems to be more colorful than even that in Kannada movies.  It seems usually that Kannada guys do not wear many bright colors, but in this movie there were lots.  The scenery was gorgeous too.  Satya said some of the locations are in Karnataka-like the white building where Prabhu Deva’s character first spots Nagma’s.  Varanasi is another location seen in the movie. 


Overall, I agree that the music and music videos are not to be missed.  They are guaranteed to bring a smile to your face, especially Mukkala’s Tamil version of the Old West.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Solilo
    Mar 19, 2009 @ 06:39:07

    I watched this one long back. This was the time when Prabhudeva was at the top.

    He is a fun dancer to watch. What happened?


  2. Mirchi
    Mar 19, 2009 @ 14:37:30

    Love Prabhudeva! My kid likes that Mukkala western scene too, and urvasi too, actually.

    I have to disagree that Tamil sounds alot like Kannada, though. There are a couple same words and similar words, and of course, the South Indian intonation is there (including placing “eh” on words, which I think is pretty common). But I think Tamil is alot more nasal, and Kannada has more oo sounds. Earlier I used to feel several Indian languages sound the same to my ears, but I guess after years of exposure, I can hear more of a difference. JMO!

    That’s a good point–after years of exposure you can pick up nuances. All I can tell at the moment is that they are related languages and sound very different than Hindi, for example.

    I would have liked to have been there when they put together “Mukkala”. Great song and great dance, but strange.


  3. Mirchi
    Mar 19, 2009 @ 14:40:40

    Oh, and I’ve heard Tamils are known for their wild use of colors, even more than the rest of India (and made fun of for it too) LOL. I think theres some jovial terms used to describe them, but I cant think of it right now.

    Makes sense. In one of the Kannada movies I’ve seen there were Tamil gangsters who wore outlandish clothes-lots of colors, heavy jewelry, etc.


  4. Bryan
    May 22, 2009 @ 16:28:13

    AR Rahman and Maniratnam colloborated on several movies. The movies with messages are some of the best ones – Roja, Bombay, and Kannathil Muthamittal (‘A Peck on the Cheek’) are really worth seeing.

    Tamil is the older language by a long shot, and Kannada has imported quite a lot of Sanskrit words. I can’t quite express how, but Tamil does have a bit different sound, even in shared words, (tode and thodai for example for thigh). I’m functional in Kannada, but my Tamil is pretty sparse, so i can’t compare the two very well.

    Thanks for the movie suggestions!

    What I really noticed was that perhaps there is a Dravidian language “sound”. Tamil just sounds drastically different from Hindi and somewhat close to Kannada. My Kannada vocabulary is perhaps 20 words so it was just a rough observation.


  5. sugumar
    Dec 11, 2010 @ 12:37:11

    i like vijay

    all the best


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