You’ve read my disclaimer before, haven’t you? Also, please look up at the headline of the blog before you continue reading. Thank you.

Good v. Evil

Essentially in the film, there are a few good people (the Gods – like Father Sam) and a few evil people (the Satan – Bergmans). The film is about how good wins over evil (or not). In the middle of all this, there are some ignorant, drinking, sleeping-around, victimised, poor people all over the village. They are too pre-occupied between good and evil, so practically unimportant. The good v. evil thing is so over played that you’ll see all the good people in white and Bergmans is in darker shades of grey. Then there is talk of one becoming utthaman, about being Satan, so on and so forth. Almost like in the 60s films, everyone is either good or evil. Or ignorant. There!

In a very interesting beginning to the story, Bergmans is shown to have taken to religion to feed his family and Sam to find peace. Bergmans then becomes the Satan after being shown the door for having a s3xua| relationship with a co-worker, while Sam continues his service. What could have gone on to become a rich v. poor story falls apart there and becomes something else.

Hop on hop off

While we are at good and evil, one must also note how easy it is go from good guy to bad guy and back. Wayward, angry, abuse-spouting boy becomes a beach-side dancing, responsibly fishing, boat driving youngster, who then becomes this vengeful, gun-wielding, murderous, sub-Satan who falls in love and becomes the good guy again – taking on the Satan himself to save the girl who changed him. No baggage whatsoever.


Christian village, religious indifference, slowly gaining faith, then the loss of faith in the poli saamiyaar, rebuilding Christ – the entire film is against the backdrop of religious philosophy. Perhaps one of the few films I’ve watched that integrate religion into every little aspect of the film – which, for me, is appreciable. However, in the middle of all this, it seems as though religion is the root cause of all problems. Just along somewhere.

The angel

Getting into the ladies zone: The story is about a boy (Thomas alias Tom) who changes his ways for the girl he loves. Before we get to how he does that, let’s introduce her, ya? She is Beatrice. She is a nurse.  She always wears white (non-nurse like clothes), perhaps because she is from a convent (?), or because she is an angel. She smiles widely, jumps up and down when she wants people to hurry up, laughs all the time, is scared of Mother Superior, jumps over the gate late in the night to enter the convent and does not understand what paavam is.

She runs away from the hospital with her IV in tow. She hops on to a boat, goes a distance, returns and hops on to Thomas’s boat, does a bicycle ride with him, argues and flirts all on the way to saving a woman in labour.

When Thomas tells her that he is a murderer, she says “adhellam okay. Inime pannaadhe, sariya?” She has no personality. She is just a glorified Hasini from Santhosh Subramaniam. I say glorified because there is a tangential story about her troubled childhood with the Satan for has father. Her over-enthusiasm and effervescence is attributed to that childhood and the loss of emotional growth or something to that effect.

Worst of all, Thomas sees her, falls in love and changes his path to be with her (perhaps because he realises it’s dangerous for her if he continued his evil ways). All credit is handed to her in a platter. If only all it took to change a man was fair skin, white clothes and a borderline imbecile.

In the end though, while Thomas and Father Sam did all the fighting, Beatrice was emotionally affected and had to be treated. Thomas had to come and help her revive herself!

The other women

While this one woman changes our hero, the other important (as claimed) female character is a pawn in the Satan’s hand. She is carefully used to throw Father Sam into prison and duly eliminated by the Satan. Mother Superior loves wordplay, Thomas’s mother is an (alleged) prostitute, and such other women, I don’t know why they are even there.

In all, it’s an ordinary film with a run-of-the-mill story, loosely written characters who have nothing interesting to say, leftover scenes from Mani Ratnam’s old films enacted by younger/ newer people.

I’m not only disappointed. I feel cheated by Mani Ratnam (and Jeyamohan). I’ll go back and watch Iruvar again to wipe off the sin!


12 thoughts on “Kadal

  1. N says:

    Good review… loved the line “If only all it took to change a man was fair skin, white clothes and a borderline imbecile.”… :)… As I came out of the theatre I began comparing this to movies that I was disappointed with… just to know where it falls on that scale!… Shameful by mani… only silver linings are Rajiv Menon, Vairamuthu & ARR… to a lesser extent Madhan Karky…

  2. Kumar says:

    I wish I had read this review a little earlier, unfortunately I ended up watching this movie. Review is pretty spot on except for the part about the romance between the lead pair.

    The rift between the Sam and Bergman happens over a rather trivial issue (secret affair) so right away it becomes very difficult to relate to the animosity between them. The childhood period of Thomas is quite nicely done and believable but I couldn’t understand why he had a soft spot for the guy he thought was his dad, that was confusing.

    Coming to the romance between Tom and Beatrice, it started as casual attraction and flirting but when he learns that she is also an orphan like him he starts to develop feelings for her, especially since he is shown to have taken a lot of heat for being one. And when he tries to turn a new leaf it is not just because of her, there were a few other factors. Sam is back from jail and helping a women deliver a baby has a profound impact on him. The fact that Beatrice brushed aside his violent past easily (because of her mental state) probably gave him the final push because that would have been a deal breaker with lot of other women so he realises that he has got lucky in the lady department and doesn’t want to squander it ;)

    It is interesting to note that though this is a negative review the usual barrage of comments telling you how you are a ‘Hollywood girl’ and such are absent. I guess that only happens when you piss off Ajith, Vijay or Dhanush fans. I miss those comments though, they are always fun to read :D

    1. Hahaha. Hey! Long long time. How’ve you been?

      I thought of you yesterday when I published a feminism-based piece on the other blog. You should read and leave a comment. It’s always fantastic to hear from you.

      1. Kumar says:

        I saw the title and since the topic was Feminism I decided to keep shut like I earlier promised. But since you asked, read and commented :)

        1. Ah no! I always like to hear from you. I even thought particularly of you when I wrote that post. You must speak up. Thank you for your comment. And consider this as a blanket invitation for your comments across all my posts! :)

  3. Great review! Its been 2 months, but I’m still reeling under the shock of watching this colossal garbage created by Mani Ratnam. The last 2 lines in the post about feeling cheated and wanting to go back and watch Iruvar, exactly how I felt!

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