In Nelson Dilipkumar's Kolamaavu Kokila, thr protagonist took to crime to save her poor family. In this sophomore effort, he once again gives us a protagonist who takes up crime for a good cause. The first time we see this protagonist, Varun (Sivakarthikeyan), he is at the battle front treating an injured terrorist. A superior questions why he has chosen to save the terrorist over an Indian soldier, and he coolly retorts that the latter's injury is fatal, so saving the terrorist would help in intelligence gathering. This is certainly a different role for Sivakarthikeyan, who, unlike in other films, is made to be less expressive and less talkative. In the initial scenes, seeing the actor this way does seem jarring. We wonder why he has to be absolutely expressionless and robotic, but as the story develops, you see how this very trait comes in handy for this character to do the things that he does. Discounting his attempt at portraying a serious character in Kanaa, one could call this is his first serious hero role. In fact, only Sivakarthikeyan and Vinay, who charmingly plays the suave, ruthless villain Terry, running a kidnapping operation, get to play straight-faced characters among the film’s principal cast. Every other actor is funny in one way or the other. And he sportingly lets the other actors take the limelight. Among the bunch of comic performers, Redin almost walks away with the film. His style is distinct among comedians who can deadpan. While most of them go subtle, he goes to the other extreme - loud and so over-the-top. Nelson seems to realise that this shtick might become quickly tiresome, and uses him effectively by pitting him against Yogi Babu, who is also in terrific form. Then, there is Deepa, who gets some of the film’s funniest lines. We also get a couple of bumbling criminals, played by Sunil and, who do a fab job in the second half of the film, when Varun and the family of Padmini (Priyankaa Mohan) embark on a mission to save Chinnu, her school-going neice. Interestingly, Padmini is Varun's fiancé (ex-fiancé, as he corrects another character later in the film). The scene in which she rejects him in the presence of both their families sets the tone for the rest of the film. Nelson doesn't let go of this darkly humorous tone even when things get serious (they have to, given the nature of the crime the film deals with). Even the one action set-piece in the film is peppered with comedy and inventiveness in staging. And all along, the writing remains solid, giving us situations that might have felt implausible in a serious film but work brilliantly because of the black comedy.Read full review
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