Director Kiruthiga Udhayanidhi took a five-year break before releasing her second film - Kaali. While her first film was a romantic comedy, this one’s a potpourri of genres. There’s action, drama, romance, comedy, and a good dose of suspense. The makers also launched a 7-minute preview of the film prior to its release, so the premise of the film was revealed even before it hit the screens.
Bharath, played by Vijay Antony, is a successful doctor in the US who runs his own hospital. The film, in fact, begins with a dream sequence in a village field. A toddler is in the way of a bull that’s been scared by a snake and is charging down the field. As the mother runs to save her child, the dream is interrupted.
While Bharath is only vaguely concerned at first, the truth that he’s actually an adopted son leads him to ponder the dream further and what it could possibly mean. This sets him off on a search that might sound vaguely similar to the Oscar-nominated film Lion. But, the similarities stop here.
Kaali is in every way an Indian film and the number of flashbacks the film has is proof enough. Prior to its release, Kiruthiga had said that women writing scripts will improve how roles are written for women actors but there's very little evidence of that in Kaali. To begin with, the four female leads in the film have minimal screen time and although they push the story forward, they leave only a fleeting impression on the audience.
While this is still understandable, dialogues like ‘udane love panrava vena emathuva, romba naal alaya vittu love panra paaru, ava ematha maata’ (a girl who immediately accepts your love might leave you and go, but a girl who lets you wait for long and then accepts your love will not leave you) and ‘amma yaaru nu theriyama visaricha paravalla, appa yaaru nu visaricha nalla irukadhu’ (it is all right if one doesn’t know who his mother is but it is not nice if one were to go asking who his father is) are entrenched in patriarchal ideas and come off disappointing.
Yogi Babu does a great job with the delivery of his comic lines and although it's not a laughter fest, at least they don't leave us cringing. Vijay Antony has evolved in his acting skills and the film gives him plenty of meat to prove his mettle. The film’s background score is appreciable and so are the stunt sequences. Amritha Aiyer and Shilpa Manjunath, both debut actors, have done a fairly good job with whatever limited screen time they could get. Anjali flits in and out through the film and Sunaina has very little to do to leave an impact. All the women, invariably fall in love with the people they are meant to.
The film’s sound team has done a good job, especially during the action scenes. Kaali does not rush through at all and the screenplay can seem like a stretch at some point. Except for the preposterous sequence of events that build up to the climax, the film is a well-packed drama.
Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Neither TNM nor any of its reviewers have any sort of business relationship with the film's producers or any other members of its cast and crew.