Has the Tamil film industry conducted some secret market research which has revealed to them that films talking about farmers will guarantee a blockbuster? Or is it just the sheer lack of creativity that every film which comes out of Kodambakkam is obsessed with farmers?
Kaappaan, directed by KV Anand, has Suriya playing Kathiravan, an SPG (Special Protection Group) officer who is part of the team protecting Prime Minister Chandrakanth Varma (who sometimes becomes Chandraganth Varma). But not before he plays a farmer with a bad wig and lectures to the camera about organic farming and drops a few vivasayi dialogues. Even if you have, by now, developed an accommodating attitude towards farmers in Tamil movies just as you have towards sudden duets in mountains covered by snow, it’s hard to take a film seriously when the PM of the country (Mohanlal) tells the farmer-turned-SPG officer things like, “You better get married soon or I’ll have to cross-pollinate you with your girlfriend.”
Other than Suriya, nobody in the SPG looks like they’ve even slow jogged on the treadmill, let alone performed miraculous high security ops. It doesn’t help that Samuthirakani, who plays the director of the SPG, is given lines that seem to have been lifted from a Sivakarthikeyan film – ponnunga seyyadha-nu sonna, sei-nu artham. Really? It’s 2019 and we’re still saying a woman’s no means yes? Does KV Anand not read newspapers? There’s also a joke about an “aunty” with a 40-plus chest size that the director of the SPG finds appropriate to crack, annihilating the possibility of lending his character any dignity.
The film opens with Kathiravan blowing up a train and cuts to a poorly staged terrorist attack which would seriously make one wonder if the ‘S’ in SPG stands for ‘Silly’. Mohanlal and Suriya strike up a decent chemistry but the poor writing and slipshod research lets down both actors. Imagine this – a deadly terrorist attack (yet another one, yes) takes place and the media is playing visuals of beheaded soldiers (yes, the media is allowed to run all over the high security area) but the PM of the country is not informed about the situation. He learns about it just like you and me, while flipping through TV channels.
Situations which are far from comic are milked dry for humour that just does not work. Arya plays Chandrakanth Varma’s clueless son, Abhishek. At one point, he is given a highly responsible post and he’s required to address the media about several burning issues. He handles this by telling the assembled journalists how he has “corrected” (hit on) women from the different states of the country. And wait for it…the journalists cheer. A surly investigating officer at the site of a heinous crime against the nation, needs to be put down. So how does the director do it? By having the hero point out to him that he hasn’t zipped his pants and getting a woman officer to snigger.
All of this seems to be happening in a bizarre universe where everyone speaks and sings in Tamil, from white “item” girls in a London club to Kashmiri school children and Pakistani diplomats. The effect is jarring and further dilutes the already sketchy plot that’s stretched to nearly three hours. There’s a germ of an idea in Kaappaan that had potential – bio war. But the director buries it beneath layers of flab in a desperate attempt to make the film entertaining.
With her cotton saree, Sayyeshaa as Anjali will first have you believe that she has something substantial to do in the film. Nope. Pretty soon, she’s mouthing inanities about her too-busy boyfriend who has no time for her. Boman Irani is modelled on a businessman we can easily identify but the talented actor is wasted in a badly written role.
A part of Kaappaan is set in what’s supposed to be Kashmir, and the less said about the film’s understanding of the conflict-ridden region, the better. But, this is a film which seems to think Manu dharma is awesome, so perhaps there’s no reason to be surprised after all.
Harris Jayaraj generously doles out multiple “inspirational” tracks all through the narrative, like free ketchup sachets. But then, no amount of sauce can save a dish if it’s stale (even if it’s made with 100% organic ingredients).
Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the series/film. TNM Editorial is independent of any business relationship the organisation may have with producers or any other members of its cast or crew.