Tamizh cinema has grown in leaps and bounds technically but in story/script wise, it has achieved very good progress in dabbling with different genres and novel themes. In "Kazhugu", a similarly novel theme line has been chosen as the backdrop of the story. The movie revolves around the people who does the extremely challenging job of corpse retrievers in the Kodaikaanal hills. It shows a different side of world and people whom we are not accustomed or familiar with. In that sense, "Kazhugu" is intriguing to certain extent. Sathyasiva, a debutant has dared to come up with a script revolving dim characters and the trailers and teasers projected a thriller-kind of genre for this film.
Starting of with the protagonist Krishna. He has put in good effort to pull of the character of 'Sera' since it demands a good physical energy to portray such character but his emotions could have been much better. Especially in comedy portions where, good comedy timing is important. It's even more important to have one,when you have Karunaas and Thambi Ramaiah with you throughout the movie. Also he has to try to improve more on his voice modulation. With more experience, hope he can master the art of dubbing. Bindhu Madhavi, who did a small role in "Veppam" has done a small and sweet role in this movie. She has a good smile but then when it comes to acting, she has lots more to improve. She got her basic emotions right, but in some portions it could have been much better. Karunaas was good in his character role and it would be nice to see him more in such roles. His dubbing was very well done and the scenes done in the bar was a funny one! Thambi Ramaiah continues his good run in this movie too and he mixes serious and comedy into his role very well. His funny dialogue delivery adds more fun into his role, especially with the banter he shares with Karunaas. Jayaprakash has another grim role but his character was not very well utilized, considering the fact he plays the antagonist.

The movie has average technical works done. Pinida P.Shamdasani's costumes were limited but it does work for the movie since the movie demands such attires for the lead artistes. Remiyan has done a decent art work especially when it comes to the little houses, tea factory, interiors of Karunaas house and etc. Praveen K.L and Srikanth N.B does a neat job in this film as well, especially in the opening sequences besides the climax portions. T.Ramesh's stunt choreography was decent. The fight between the protagonist and the henchman, in the factory was well done. Satya.J's cinematography captures the edge of the high hills in Kodaikanal very well and the scenes done in the deep forest was beautifully shot. He maintained a grim and dark look throughout the film, thanks to the natural surrounding of Kodaikanal. Yuvan Shankar Raja's music was needed to make this film marketable and he did justice by delivering a hit song in "Aambalaikkum Pombalaikkum" ghana-song. The simple beats and quirky lyrics by Snehan makes the song a fun-filled one. It was neatly shot roadsides and the additional neat touch was delivered by dance choreographer Dinesh with his simple and enjoyable dance moves. Added to that Karunaas and Thambi Ramaiah did deliver their part into making the song a hit. The "Aathadi Manasudan" was done in montage sequences which had cute expressions from Bindhu Madhavi. "Paathagathi Kannupattu" is another montage song and it was wonderfully sung by Yuvan, which sounds like a soft lullaby. His background score was simple and adequate with the love bit music being the best score. 

Debutant Sathyasiva has come with a simple and straight-forward script but the story was not as gripping and thrilling as on expected. Especially in the second half, the movie didn't look like heading into anywhere and only late climax, we got to see some actions. He should have given more importance to the antagonist role done by Jayaprakash. What keeps us entertained though is the lovely banter shared by Karunaas and Thambi Ramaiah. The initial body-recovery scene, the wine bar sequence and the marriage sequences were done humorously. The dialogues by the director was differently and interestingly done. Especially regarding the corpses being retrieved, the spats between Karunaas and Thambi Ramaiah and also the love proposal methods by Thambi Ramaiah. The climax fight scenes were done in a violent way, and it could have been toned down a little.

"Kazhugu" offered a different and interesting backdrop for the audiences which can make them to sit up and take notice but in order to maintain the interest, the story should be gripping. The homework was very well done by the director, but the script work could have been much better to incorporate more suspense and thrills into the screenplay. Anyways, this movie is a welcomed effort and happy to see director Sathyasiva not succumbing to pressures of adding unnecessary commercial 'mass-masala' ingredients to pep up the script. "Kazhugu" is a decent time pass movie but could have been much better.

Ratings: 2.5/5 STARS



Vasanthabalan, a film-maker who makes films which revolves about deep human emotions and harsh realities of the unforgiving world, comes up with a period film this time. Vasanthabalan's handling of his script is a well-known fact and there i no doubts in his capabilities of offering a good film. His past records speaks for him with "Angaadi Theru" nearly missing the National Award and "Veyil" managed to get itself showcased in Cannes Film Festival. This time he has chosen to make a film based on India's National Academy of Letters/ Sahitya Akademi-winning novel "Kaaval Kottam" by Su.Venkatesan. Vasanthabalan has only taken a small subplot of the novel comprising 10-20 pages out of the 1000 pages and made it into a film. A film long in the making, it was much waited as Vasanthabalan has promised a racy and fast-paced entertainer. Did he deliver on his promise?

Characterization is very important for a period film because the artistes involved in such projects need to be as convincing as possible to portray the character that they play, or else it will fail to register in the minds of the viewers. The problem in "Aravaan" is that, all the characters were not properly etched out. The body language and dialogue delivery of most of the artistes was very contemporary in nature and did not reflect the 18-th century Madurai, which was portrayed in the film. Aadhi who was dishing out back-to-back failures in "Ayyanar" and "Aadu Puli" has done a good job, especially in scenes involving heavy physical movements such as the "Jallikattu" and racing sequences. His buff body is the result of extreme hard-work and he deserves a pat for it. A spirited performance from him and he was accompanied by another good performer, Pasupathy. It's been 3 years since the last we saw him and he too has not failed to deliver good performances. His hard-work is evident in the opening burglary sequence. Both Aadhi and Pasupathy has literally carried the film on their shoulders. Dhansikha and Archana Kavi dished out what was needed for their characters with Archana Kavi coming out as a better performer, though the former had more scenes. International performer Kabir Bedi was given a loose character with not much scope to perform. Singampuli's dialogue delivery do tickle the funny bones but its not in-tune with the timeline of the film. Bharath, Anjali, Swetha Menon and Sruthi Prakash makes cameo appearances to fill out the roles needed to push the story further. All the other extras should be credited and applauded as well for toiling in harsh conditions portrayed in the film.

S.Rajendran's costume department did a decent job with appropriate costume and detailings such as tattoos, jewelries and other accessories. Rocky Rajesh's stunts looked fake at certain sequences, especially when the "flying" effect comes into the fray. RK Vijaimurugan has done a wonderful job in the art department. His work on the village area brings to life the Madurai of the 18th-century and that too the life of thieves not kings and queens, only. Praveen KL and Srikanth NB's editing work was fine especially in the first robbery sequence and flashes of the good work comes sporadically throughout the film, though they could have shortened the length of the film, which was unnecessarily slow. Siddharth was brilliant with his cinematography. The opening robbery scene was the highlight with tight angles and interesting rotation shots, in the picturization of the houses. Also the running and chasing scenes in the forest as well as the "Jallikattu" scenes which were shot on normal photography camera's were very well made. Job very well done. Singer Karthik has made a decent debut in "Aravaan" as the music director. His songs vere simple and "Oore Oore" and "Nila Nila" being the pick of the lots. The former was the best shot song in the film with good camera movements and choreography, which kept the energy level of the song sustained throughout, and the latter with some postcard-worthy frames. "Naagamalai" and "Unnai Kollaporen" were done with montages and some good choreography evident in "Naagamalai" and also Vijaimurugan's good set-work of the local deity temple.

The script of "Aravaan" has its good and its weakness. On the positive aspects, this film manages to capture the attention of the audience due to its different periodic portrayal which revolves around an interesting group of ethnic tribes. Their culture, practices, lifestyle, custom are well portrayed and the "Oore Oore" song is the testimony of this statement. The minute details of the burglary methods of the tribal thieves, piqued the interest of the viewers. The hard-work of the entire crew is applaudable as its is no joke to film in barren lands with no basic necessities and its even more difficult to shoot action scenes in dense forests. Also, Su.Venkatesan's dialogues are a big help for the film. The flip side of the script is its length and screenplay. Vasanthabalan fails to sustain the excitement of the audience and the engrossing factor goes missing. The second half of the screenplay was not properly written with the movement in the timeline going back and forth which confuses audience, plus some sentimental and song sequences acted as speed-breakers to the pace of the script. A good suspense factor was kept secret until the climax of the film, but it was not put to use to its maximum effect, which pulls down the excitement level. Vasanthabalan could have avoided including additional stories and should have taken a better look at certain aspects of the screenplay, regarding the time-frame and appearance of the people. In the end, Vasanthabalan did come up with a message regarding the abolishment of capital punishment, but it doesn't really settle into the script well, and it baffles audiences on why he came up with that idea in the first place.

Vasanthabalan failed to keep his promise of producing an engrossing film but nevertheless, "Aravaan" is a good attempt at different cinema. A decent rating for the efforts of crew.

Ratings: 2.5/5 STARS