Deccan Chronicle

Movie Review | Kaiyum Kalavum: Magic without logic

Deccan Chronicle.| Ajit Andhare

Published on: November 6, 2022 | Updated on: November 6, 2022
Kaiyum Kalavum (Photo: Twitter)

Kaiyum Kalavum (Photo: Twitter)

OTT is constantly breaking the boundaries and pushing the envelope of story-telling. A recent shining example of this is ‘Kaiyum Kalavum’ on SonyLiv, originally a Tamil series but available in several other languages as well.

Written and directed by Roju, ‘Kaiyum Kalavum’ is a bizarre tale which has several genres overlapping. Roju who also plays the lead is initially an unnamed character who comes from a family which is cursed for generations. If he hears someone desire something, he has an itch, quite literally, to destroy it. On the other hand, we have Anbu (Sanchana) who is bad luck personified. She is a part of a thieving gang and it's mostly because of her their plans fail at the last moment.

Now, these two protagonists need to meet in order to get rid of their curse. While the boy is a dog trainer the girl is a thief. Their worlds are as different as chalk and cheese. So, the story traverses through some weird and outlandish situations with the help of equally wacky characters for this. And that’s the fun part.

‘Kaiyum Kalavum’ has eight parts and each deals with a new situation. However, the main story continues. The story is largely devoid of logic but is completely coherent. It’s not something that one may fall in love right from frame one. Only if you are able to survive the first two or three episodes, it will start growing on you. Every character, every situation here is intertwined. It exists for a reason. You need to have adequate patience to let itself unravel in due course of time. A housewife who wants to end her life because she is too happy or a librarian who wants to burn down his own library, or a lawyer who uses his profession as a front for pimping are not your everyday stories.

To some extent, Roju makes our job easy by roping in two narrators who sort of provide some explanation or a backgrounder as to what is going on in the story as well as give us a peek into Anbu and the boy's mind. In doing so he also breaks the fourth wall wherein the characters start having a dialogue directly with the camera (read audience). Simha and Chinmayi have done a great job as narrators.

Magical realism is not an easy or popular genre to handle. Marrying it with dark comedy makes it even more tough. Roju does a commendable job of this. However, as we reach the concluding episode we are left with a few unanswered questions.  Whether it is unintentional or a precursor to another season can not be immediately said.

Performance-wise Roju and Sanchana shine bright. Jeeva as PMC, the leader of a gang of pickpockets, is an absolute natural.  Ramya Nambessan as the housewife impresses.

The challenging job of editing has been done by Maniknandan B. and Radha Shridhar.  Background score by Sundarmurthy K.S. is light and fresh.

‘Kaiyum Kalavum’ also pays homage to legendary actor M.G. Ramachandran. All the major characters in the series are named after MGR movies. Though the series is available in several Indian languages, its best in Tamil with English subtitles. By doing so one can get a feel of local milieu as well as ensure that nothing much gets lost in translation.

Friends, ‘Kaiyum Kalavum’ is romba nalla (very good). Go, watch it.


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