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Review: Kathakali is a well-scripted murder mystery


Director Pandiraj’s Kathakali is a well-scripted murder mystery but is marred by pointless romantic angle and mundane comedywrites S Saraswathi.

Kathakali is National award-winning director Pandiraj’s second outing in the last two months. Pasanga 2, his third in the children’s series released last month and did quite well.

The director is now back with an engaging thriller featuring Vishal, who has also produced the film.

Madras fame actress Catherine Tresa plays the female lead, supported by a host of actors like Madhusudhan Rao, Karunas, Mime Gopi and Lakshmi Ramakrishnan.

A well-made racy thriller, the film unravels more as an intriguing murder mystery with a long list of suspects.

The murder victim is a notorious tyrant Thamba (Madhusudhan Rao), who rules the district of Cuddalore with his many legal and illegal activities. The opening credits of the film with a voice-over narration reveals why he is the most feared man in the city.

Amudhan (Vishal) and his brother (Mime Gopi) are the chief suspects in this murder.

Their enmity goes back several years as Thamba had destroyed their family business and had their father crippled. Cuddalore’s ex MLA and his son too have an axe to grind with Thamba, who destroyed their political career.

Also, in the running are Thamba’s own power-hungry henchmen and a business tycoon (Jayaprakash), whose daughter is kidnapped and married off against his wishes by Thamba.

But the chief investigating officer has his eyes set only on Amudhan.

The racy second half of the film is all about how Amudhan proving his innocence. The first half though is not as exciting. Most of it is wasted on a meaningless romantic angle with some tiresome comedy thrown in.

The narrative moves back and forth as Amudhan, who has just returned to Cuddalore after a four-year stint in America, invites his friends for his wedding and reveals his love story.

Catherine remains strangely unconnected to all the mayhem that is unleashed on her fiancé. So does Karunas, who plays Vishal’s cousin and sidekick.

The talented Jayaprakash and Lakshmi Ramakrishnan have one dialogue each and the rest of the cast is mostly ignored.

The film revolves entirely around Vishal and the actor gives a decent performance. Even with all the chaos around him, there is not much theatrics. For most part, he remains a confused and helpless guy, who finds himself in an impossible situation.

The camera angles of cinematographer Balasubramaniem compliment the ambiance lending pace to the narrative, but music by Hip hop Tamizha Aadhi is just average.

Director Pandiraj’s Kathakali is a well-scripted murder mystery marred by the pointless romantic angle and mundane comedy.

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