In Ramesh D’s Kalavaram, Sathyaraj plays “One Man Army” Vetrichelvan, a cop who dishes out vigilante justice on the side, recruiting students as henchmen. Why does this apparently straightforward protector and upholder of the law resort to unlawful means to bring down criminals, one of whom is named “Housing Board” Mani? Who are these students and what is their investment in all this avenging? How did they align themselves with Vetrichelvan? You don’t have to be a genius to guess that the answers will be found in a lengthy second-half flashback. But the film undercuts this suspense by revealing to us, early on, the whos, whys and whats of the story. What’s the purpose of the flashback then, if it’s just going to show us what we’ve already been told? Kalavaram never becomes anything more than a generic action movie, with generally underwhelming performances and staging. Even the emotions are shortchanged. The best aspect? There are only two songs – even if they are two too many.
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