Lovers caught in contrasts

Movie Review

Lovers caught in contrasts

Kaatru Veliyidai
Tamil (U/A)**
Cast: Karthi, Aditi Rao Hydari, R J Balaji, Rukmini Vijay Kumar, Shraddha Srinath
Director: Mani Ratnam

Kollywood’s pasha of romance — Mani Ratnam — is back. But his 25th film is a pale shadow of his luminous past.

Ratnam seems to have lost his Midas touch over the years. Pallavi Anupallavi, Geethanjali, Agni Natchathiram — the man who shone so brilliantly is nowhere near his gems lately.

His Tamil-Telugu bilingual Kaatru Veliyidai - Cheliyaa, turns out all hype and hoopla, a disappointing fare. Abjectly snail paced and set against Kargil skirmishes, the film’s saving grace is its postcard cinematography of locations (Srinagar, Belgrade, Leh, Ladakh) by Ravi Varman.

The feisty romance between airforce fighter pilot Varun and doctor Leela Abraham lacks the necessary frisson to make it a sublime tale. The highbrow romance lacks the soul and warmth of a convincing drama.

Told in flashback, Kaatru Veliyadi — whose wafer-thin narrative speaks of how two divergently opposite characters (Varun aka VC: egotistic, dysfunctional and domineering; Leela: submissive, docile, yet strong-willed) strike up combustible chemistry — fails to engage despite familiar Ratnam flourishes. His unconvincing scripting simply does Kaatru Veliyidai in.

The film’s other attraction is the symphonic score by A R Rahman. Karthi tries his best, while it is Aditi who steals the show with a power-packed performance.
The film has its moments but Mani magic is sorely missing.

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