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Kathavarayan Kathavarayan

Kathavarayan - Movie Review

Behindwoods Movie Review Board
Movie review

Starring: Karan, Vidisha, Vadivelu, Kadhal Dhandapani, Ilavarasu

Direction: Salangai Durai

Music: Srikanth Deva

Production: Silver Jublee Films

When issues of contemporary social relevance form the background of a story there is a general feeling that it will not be a regular entertainer. This feeling is right to a large extent- movies that explore social themes are not full-fledged commercials, like Ammuvaghiya Naan. Then there are movies that try to deal with a social issue but get so carried away by the commercial demands that the movie ceases to honestly look at the issue and becomes just another movie, like Rameshwaram. Then there are movies that are neither here nor there, where an issue is depicted but not dealt with, the commercial angle is included but not given enough time to entertain the audience- Kathavarayan falls under this genre.
The movie deals with illicit liquor (hooch, arrack or sarayam), not a theme that the urban audiences may be able to connect with. Karan plays a hooch distiller who has a completely different way of brewing. He uses herbs, natural extracts and manufactures hooch that is not harmful, or not as harmful as the ones made by using batteries and an assortment of other toxic substances (no wonder hooch tragedies kill so many every year). Karan’s business booms while that of the traditional brewers’ falls drastically. Through this Karan, even though unwittingly, makes a lot of enemies. Meanwhile, there is a socially active young girl (Vidisha) from the city who comes to this place and sees the big hooch racket that is on here. She meets Karan and is determined to stop him from carrying on with this illegal activity, but Karan is not easily convinced with what she says. A disappointed but determined Vidisha gets Karan into serious trouble. The rest of the story shows Karan in the city, trying to meet and settle scores with Vidisha, but then ends up rescuing her from some grave problems that she has got herself into due to her reactive personality.
As a movie, Kathavarayan is hard to categorize. As said earlier, it is neither here nor there, but each portion of the movie has been taken fairly well. The movie has a very pertinent message about illicit liquor and its harms that are shown in such a descriptive way that would even do a government documentary proud. The scene where Vidisha conducts a stage play in the village to educate people about the harmful effects of hooch using a cocktail of classic superhit Tamil songs from films like Olivilakku, Vasanthya Maligai and Padaiyappa is enjoyable.

Karan does a pretty neat job as the brewer and vendor of the special liquor, the only weak link being the rural slang that does not suit him. Vidisha too passes muster. There is also Radha (Sundara Travels fame) who provides all the glamour required for a
movie. The laughs provided by Vadivelu who keeps appearing in little doses throughout the movie is another positive and there are others like Ilavarasu and Muthukalai who do not create much of an impact. Kadhal Dandapaani does another stereotypical, loud mouthing baddie, nothing unexpected here.

On the technical front, there is nothing much to mention. A couple of songs have been shot in Malaysia which are easy on the eye without being spectacular, a better score by Srikanth Deva would have helped matters here.

Summing it up, Kathavarayan is a small film made with good intentions and commercial compulsions. Its theme, being alien to urban audiences, may put the film out of favor with the A center audiences. But it does stand a chance in the smaller centers. Debutant director Salangai Durai may not have made a dream debut but this start is not disappointing.

Verdict : A middling film made with middling means

Kadhal Endraal Enna
Pandi Kadhal Endraal Enna Arasangam Silandhi Kuruvi
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