The actor looks stylish with his salt and pepper beard and ripped body, but the film doesn’t build its characters enough to make us care about them.

Kadaram Kondan review Vikrams swag somewhat saves a dispassionate film
Flix Kollywood Friday, July 19, 2019 - 15:50
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A few minutes into Kadaram Kondan, Vikram crashes out of one of the twin Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, giving the impression that he’s dropped from the sky. The actor, with his salt and pepper beard and ripped body, looks arresting on screen but as the film progresses, you never quite shake off the first question that came to you from his introductory shot – who is this man and how did he get here?

The title of Rajesh Selva’s directorial translates to ‘The Conqueror of Kadaram’, a Malaysian state which is also called Kedah. However, apart from the fact that the film is set in Malaysia and Vikram’s character is called ‘KK’, it’s a mystery why the film’s called Kadaram Kondan. The title of the French original Point Blank, of which this film is a remake, is far more honest – there’s a lot of shooting going on and we’re pretty blank about why it’s all happening.

As the enigmatic KK is on the run, we’re shown a young couple – Aathira and Vasu – who’re expecting their first baby. The two storylines intersect early on as is expected, and what follows is a hunt for the truth. The film looks stylish and the screenplay races ahead, but here’s the thing – the director gives us so little to hold on to about the characters that you never really become involved in what’s happening. Kadaram Kondan is only 2 hours long and I wonder why Rajesh didn’t consider spending 10 or even 20 minutes in telling us who these people are. For instance, it’s only been 10 days since a very pregnant Aathira and Vasu moved to Kuala Lumpur; there’s a hint about family trouble but that is hardly explored. Why did they come here (and which international airline allows travel at such an advanced state of pregnancy?!), why are their families displeased? What drew these two people together? What are they like?

The film throws them headlong into the script and as a result, we don’t watch the story unfold with the kind of urgency that comes when we’re emotionally invested. Abi Hassan as Vasu looks perpetually hassled but that’s hardly his fault, the film doesn’t give him much to do. He's the Abbas to Rajinikanth in Padayappa, only there to accentuate the latter's levels of cool. Akshara as Aathira gets a better deal and there’s one sequence towards the end where the actor manages to haul herself up and make us care at last. But the question is, did Rajesh have to resort to such violent and graphic visuals to make his audience sit up?

Even more puzzling is why there’s scant information on KK. A woman cop reels off details about him (nothing you haven’t heard before in Tamil cinema) and you wait for the scene when we’ll finally get to know KK’s story. If not a Baasha style elaborate flashback, at least a few scenes telling us who the man is. Vikram’s character barely speaks, his glances convey more than his words. There’s a scene where he’s on a bus with a gun pressed against his back and a small child notices what’s going on. But KK doesn’t want the kid to draw attention to the situation, so he convinces him to look away. Not a word is spoken but the actor manages to put a smile on your face though the circumstances are anything but comical. KK has a tired, subdued air about him; his body is covered with tattoos. The background score and the camera make him look swag from every angle. But who is he? Why did he become what he is now? The answer never comes – KK dropped from the sky. That’s it.

The biggest disappointment though is how the crux of the plot is revealed. A minor villain blurts it all out in one scene, deflating the suspense of a cat and mouse game entirely. The major villains have MAJOR VILLAINS written so clearly on them that you wonder why it took so long for everyone else to figure it out.

Kadaram Kondan has a lot of action sequences and these episodes have been choreographed well. But even a pure action franchise like The Fast and the Furious attempts to connect with the audience at some level by giving us some lazy masala on family and friendship. Kadaram Kondan doesn’t even try. We’re left hanging, much like our man KK in his first shot.

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.

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