Cool Buddies

Kanmani! Want to fall in love with you… [by Sharada]

Posted in Uncategorized by Ratheesh & Sharada on May 12, 2015

Right from the way they meet, unconventionally, in a railway station, and an engaging scene of them trying hard to communicate across people in a church, the movie draws you towards them. You start living with these two young, spirited and carefree people as they start their unexpected, spontaneous romance. We laugh with them, we fear for them, we cheer for them. The young couple, bold and ambitious, both equally passionate about their own career choices and unable to “let go” of their personal goals, decide to settle for a “no strings attached” relationship. The choice of talented, bubbly Nithya Menon and Dulquer Salmaan pair adds the right amount of freshness to the film.

The film, through its combination of crisp dialogues, a well blended background music and brilliant cinematography achieves what every film aspires to do – provide an experience. When you forget that you are watching a film, when you forget the names of the actors, and that they are acting, when you forget to notice camera angles, you move into a zone where you are completely involved. Your heart races in anticipation, you unknowingly shed a tear and you smile when something nice is said. You start connecting your life with those of the characters, you start believing you are them. This is when a film becomes brilliant; when it touches you. Mani Ratnam, known for his strong hold on relationships, strikes a chord with this film. He is able to give you the experience of falling in love. The film will make you want to fall in love all over again.

If it would have been just this, it probably would have given you an one-sided view of love. He goes deeper when we are introduced to an older couple, equally lovable. The silent, gentle husband played brilliantly by Prakash Rai, who captures you without imposing his overpowering presence, yet manages to hold your attention with his simple, gentle gestures. The extremely lovable, forgetful wife, played by Leela Samson, provides the well-timed comic relief, giving us a lighter side view of the agonizing, heart wrenching disease, Alzheimer’s. The mature love between them, as viewed by the young couple and how it changes their relationship is what keeps the film moving forward. The scenes of carefree life of the young couple, their adventures in love are juxtaposed against the committed and grounded relationship of the older ones. The young couple slowly start realizing what they would probably look like when they grow older. When the romance fades away, what is left is pure love, an invisible bond that makes you love your spouse unconditionally.

Where the film wins is in the way it captures the right situations, emotions and behaviour of all its characters. You can connect to almost all the characters including the strict brother and the very talkative and suspicious sister in law. You know these people. Seeing them on screen immediately makes you smile. It retains the humour till the end and manages to create emotions without being melodramatic.

One aspect where I might differ from most others was in the way the second half looks forced. Although it takes a very long time to reach the point, there is a certain hurriedness to get to a closure. You start feeling let down as the story loses its spontaneity, boldness and tries hard to become clichéd. I felt it would have been much better to have left it as it was, without having to force a logical ending, giving a feeling that it is the only way. For someone whose dreams would have taken flight imagining the possibilities of a “live-in” relationship, the eventual, conventional end would leave them cheated. The film could have ended the way it was, and in fact, would have made it shorter and crisper. Yet, the film wins because of its smaller moments that are like precious gems strung together to make a beautiful necklace.

Mani Ratnam has definitely tried to bring in some elements of contemporary youth, the “live-in” relationship goes down smoothly, but some others like the ultra glorious life of a software professional, the “forced” video gaming theme that appears in the beginning as well as in between, some of the songs, which can be called experimental, create the unnecessary distractions to the beautiful canvas. It breaks the flow, unintentionally and you start thinking about that instead. The film would have been complete even without these, in fact, probably, would have been better.

For someone like Mani Ratnam, who has already delivered his best with Roja, Bombay long ago, it is unfair to compare his latest work with his earlier ones. This film does not in any way stand up to the high standards he has set himself by his earlier work. Yet, to be fair, it is a sparkling love story, just like its title “Kanmani”, made with a pure heart and has the right elements to touch you; Although, it might not stay with you for as long as you would expect it to.

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