'Kadai Kutty Singam' review: A family drama for TV soap lovers

Director Pandiraj makes a feeble attempt to focus on farmers and farming.
'Kadai Kutty Singam' review: A family drama for TV soap lovers
'Kadai Kutty Singam' review: A family drama for TV soap lovers
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Director Pandiraj of Pasanga fame had announced earlier that his film Kadai Kutty Singam, starring Karthi in the lead, would be ‘the’ film on farmers. He also claimed that after this movie, the perception of farmers amongst people would surely change.

However, if the director hoped to change anybody's perceptions with a few punchlines on why farmers and farming are important, it comes across as a feeble attempt. 

For starters, it appears as if the director has binge-watched all Tamil soaps ever made, which has definitely paid off in the film’s second half. It has all the ingredients of a soap opera - drama, emotion-packed dialogues and plenty of crying. 

The film revolves around Gunasingam, a proud farmer, who is hailed as a revolutionary farmer.

The flashback, leading up to the birth of the prized male child - Gunasingam (Karthi) - takes up first 10 minutes of the film. Sathyaraj plays Ranasingam, the patriarch who is desperate for a male child.

Not content with the four daughters from his first marriage to Vaanavan Maadevi (Viji Chandrashekar) and another with her sister, Panjavan Maadevi (Bhanupriya), Ranasingam is disheartened without a male heir.

While it has never been uncommon for men to be polygamous and procreate until they possibly can (mostly for a male heir), Ranasingam’s justification to his daughters when asked if he hates them is the cue for an eye-roll.

The director has also gone overboard with the character names. Kannukiniyaal (Sayyeshaa), Thaamarai Manaalan, Malligai Manaalan, Adhiyamaan Nedunkizhi, Sivagamiyin Selvan (Soori), Poompozhil Selamaa… and there’s more. If you can associate five characters with their on-screen names when the credits roll, you should give yourself a pat on the back.

Keeping up with the theme, the movie is also served with smatterings of environment-friendly messages - like the sequences where semparuthi poo (hibiscus flower) tea is served in earthen cups along with a message that it is good for the heart; and where saplings are given away to visitors of a house. 

When not dealing with farming (which is, incidentally, fewer), Gunasingam is busy running from one sister's house to another while the film's drama quotient reaches an alarming threshold.

Evidently, this is a family that you cannot get used to in the two-and-a-half hours that you are inside the theatre. At some point, you might wish you had taken notes as to who plays who. This can be a reason why the film will strongly remind you of a mega serial.

While it might appear that the film carries lofty ideologies, they fall flat to just being punch dialogues. Although not sanctimonious, the audience can sense that the director has packed multiple messages into one film.

But there are redeeming moments (albeit fleeting), when the women characters question patriarchal practices. For example, Bhanupriya’s confrontation with Sathyaraj and Viji and Priya Bhavani Shankar’s brief monologue on deciding a girl child’s fate early on in their life is appreciable, if not vindicating.

In addition to talking about farmer’s pride, polygamy and aspects of patriarchy, Kadai Kutty Singam also touches upon caste pride. Kodiarasu (Chandru) plays a caste-obsessed man who the hero fights against.

Like in a majority of the movies, Sayyeshaa, the lead actress, has the spotlight trained on her character for a brief period in this movie.

While the first half is paced out, the second half is a huge clutter that rushes through. With multiple scene changes and heightened drama, the film gets a little overwhelming towards the end. By this point, we just want it to resolve.

The music, by Imman, is a saving grace. He has not steered away from his formulaic compositions. R Velraj’s cinematography is refreshing with some good frames. Stunts, including the much talked about Rekla race sequence, have been well executed.

Tamil cinema is not new to family dramas and rural stories; but what Kadai Kutty Singam lacks is a balance. By packing all these elements together, Pandiraj seems to have given the audience an entertainer that might attract family audiences who will reminisce about the good old days of big family gatherings.

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.

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