“Kaththi Sandai”… A silly, noisy waste of a good premise

Posted on December 23, 2016

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Spoilers ahead…

If you’ve seen the noisy trailer for Suraaj’s Kaththi Sandai, you’ll know the question isn’t whether the film is any good but how bad it is on a 1 to 10 scale – “1” being “as long as you have a smartphone to otherwise occupy you, it’s harmless enough” and “10” being “you want to yank the stylus off your smartphone, jab it in your jugular, run towards the screen in slow  motion, and mask it with your arterial blood so that no one else has to suffer.” Kaththi Sandai is a 6. A few jokes by Soori hit home. He plays a don named Deva, but Arjun (Vishal) gets to the heart of what he’s really about: “Nambiar maadhiri meesai vechukittu Nagesh maadhiri iruppaane…”

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Arjun falls for Divya (Tamannaah) and sends Deva to her as his messenger. She slaps Deva, and this makes Arjun very happy. He’s convinced she is a “fresh piece” – had she been in love with anyone else, she wouldn’t have reacted this way. (Don’t ask me to explain the logic. I’m just reporting from the war front.) There are many references to Vishal being dark-complexioned and Tamannaah being fair. I guess when there’s no other USP, you resort to the most obvious things. Arjun tells Divya they were lovers in a previous life. She scoffs. But her professor – Chinni Jayanth, taking an Abnormal Psychology class – tells her that she should take this up as a project and investigate. She does. She falls in love with Arjun even after she discovers he’s been lying. Because: “Ellaa love-layum oru poi irukkum. Aana un poyyila oru love irukku.” My hand began to inch towards the stylus.

The nicest thing about Kaththi Sandai is that it keeps us guessing about Arjun and his motives. And when you think back, it’s actually a heart-warming triumph-of-the-common-man story. (There’s a nice line about how we have been reduced to “buying” essentials like education while “products” like mixers and grinders are given to us free.) But Suraaj isn’t interested in telling that story – or any story. He just wants to keep distracting you with songs and fights and comedy. Vadivelu shows up in the second half as a psychiatrist. He strides towards us to the strains of Neruppu da, and he declares, “I am back.” It’s the biggest build-up ever for a track that yields not a single laugh. A far better joke is that the plot revolves around stacks of 500s and 1000s. The characters on screen see this as crores of money. The audience sees worthless scraps of paper.

KEY:

  • kaththi sandai = sword fight
  • “Nambiar maadhiri meesai vechukittu Nagesh maadhiri iruppaane…” = be grateful I am not translating this for you
  • Ellaa love-layum oru poi irukkum. Aana un poyyila oru love irukku.” = be even more grateful I am not translating this for you
  • Neruppu da = see here

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Posted in: Cinema: Tamil