Kadal : Mani shot.

Kadal :  or why we make movies.

This is a clarification. I love maniratnam films. I like their good intention I like the wildly successful experiments(dil se, Bombay kannathil mutthamittal) when a cinematographer- director  combination clicks, even if the director benefits from the fluency of the cameraman’s language without quite understanding it completely. I love how the combination works, the director would set out the vision for the story in an eonomic verbal thread, the camera would render it , and the result would be sheer poetry

So why the fuck is maniratnam still making movies?

Kadal comes out like a lunatic raving nightmare with spaces of absolute lucidity. It feels like one was watching the onset of alzimers in an old poet,wheeled out to make an exhibition of himself. you come back home and rush to watch ravanan….pallavi anupallavi….roja….again to reassure yourself.It IS deterioration of narrative motor skills. you DID NOT dream up the magic from his earlier films. KADAL IS the mess.

I guess the film is an hommage to the Backwater films from kerela.  (kutty sranku, G Aravindan’s films..esthappan….) and also suspect that the well intentioned director was trying to film something about Indian christians in tamil nadu. Just that the film  makes eveyone(and not just orthodox christians) want to slit their wrists in frustration.

Spaces of lucidity

The film suffers from its spaces of absolute lucidity. some compositions  are a photographer’s delight. Portrait shots from the street work are very well. some sequences (specially crowd sequences ) are like nothing you have seen in indian cinema. but Rajeev menon doesn’t get away with compliments alone. Camera subverts the catatonic semblence of the director’s voice. It doesn’t OVERRULE it with an alternative narrative,(like some of santosh’s work can sometimes do), it just sings a tune independant of the film . It feels like you are watching a three hour long commercial for Mindscreen institute couched as a public service message about india’s poor.

The other mistake I think he’s making is , all bombast aside, maybe he should have chosen a non digital  camera. You need to dedicate your life to MAKING and ALTERING colors in digital images (or at least get some serious training) for  your vision to get translated to “natural eye colors” in Digital cameras. Santosh sivan is there. Maybe Ravi K Chandran is…but good cinematographers like Madhu Ambat have just stuck to excellently shot film camera work, and have emerged the better for it.

There’s reason I say this. if you are shooting a 30 second spot,  the bombast/gimmickary of digital photography overcomes the fact that images look unreal because digital sensors are somewhat disproportionately skewed to the better lit portions of your image. But if it’s gimmick after gimmick for three hours, your mind has caught on to the fact that there is a camera intermediating the story and the illusion of reality you are trying to create through the narrative is lost . It is not as if images should not look stylized , but understanding how to deliver an absolute natural texture of your image’s color  would , I would think be an essential skill for a feature film cinematographer.

Patronizing Bala:

Except for a couple of lucid sequences the film comes across as a patronizing version of a Bala film.(pitamahan) (I ought to feel offended on behalf of all poor christian fisherfolk).The parts that work are the early ones where the child crying for his dead mother. Compelling. Thulasi Nair does absolutely amazing work,even if she is somewhat overworked, and Gautam Karthick’s charishma is wasted, although well photographed.

The music is a complete what the fuck.??!! there’s a sequence where they set gospel music to something tht looks like a fashion shoot for soudi arabian women in a hijab that made me  slow walk (back to screen) to the toilet until the song ended. I also found the fashion shoot in the andamans …..sad ….considering the weighty nature of the narrative.

Are you patronizing us(the audience?)

All in all I came away wondering why in the name of hell did they wheel out a paralyzed maniratnam brain to give us the benefit of his atrophy. do we enjoy making a spectacle of a once good director!? Enough. I call for graceful retirement. I will always have Geetanjali.


About rameshram

Name : Ramesh Ram... Email Address : Cdrakenc@gmail.com (don't even ask) Blog: (never updated) http://ramesh.journalspace.com Height/ Weight: 6'1 175 (varies between 160 and 185) Color of hair/ eyes black/ brown Bald? Nope (not yet, but give me 20 years.) Interests: Film (Bollywood/international indie), Travel (Germany/Japan/Central America/Sout/east/west Asia/ Northern Africa), Gizmo geek, Clubbing... What do I like in a good movie?: Women, Music, Auters, Special effects, Style. What do I like in a bad movie?: Women, Music, Auters, Special effects, Style. Favorite Critic: International: Bazin Domestic: J Hobermann Indian : me. (noone else comes close ...India or here..) Best quality: Humility. Outspokenness. Warmth Worst quality: Intolerence Favorite color : Yellow Black Blue Favorite Perfume : men: Grey Flannel(Geoffery Beene) Women: Celine dion: Obsession Boxers / briefs : Boxers Did I inhale: And how! Author: Marquiz, Rushdie, Murakami, Jong Last Book: The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton, Catherine A. Liszt Music : Patricia Kass, Alejandro Sanz,Nina Simone, Amir Diab Sports person: uh..me? What am I usually in : White briefs and tees. Chianti or Burgandy: Chianti Food: French Japanese(street/fast food). Saw and liked: No Country for old men, Lust Caution Saw and disliked: Nishabd Didnt see: Aaja Nach le. Call me: Write me first.
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4 Responses to Kadal : Mani shot.

  1. dear writing review regarding one hard effort with in 5 mint is very simple ,any blody fool can do that.but making such a movie is a long process,after a long yeares of direction also if i felt some simplenes ,cutenes, and some heart touching scenes in kadal that is ofcorse a success of movie,but once i read your review i felt your trying to be rich in one day,
    my review about kadal
    music n bgs ,,brilliant
    camera work :outstanding
    first half :very good
    story n screenplay :little draging
    my money :totally worth
    far better than some mass masala movies with out any logics.

  2. rameshram says:

    I will give this much. The clear parts of the film would have played much better if they had set it in the 17th or 18th century and made the arjun character a pirate.

  3. rameshram says:

    also..just to be absolutely clear, if it didn’t show through in the review….I don’t dislike the movie BECAUSE of sagaya mary’s broken leg. I find it failing in its conceits INSPITE of it….

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