Given all the recent hullabaloo and political drama in Tamil Nadu, Kaththi has managed to sail through it and hit the theaters this diwali. The story has an age-old formulaic pattern adapted from MGR period, where look-alikes swap places to solve problems. Thus in Kaththi, ARM has provided Vijay with a contemporary issue. But does the hype and reputable combo of Vijay and Murugadoss live up to such expectations?
The movie opens up interestingly with a chase scene where Kathiresan aka Kaththi (Vijay), a smalltime thief escaping from Kolkatta prison at the wee hours and cops run after him. A freeze shot reveals that Kaththi is actually aiding the police to hunt-down a convict who had fled. However, Kaththi manages to escape and reaches Chennai and decides to leave the country with the help of his friend Ravi (Satish), also a thief. He changes his plans after meeting Ankita (Samantha) at the airport and it was love at first sight for him. The same night he witnesses a shootout on the road and was shocked to see the victim –Jeevanandham(also Vijay) who looks identical to him. Kaththi decides to impersonate Jeeva which leads to the latter landing up at jail. Soon, he realizes who actually Jeeva is, that he is a social activist and hydrologist by profession who fights for the farmers of his village Thannoor whose farmlands are being usurped by powerful multinational Cola company head Chirag (Neil Nitin Mukesh). Having understood the intensity of the situation, Kaththi has a change of mind and how he accomplishes the task left by Jeeva forms the rest.
Vijay as Kathiresan in a author backed role does a neat job to satiate his fans playing his role packing with punches, humor, romance , right emotions and of course his forte – breezy dance movements. Vijay’s lengthy speech with the press towards the end earns lot of appreciation. On the contrary, the director has etched a weak characterization for Jeevanandham. Alright, he fights for a cause, but beyond that he is projected neither brainy nor brawny. For example, in the climax scene Jeeva is shown as a mere spectator when Kathiresan takes on fifty goons. Hence it becomes difficult to empathize with his character. Samantha hardly has anything to do except to appear in song sequences and in few scenes here and there without any dialogues. Neil Nitin Mukesh as the suave baddie is good. Satish manages to evoke laughter in few scenes. The first half gives a documentary feel and bit tame.
Murugadoss brings to the fore critical social issues like farmers suicide, water scarcity, senior citizens’ plight, media who only cares for sensational news for their TRPs (gone bit overboard), rundown on multinationals who expand their wings with selfish motives etc. At times it looks too preachy. Wish Murugadoss could have opted for a tauter screenplay. Though Anirudh’s couple of numbers is already a hit, their placements leave a lot to be desired....