Aandavan Kattalai- Visitor Review

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Aandavan Kattalai- Visitor Review

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Third directorial venture of writer & director Manikandan whose Kutrame Thandanai released just a few weeks back.  Both his first two directorial ventures have been highly impressive and diverse commanding ticket purchase for this movie. Technically this film flows just seamlessly from start to end beginning with retro-styled title credits. This is the first film where Manikandan does not handle cinematography and that responsibility is taken over by Shanmugasundaram whose camera seems to just follow the protagonist zooming in and out of the various situations he gets himself in and is instrumental in creating the atmosphere and a sense of place effectively .  


Editor Anucharan and Manikandan have a great understanding of each other’s vision, narration and they make a solid cinematic collaboration which is very evident from the stage play like scenes of the movie unfolding neatly. The music of the film by K provides necessary impetus and shows that the music director understands the quirky screenplay and narration of the writer & director which is a rarity. The music of the film seems to have been inspired by Ilaiyaraaja and to an extent, Santhosh Narayanan and the background score in a particular sequence towards the end of the film is likely based on Rabbia E Tarantella composed by Ennio Morricone famously used by Quentin Tarantino in inglorious Bastards. Kudos to K for never overdoing the score in a distracting manner and managing to provide the necessary impact.


The casting of the movie is a major highlight and the person heading it should be applauded. This motion picture features several characters which are just bang on perfect for their respective roles. The performances led by Vijay Sethupathi who displays a deep understanding of the character and the narration is impressive. He shoulders various emotions and the amount of subtlety, restraint, and believability he brings to the protagonist is so heartening to see. Ritika Singh known for Irudhi Suttru makes her mark during the last act of the movie with an array of expressions. Yogi Babu’s timing is just superb and he is really the star of the first half of the film.  A big list of supporting actors essays their roles to perfection from Nasser, Singam Puli, David, Vinodhini and the character named Nesan. 


The story by Anbu Chezhiyan  and the screenplay by the trio of the director, editor and the story writer is the biggest strength of the movie. A subtle comedy-drama with serious undercurrents is not new to the visionary behind Kaaka Muttai. The detailing and the nuanced layers bristle with quirky dialogues touching on various themes from trying to make a living in an alien land and the spiraling nature of lies. The film also talks of touts, brokers who suck the blood of the ill-informed, divorce and lawyers and the mature handling of Srilankan Tamil angle deserves special accolades.


The nonpreachy approach and the deft handling of various themes are the high points of this screenplay. The absence of the love at first sight and head over heels romance is heartening to note.  The detailing of the happenings of the family court and of a person who goes in search of a house on the low-income scale are noteworthy in this grounded and believable screenplay with interesting turns and situations. The comedy, performances, themes, dialogues, emotions have come together exceedingly well.


As such the pacing of the film is casual and justified but certain scenes could have been presented even more crisply which could have kept the audience more engrossed into the narrative and that is something that the director and editor could have worked on more. More justification and writing to the romance portions could have added more credence. The way the movie wraps up also lacks detailing and character motivations. These things could have elevated the movie even more.


This film establishes Manikandan strongly as one of the most versatile and exciting director’s working in the industry. Without any of the masala cinema formulae, this subtle comedy-drama manages to entertain, engross and convey timely relevant messages effectively.  Movies which doesn’t insult the intelligence of the audience and writers who yearn to provide value for the ticket price should be encouraged and celebrated. Aandavan Kattali is Manikandan’s hat trick triumph as a filmmaker.

Sriraman Srinivasan
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