What’s especially refreshing about ‘Kannum Kannum’ is that it’s not interested in lecturing to the audience.

Kannum Kannum Kollaiyadithaal review Dulquer-Ritu film is a fun crime comedy
Flix Review Friday, February 28, 2020 - 14:11
Worth a watch

The title Kannum Kannum Kollaiyadithaal comes from Thiruda Thiruda, the 1993 Mani Ratnam caper film which was about two thieves on the run. Desingh Periyasamy’s film too is about lovably dishonest protagonists who chase after money and find love on the way.

The film has a corny beginning, with Desingh falling back on cliches to introduce Siddharth (Dulquer) and Kallis (Rakshan) as two carefree youths who party day and night. Siddharth is also stalking Meera (Ritu Varma) but hasn’t mustered the courage to ask her out. It all looks very average, with some painful comedy and forced tributes to Rajinikanth to boot. But just as you settle down to watch yet another unimaginative romcom, the screenplay picks up pace.

Like Irumbuthirai, Kannum Kannum gives us an insight into modern day crimes where the thief is invisible, and your sense of security can be shattered with the click of a button. Here, it’s two engineers, Siddharth and Kallis, who use their skills to commit fraud. Meera and her friend Shreya (Niranjani) are largely decorative in the first half, and I kept thinking that there must be more to Meera for Ritu Varma to have agreed to do the role. And I wasn’t wrong. In a sense, the director plays up the clichés that we’ve come to expect in the average Tamil film to hoodwink us.

Desingh’s writing is surefooted as he builds a layered plot – the twists don’t look gimmicky when they emerge, and he takes care to tie up the little details. Avoiding long-winded lectures on technology, we’re given snappy scenes that show how the crimes are committed. This puts the audience on the same page as the protagonists without feeling like we’ve just watched a college PowerPoint presentation.

Gautham Menon sportively plays Prathap Chakravarthy, a senior cop who’s on the hunt for the frauds. Like the heroes in Gautham Menon’s cop films, Prathap seems to be a classy and committed family man, which is why his backstory had me grinning. Once again, Desingh manages to surprise by luring us into what we think is a familiar pattern.

What’s especially refreshing about Kannum Kannum is that it’s not interested in lecturing to the audience. All the characters are amoral, and even the women get a free pass to a certain extent. There simply aren’t enough Tamil films which are made purely for fun, and for this alone Kannum Kannum deserves to succeed.

That said, it’s not that there are no glitches. The couples come off looking naive and old-fashioned. While Siddharth is stuck spouting amateurish lines about love, Kallis and Shreya share the Vadivelu-Kovai Sarala kind of dynamic that doesn’t really fit in a film like this. Our protagonists don’t even exchange a kiss, waiting sincerely to get married instead. This dissonance is grating especially because of how Desingh has built his characters – urban, carefree young people who live for the moment and aren’t afraid of risks. Ah well, did I say the characters are amoral? Scratch that.

Of the four, it’s Ritu Varma who impresses the most as the wide-eyed and earnest Meera who transforms later. None of them have fleshed out histories, and we’re only given some sketchy stories about who they are and where they came from. Dulquer does his best with the underwritten role, and it’s a pity that Desingh doesn’t do enough to get the audience emotionally invested in his characters. The comedy, too, is a sore point, with most of the funny lines falling flat.

Many Tamil films have attempted ‘cat and mouse’ games (including last week’s disappointment Mafia: Chapter 1) but rarely have they actually ended up looking exciting on screen. Most times, what we get is a battle between a tortoise and a rock, never mind what the director had imagined. In Kannum Kannum, it isn’t just one cat and mouse in the equation but several; the soundtrack, background score and the slick editing add to the suspense in the narrative.

Despite the lengthy runtime of 2 hours and 40 minutes, Kannum Kannum stays enjoyable for the most part. It may not blow your mind, but it’s good, harmless fun and god knows, the audience needs more of that.

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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