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Kallan Movie Review: A failed mission- Cinema express

Kallan Movie Review: A failed mission 

What sounds like an arresting story on paper, faces endless stutters in getting transferred to the screen

Published: 18th March 2022
Kallan Movie Review: A failed mission 

Passing on stories from one medium to another is a tricky business. An intriguing novel might not always translate into a similarly potent film. Kallan, in a way, suffers from a similar problem. What sounds like an arresting story on paper, faces endless stutters in getting transferred to the screen.

Director: Chandra Thangaraj
Cast: Karu Palaniyappan, Nikita, Maya Chandran, Namo Narayanan

For starters, the period crime drama gets all its basics wrong. Karu Palaniyappan is horribly miscast as the daring, young Velu. Though the character goes through a series of emotions like betrayal, helplessness, guilt, rage and love over the years, Palaniyappan chooses to put on a perennially annoyed look for some reason. Take the scene where Velu is cornered to make his first murder. An invested performance would have taken us through the whirlwind of thoughts he goes through during this ordeal, however, here we just get a bland dialogue to express regret. Of course, this disconnect with the audience is equally fuelled by the lack of finesse in direction, but it is impossible to not notice Palaniyappan's disinterest.

This 'period crime drama' does throw in snippets of information to establish the timeline by having people at tea shops listening to 'Un mela oru kannu aisa langadiyo' from Rajinikanth's Naan Mahaan Alla, and newspapers carrying headlines about the rift between team Jaya and team Janaki post-MGR's demise. The story also has an ample amount of 'crime' happening. But the film takes a back seat when it comes to establishing a solid drama, which in turn results in the lack of the protagonist's strong want. This 'want' is even more crucial when the story lacks a villain to spice up the proceedings. Velu here isn't ambitious, and to make it worse, directionless. Designing the protagonist as a victim of circumstances is one thing, but reducing him to a puppet of sorts isn't the wisest of ideas.

To be fair, Kallan isn't a film completely devoid of thought. The 'last man standing' play in the final act and the ultimate twist that follows, had the potential to salvage the film. But the damage caused is so much that the late remedy isn't fully effective. Though there is an army of supporting actors, only Maya Chandran makes her mark. Adding a bit of background to her character would have made a sea of difference in the climax, but director Chandra resorts to fleeting dialogues to explain Maya's shocking act.

Right from the scripting stages, it would have been clear that Kallan wasn't going to be a film that can be shot on a humble budget. So, it was shocking to see the obnoxious compromises undergone with the locations, set properties and VFX. The crucial jailbreak scene, especially, is so shoddy and amateur.

Kallan, in a way, feels synonymous to Velu's heist missions. The ambition is high, the plans are set too, but it ultimately collapses due to cluttered execution.

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