Watched Mani Ratnam's Kadal yesterday. More than Mani's direction, it was Rahman's music which riveted the crowd that occupied around 60% of the seats in the cinema.
The director has tried to handle a complicated treatment of a simple subject - Good vs. Bad. There was, I should say, a Nolanic attempt at handling the portrayal. You can find the usual niceties of Mani Ratnam's movies - an undercurrent of subtle audio-visual themes around the characters (the good guy always has white around him & the bad guy black), fantastic camerawork (that integrates the sea as a character into the movie) and pathetic visualisations of some of the best works of Rahman (it has been recurrent theme in his recent movies).
However, the sore point that sticks out is the lack of characterisation for the “dark” guy. This has a telling effect on the way the story unfolds and the impact it has on the audience. The crux of the story deals with good vs. bad –duality that requires both characters to be developed equally well. I reckon, here, the director either got carried away or assumed that his audience would understand the “dark” character equally well. The depiction of the dark guy as “evil for the sake of evil” desperately needs more dwelling-on and not just anecdotal references.
The other major disappointment is the integration of the audio track into the movie. Having released more than a month ago, the tracks have been living their own lives. To say that Mani had absolutely mishandled the best number, “Nenjukulle” is an understatement. The song is entirely out of place in the movie. Other songs are handled better. But one leaves with a longing that they could have been depicted much better, given that Vairamuthu’s lyrics tell a story of their own.
For a much better review (audio-Tam): https://soundcloud.com/balajipatturaj/92-7-big-fms-take-it-easy-1