Kalangalil Aval Vasantham Movie Review: Ineffective writing hurts this well-intentioned film
Kalangalil Aval Vasantham in every way is a self-aware, simple film that aims only for the ceiling instead of the skies
Film after film, year after year, we have seen our heroines play happy-go-lucky, shallow characters, whose sole purpose in the story is to woo the hero. Carrying the psyche of Mr Bean and the looks of Barbie, these characters are usually grouped under the wide term of 'loosu ponnu'. Well, the time has finally arrived to turn the tables as director Raghav Mirdath does a role reversal and presents Tamil cinema's very own 'loosu paiyan' hero in his debut, Kalangalil Aval Vasantham. Kaushik Ram's Shyam has a picture-perfect look and does silly things that are occasionally funny, but completely lacks a personality. When has a lacklustre personality ever come in the way of romance in our movies? Anyway, Anjali's Radhe falls head over heels for him and proposes to him within 5 minutes of knowing each other. After all, if Kamal Haasan's Raghavan can go, "Partha rendu nimishathulaiye ketrupen" to his lady love, why should boys have all the fun?
Though these interesting role reversals give the initial momentum to the story, it hits a major roadblock when Kalangalil Aval Vasantham becomes about Shyam's frenzy for films. Yes, he is also a self-proclaimed 'cinema paithyam' who consumes films like oxygen and apes the persona of heroes. Though this lesser-explored trope sounds like a great idea on paper, it is translated onscreen in the most uninspiring fashion. For instance, before making love with his wife for the first time, he preps by googling 'top first night scenes of Tamil cinema' and finally ends up walking out of the bedroom because he saw the scene from Mouna Ragam. Aside from the rare occasions of admirable naivety, Shyam goes on exhibiting such idiocies, but they get glossed over by Radhe as she finds most of them to be cute, though no one else will. In a rather interesting move, the film calls Shyam the male version of Santhosh Subramaniam's Haasini. But Haasini feels like a rocket scientist when compared to Shyam's thought process. We never understand why Shyam is so fascinated about lifting ideas from cinema, especially when it could cost him his marriage. A great amount of damage control could have been done by adding effective humour to the script. But the unfunny dialogues in supposed-comical sequences only position him as a nonsensical person, instead of a funny one.
Director: Raghav Mirdath
Cast: Kaushik Ram, Anjali, Hiroshini, Vigneshkanth, Anita Sampath
Despite the lack of support on the writing front, debutant Kaushik sells this tricky character really well. The way he owns this man-child role is quite admirable considering there aren't many references for it in Tamil. Though he has major scope for improvement in the emotional segments, he fits the bill for the rest. Anjali, who proved her calibre in her debut Nedunalvaadai, delivers one more nuanced performance as the over-achieving wife, who has a hard time handling her husband. On the other hand, Hiroshini, who plays the on-and-off love interest of Shyam, delivers effective laughter with her limited screen presence. In the hands of inept lead actors, Kalangalil Aval Vasantham, would have been a really hard watch, but the trio take it upon themselves to make the scenes work as much as possible.
The other factor I majorly liked in Kalangalil Aval Vasantham is that the problems in the relationships spring up not because of misunderstandings but because of suppressed emotions. In most romcoms, directors tend to sprinkle a series of misunderstandings between characters in the second act only to be conveniently solved in the climax. However, in this film, two dissimilar people are placed within four walls and are left with each other long enough to generate chaos. Interestingly, every character in the film takes time to verbalise why they feel hurt, and how things could have been handled differently. When a story touches upon topics like lust, intimacy and love after marriage, it treads along the dangerous line of being judgemental and flippantly using labels. Points to Raghav for handling these themes with utmost diginity. Usually, the girl who doesn't get the guy in a love triangle is forgotten or becomes a saint-like figure in the climax. But here, even she gets a really warm closure.
I also liked how Kalangalil Aval Vasantham in every way is a self-aware, simple film that aims only for the ceiling instead of the skies. The film revolves around three people and the dynamics of their relationships. It doesn't aspire to tell an untold story, convey a social message or create awareness on an issue. The film stays a mile away from commercial checklists like a kuthu dance number, track comedy or needless melodrama... until the climax. Whatever was built with sensible writing till then is crushed into pieces with the entry of an external villain. A long weepy monologue and theatrics follow ensuring that you forget the good things about the film. This final act villain is very much a villain to the film itself as the sequence leaves the viewers emotionally dead and detached from the characters.
Several times in the film, Radhe looks at Shyam and says,"Unakku idhu puriyaadhu da, nee dhadhi, adhunaaladhaan enakku unna pudikum!" How I wish I was as ignorant as Shyam in KAV to see past its terrible final act.