Out Of Theatre

Kallappadam

Out Of Theatre
20 Mar, 2015 2 hrs 13 mins U
J Vadivel, Sreeram Santhosh, K, Gaughin, Lakshmi Priyaa, Naren, Singam Puli, Senthil
Synopsis
A heist movie set in Kollywood, which provides some entertaining moments
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  • Critic's Review
  • Times of India
Synopsis: Four aspiring film technicians decide to steal from the producer who rejected their script to fund their movie. Meanwhile, the producer's paramour — a former actress — also plans to loot him with the help of her boyfriend. Who succeeds in the end?

Movie Review: After last week's Rajathandhiram , here's another heist movie. But this time, the setting is Kollywood, and the protagonists are aspirants in the film industry — a director, a cinematographer, a music director and an editor — who are waiting for their big break. Interestingly, these characters are played by the film's actual technicians themselves — Vadivel, Sreeram Santhosh, K and Gaughin. While this lends some amount of authenticity, the performances are strictly functional. Also, Kallappadam is not as slick as Rajathandhiram ; it is earthier and somewhat melodramatic.

Vadivel wants to make his first film on a koothu artist, in memory of his father, a koothu artist himself, who had committed suicide when the art form loses in popularity to light music and dance. His three friends want to make their entry in films along with him and so are not willing to look at other offers. But no producer is willing to risk his money on this 'arty' film.

Meanwhile, their well-wisher Sundaramoorthy, a veteran in the industry who never got a chance to maker it big, dies in despair and the friends decide that they shouldn't suffer the same fate. And, they decide to steal from one of the producers who had rejected them. But what they don't know is that the producer's paramour, Leena, is also planning a robbery with her boyfriend Arun. Who is going to ruin whose chances?

Kallappadam is the latest in the list of films about the film industry in Tamil cinema. But like some recent films with the same setting, it manages to make itself distinct from the others. Last year, we had Jigarthanda and Kathai Thiraikathai Vasanam Iyakkam ( KTVI ) making sharp observations on the Tamil film industry by dressing themselves up as a gangster movie and a quirky comedy respectively, Kallappadam does that in the form of a heist movie. As in those films, here, too, we have a leading man who will not compromise and direct a regular film just so that he can make his debut. There are veterans who entered the industry with dreams but had to helplessly see them get dashed as the years went by. We have Senthil, whose role is a variation of the character of Sangili Murugan in Jigarthanda . " Jeichavangala mattum dhaan role modela eduthukkanum nu illa; enna maadhiri thothavangalayum paarthu jeikkalam ," says his Sundaramoorthy, and lights the spark for the lead characters. Meanwhile, Singam Puli's character as a script doctor (his backstory is presented as a montage with him trying to become an assistant director to successful directors, from the time of 16 Vayathiniley ) is similar to that of Thambi Ramaiah's in KTVI , offering some moments of humour.

Still, Kallappadam works more as a heist movie, probably because we have only recently had Jigarthanda and KTVI talk about the film industry and they did it better. So, the first half, when we get to see the characters' struggles feels fairly routine and the film receives a jolt of energy only when they start to plan the robbery. But the gripping second half makes up for the earlier disappointment. The heist is very well executed. First, things go according to plan, then they start to go wrong and our heroes are required to think fast and act (the film even winks at us by using a technique adopted by Robert De Niro in The Score ) with every bit of delay increasing their chances of being found. And because there is another group involved as well, the tension only increases. Even after the heist is pulled off, Vadivel manages to keep us on the edge of our seats — a stolen ring, a drop of blood (which is a cheeky device), a cop who smells something fishy (and demands sexual favours from Leena) and most importantly, a lost pen drive that if found might incriminate them all. So, we are never sure until the end if the leads will be able to get away with their crime. As we exit, we realize that maybe there is some truth in what all these three films suggest — to succeed in the film industry, one must not just have talent but lot of ingenuity as well.
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