Click, click, and click! You might wonder why the review is starting with a meaningless piece of literature, but well, it is a tribute to the star of this film - the camera. Director KV Anand who was previously a photo journalist has made this film amidst high expectations and with extreme care. It has every ingredient of an entertainer - a juicy premise, a good star cast, foot tapping music and of course interesting foreign locations and the director’s love for making stylish and flamboyant films.
Ko is the story of the entwined lives of an adventurous, honest, astute photo journalist Ashwin (Jiiva) and an aspiring young politician Vasanthan (Ajmal). Renu (Karthika) and Saro (Piaa Bajpai) are Ashwin’s colleagues and fellow journalists who also get sucked into Vasanthan’s political aspirations and election campaigns. Does Vasanthan achieve his goal? What does he do to achieve them? Ko answers these questions.
The director has aptly mixed intelligent and commercial cinema in Ko. The film making is nearly flawless and excels in places where he brings in slice of life incidents to invoke humor. The way the photo editor always finds a fault with Ashwin’s pictures despite them being good is an example. The events that hold the film together are fresh and albeit a straight forward story, it offers some interesting twists and turns that makes the audience eager for more. Another commendable aspect is that both the heroines actually have a role to play and are not mere glam dolls.
Jiiva as Ashwin once again proves that he is a versatile actor. The body language and obsession of a photographer to click pictures are brought out well by Jiiva and we wonder if anyone else would have done this role as well as he has. Among the others in the lead cast it is Piaa with her comic timing who scores a tad higher than Karthika and Ajmal. Her small yet meaty role gives her scope and she has a good screen presence. She shows her prowess in the scene where she gets emotional knowing Ashwin loves Renu and not her. Karthika has very expressive eyes and looks good in saree but her costumes in the song sequences could have been better. Ajmal is a perfect choice to play an aspiring politician - his looks, build and dialogue delivery elevates the character he plays.
Special mention to Bose Venkat who makes a huge impact with his acting and proves that one doesn’t need big roles to make a mark. He shines in the scene where he makes some revelations to Jiiva. He mouths strong and sensible dialogues that will evoke applause from the audience. All these five actors have managed to overshadow the performances of seasoned artists like Kotta Srinivasa Rao and Prakashraj. Jagan who plays the role of Ajmal’s friend has a mix of humor and seriousness in his dialogues that makes us think and laugh at the same time.
Dialogues are one of the strong points in the film. Songs which are already chartbusters have been picturised well and are a feast for the eyes and the ears. Yennamo Yedho, Amali Thumali and Venpaniya are visual treats from cinematographer Richard. Surprisingly, Aga Naga which features several celebrities like Tamannah, ‘Jeyam’ Ravi, Harris Jeyaraj etc doesn’t live up to the hype it garnered. The special phantom camera used in the climax is a good effort and Peter Hein’s stunt together makes it more gripping. Art direction in the opening bank heist, set in backdrops of a hotel in Pondicherry, needs a special mention. Colourful and insightful photographs that make an appearance as the credits are dished out is creative.
On the downside, the narration of the film is a bit slow and at times has songs cutting into the interesting narrative, making the audience impatient for the scenes to resume. The Venpaniye song in the second half of the film is misplaced and is an example for what is said above. The movie spans for over 2 hours and 45 minutes which might also prove to be a dampener, though there are no scenes in the film that is unimportant. Cinematic liberties are allowed but the director has slightly overdone it. The very beginning where Jiiva does somersaults in his bike to capture photos is an overdose of cinematic liberty.
The most admirable aspect is the fact that despite the slumps in narration, the film manages to engage and has us hooked to the proceedings from the word go and carries us to an interesting and intelligent climax. The twist in climax is the biggest plus. Overall, Ko impresses, entertains and is likely to click with all kinds of audience.
Verdict: A stylish commercial entertainer!