Kee Review: A hypocritical film masquerading as a social thriller
An interesting one-line that does not add up to anything more
Getting the portrayal of a flawed character right is always a tricky proposition. If the filmmaker shows the protagonist as the hero, his actions become romanticised, and on the flip side, if he's painted in black too much, he ends up being no better than the antagonist. The lead of Kee, Sid (a) Siddharth (Jiiva) is a philanderer, who hacks into the personal data of girls and hits on the most vulnerable ones. Strangely, this flawed man is cherished by everyone and nobody seems to have an issue with his objectionable behaviour. Kee was promoted as a cybercrime awareness film, and in several interviews, Jiiva himself has mentioned that the film handles issues similar to the recent Pollachi case. So I found it shocking to see the acts of Siddharth being romanticised as much as they were in this film. Even when he mouths an extremely cringe-inducing 'pickup line' like, "Let me tell you what lingerie you're wearing," Vandhana (Anaika Soti) shows no sign of repulsion, but instead actually falls for it and they become "chikan chikan friends" (the term she uses to refer to friends with benefits). If you think that's outrageous, well, that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Cast: Jiiva, Nikki Galrani, Govind Padmasoorya
The core conflict of Kee can be summed up in one line: What if a righteous hacker tries to take down an invincible and incredibly evil hacker? But the major problem with the film is that the former isn't actually pure-hearted and the latter (Govind Padmasoorya) doesn't seem as wicked as he sounds. Unlike last year's cyber-thriller Irumbu Thirai, where the villain was a hardcore hacker and the hero, a stranger to the world of technology, the two men here are specialists in the field and the cyber face-off we expect between them from the word go never quite takes off. Siddharth is clueless about the mere existence of the villain for a major part of the film, and even when he gets to know about the chaos surrounding him, he hardly exhibits his hacking prowess.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the hypocrisy in the film permeates the comedy sequences too. RJ Balaji talks at length about the ill-effects of TASMAC in a scene, but, when a character offers him free liquor, he shifts sides within a split second. And this, I guess, is meant to leave us laughing our hearts out. Strangely enough, what actually makes us giggle is the death of an important character.
The depiction of children and women in a film which claims to champion their safety, is another shocker. A five-year-old boy harasses a girl younger than him, and there's a character who looks at her dark-complexioned college-mate and says, "Colour ah paaru! Unaku en friend ketkudha?" While the men in the film fight over serious life-and-death issues, Diya (Nikki Galrani) fights for...wait for it...a cup of paayasam. Despite all this, Kee still desperately tries to be a social message film every now and then. In the most random of moments, Siddharth pulls off a Shakthimaan and breaks the fourth wall to preach to the audience about cyber safety.
When a cyber-thriller called Kee was announced in Tamil, two years back, I was genuinely curious. Especially about the title. While some said it translates to a commodity that becomes overwhelming after a point, others said it refers to an unfavourable or chaotic situation. I tried really hard to find references or explanations for this interesting word in the film, but there weren't any. The only doors this Kee opened for the audience are the wrong ones.