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Kaaviyyan

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When I went to the theatre this morning to watch Kaaviyyan, I was half-expecting the attendant to turn me down saying ‘padam release aagala ma’ as happens most weeks. Instead, he surprised me by deftly handing me a ticket. I was surprised once more when I entered the theatre.

Contrary to the usual mostly-empty seats, I had the pleasure of watching the film with people. So you could say I began watching Kaaviyyan in reasonably good spirits. I wish I could say the same about my mood when I walked out.

Kaaviyyan starts on a decent note. Akhilan Vishwanath (Shaam) is an Assistant Commissioner of Police, in the middle of a resettlement colony, flying a kite. He and his team are spying on some terrorists by clipping on a camera to the kite. Sounds unique right? Except, the kite looks like it has been drawn with MS Paint, and more unforgivably, defies the laws of physics.

But, I let this go; it was still too early to get worked up. They find the terrorists and save the day. (Stray thought: Why are terrorists always cooking when they are about to get caught?) Akhilan and the hacking expert™ Baskar (Sathyan) get tapped for a training program in the US. And as they take off, the film slowly goes downhill.

If I could use one word to describe Kaaviyyan holistically, it would be amateur. As a project that has been in production limbo for a while now, I could understand the budget constraints and the visual compromises. But the craft reeks of mediocrity. In an attempt to induce some pace in the narrative, the film cuts swiftly between shots.

Except, it feels like a badly-made collation made using free online editing software. Maybe they thought by moving through these sequences quickly, they can conveniently use the same shot multiple times in the same sequence.

But it gets too hard to handle. A 911-call operation centre looks more like posh BPO centre. There is a random song about ‘modern women’ where the female lead just aimlessly walks around. I guess someone forgot to tell her it was a song and not a photoshoot.

Had the writing been at least a tad cohesive, it would have made the mediocre visuals more palatable. The film does have a few new ideas. But these are pushed under so much stupidity in execution that it ends up hurting the film, and us even more.

Drones are used to detect fingerprints. A 911 call centre official spearheads the investigation more than Akhilan or any other cop. The plot twists only get more inane, and to top all this, there’s racism thrown in as well. When Akhilan speaks emotionally to a racist cop, about how efficient our police are, in… Tamil, and the baffled cop looks around for an explanation, I couldn’t help but laugh.

There’s a climax showdown where Akhil confronts the villain. With no electricity, Akhilan walks in using a torch and it is knocked off his hand. This is followed by a fight sequence where we only see the legs of both men for a couple of minutes.

I’m not talking Myskkin-esque, mind you. More like a very normal fight sequence, except we don’t see the arms that are moving, but only the comparatively less-active legs. At this point, one of the audience members started laughing uncontrollably saying, ‘enna da padam eduthu vechurukinga?’ I couldn’t but nod in agreement.

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