Direction: Mani Ratnam
Cast: Karthi, Aditi Rao Hydari, RJ Balaji, Rukmani
Mani Ratnam, known for his romantic tales with a different note is at it again! Each time he surprises you with a fresh angle. Kaatru Veliyidai is the latest adorable love tale from the maverick filmmaker. Tweaking his lead characters with curious settings and narrating the tale in a refreshing manner, Mani is able to achieve his vision to a great extent.
Set against the backdrop of the Kargil war, we are introduced to two characters VC alias Varun Chakrabani (Karthi), a fighter pilot and a doctor Leela Abraham (Aditi Hydari Rao) at Srinagar. VC has met up with an accident and Leela has just joined the base as the duty doctor. Upon recovery, both fall madly in love with each other. Soon, Leela realizes that their relationship would not work out as they have contrasting characters. While VC is self-centered and egoistic in nature (a trait he acquires from his dad), Leela looks fragile but deep inside, is actually a strong person. Meanwhile, VC is captured by the Pakistani army and is held captive in the Rawalpindi prison. The predicament that arises out of their contradicting natures and whether they are back to the fold forms the remainder.
There is this one dialogue that depicts the entire film. When Dr Nidhi (Rukmani) tells Dr. Hussain (RJ Balaji), "I like you, you like Leela and she likes VC but VC likes only himself," that sums up the entire film.
With a toned physique and sporting a new look sans a mustache, Karthi is at his career best, be it in a male chauvinist act or as the one who regrets his past actions (he literally breaks down during the climax!). The extremely pretty looking Aditi simply floors you with her mind-blowing performance. The best part is that Mani treats his actors as characters he conceived, keeping away from Karthi's mass hero image. But the heroes of the film undoubtedly are musical genius AR Rahman and Ravi Varman whose visuals spellbind us. Both elevate the film by several notches. The songs are also seamlessly placed and never come in the way of the narrative.
On the downside, the scenes where Karthi escapes the Pakistani prison with his aides lacks logic and is not convincing. Yet another problem is that the movie moves at a slow pace throughout.
All said and done, Kaatru Veliyidai is a poetic romance that is worth experiencing.