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.

Om Shanti Om

This weekend Satya and I watched “Om Shanti Om”.  We both really enjoyed the movie-the bright colors, the music, the suspense, the humor, and twist at the end.  It is an unusual movie-I think it is the first one I’ve ever seen about reincarnation.  I thought the fire scene where Om and Shanti die was very intense-I covered my eyes for that part of the movie.


The movie stretches credulity in parts.  Besides the reincarnation part, there is the transformation of Om #2.  When we first see Om #2 he is a successful Bollywood star, shallow, with an inflated ego.  Once he realizes his mission and meets his old friend and mother, he is suddenly transformed into a more mature character.  I didn’t think that was very believable.  On the other hand, the story, music, and humor swept me along so I didn’t have much time to complain.


I can’t say it had much to do with Karnataka or South India.  We just watched it for fun.  The movie did show some South Indian stereotypes. The Shanti look-alike comes from Bangalore and is ultra-modern with her carefree, irreverent attitude blowing bubblegum bubbles in everyone’s faces.  One of the song numbers poked some fun at old historical South Indian movies-the man with the bare chest, very stylized hair, two earrings and the girl wearing pants and doing different arm and leg movements.  Satya thought the cheoreography to that dance number was extremely inaccurate and too much Bollywood. 


We heard about the movie from watching the weekly Bollywood show on public television.  It is the one where viewers can request their favorite songs from popular movies.  We saw some of the songs, liked the music and the bright colors and then checked NetFlix to see if the movie was available and ordered it. 


If you are looking for an entertaining movie with humor, great song, and bright colors be sure to try “Om Shanti Om”!