SIMPLICITY MAKES KALAVANI SUPERLATIVE!I had sauntered out of my house on Sunday evening to watch a film that many of my friends had certified as ‘good’ and ‘watchable’. I had not prepared myself for what I was to experience when I reached the theater. Considering that the film had no big stars or the backing of Sun Pictures’ publicity campaign, I had thought that there would only be few people there to catch the movie on the big screen. Most others would simply give it a miss or settle for a viewing on a pirated DVD. But, what I saw was nothing like what I had in the last few months. In the end, I had to shell out Rs. 200 for a ticket that would have originally cost me around Rs. 50. The theater was packed and there were ladies and families in good numbers. Had this been Raavanan or Madharasapattinam I would have hardly been surprised because of star and director value. In fact, I would have taken the precaution of booking my tickets in advance for these films. But, this was Kalavani, the small timer that had almost made a backdoor entry to theaters with no fanfare or publicity. Yet, it is now attracting crowds like any of the other big timers. But, if what I saw on Sunday is any evidence, this film has the ability to match up to these biggies, at least in the city. I know that this might sound like an unrealistic claim. But, knowing about the foolhardiness of my claim, I wish that it comes true, because I want more films like Kalavani to be in theaters for our pleasure.

What is it that makes Kalavani so good? It is the fact that the movie is simple. There is a quote ‘Simplicity and repose are the qualities that measure the true value of any work of art’. Yes, the film was uncomplicated, uncluttered and non-sophisticated. There are films that excite us, thrill us, scare us and give us many highs and lows in emotions. But, there are only very few films that leave us with a pleasant feeling, a sweet taste which lingers on for quite some time after the movie has ended. That is what Kalavani does to the viewer - makes him feel good. There are many films that have been called ‘feel good’, but Kalavani, I feel, is the actual prototype of a feel good film that needs to be emulated by film makers in Tamil cinema.

What exactly did I like about the movie? No, I cannot put my finger down on that. It was like enjoying the cool evening breeze on a beach with the waves lapping around your ankles and not knowing which part of the experience you liked the most; you just love the feeling that the experience gives you. Many films please the senses; through visual beauty, through musical wizardry, stunning art, great action etc - this one pleased the mind and heart with its goodness.

The story in itself has no great twists and turns. It is simple events in the lives of the people in a village told in a fairly straightforward manner. But, the director has scored to great effect with his casting. Almost everyone in the movie is the perfect choice for the character that they have played. In fact, we cannot see any actors here, only characters. One can say a lot about all the actors, but I choose to elaborate on Ilavarasu. I feel he is one of the most underrated performers in Kollywood at the moment. His talents seem to be getting delayed recognition and I hope that he gets his due ultimately.

The best part about Kalavani is that it has not been stuffed with anything. Many films have screenplays where room is made for many elements to be accommodated; mostly comedy and glamour. Kalavani makes no such effort; or at least it is not evident. There is humor, but it is natural; something that can happen in every household. Humor is part of the film; not created by dialogues that are written by masters at ‘wordplay’. And, for a change, a film that is set in rural Tamil Nadu does not have characters who just have to drink illicit liquor every night, foul mouth everyone, show off their ‘patta pattis’ and brandish their sickles. Village life too can be pleasant and simple, says director Sargunam, I agree.

If you have not watched Kalavani till now, please do so soon. And, if you are gong on a weekend, please make sure to book your tickets in advance, because word is getting around about this movie and people might just be flocking in. Happy viewing!

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