After action-centric films like Ulavuthurai and Jananam, Ramesh Selvan returns to direction after a long sabbatical. Kalavaram, a long time in the making, centres on a retired cop’s effort to punish the anti-social elements who had engineered a riot in Madurai. Sathyaraj playing the lead role is the key strength of the film which is watchable as long as he is in the frame.
The riot is engineered by Adi Moolam (Bharani), a politician who had lost the local election. Many lose their lives, including some students. These scenes are shot in a slipshod stagey manner - one does not get the feel of witnessing a horrific incident. The three goons responsible for the riots are arrested, but the cops free them for lack of evidence. Four students who had lost their friends in the riot, come forward to testify. But a cop-minister-underworld nexus thwarts their efforts and the quartet finds itself in jail. Thanikala Bharani as the main villain of the piece doesn’t leave much of an impression. The four actors who play the students are adequate in their roles. Student- protests force the government to appoint an enquiry commission headed by retired cop Vetriselvan. When his painstaking effort to bring the culprits to book is thwarted by the coterie, the cop decides to deal with the culprits in his own way. The role of a policeman has always suited Sathyaraj, and here too he plays it with conviction. The swift movement of the camera and the quick transition of scenes give an impression that the film is racy and fast paced. But with the content being weak and the treatment inconsistent, there’s not much conveyed.
The back story of the seven students and their camaraderie are bores. Instead of generating sympathy for the dead friends, it only slackens the pace. One can find shades of Kalloori here. Towards the end, the whole scenario loses its seriousness. What is appreciable is that the director has avoided some routine formulaic elements. The film has no heroine or dream songs to distract, nor any inane comedy or overt glamour.
The Verdict: Interesting in parts, a more coherent screenplay and consistency in treatment could have made Kalavaram an engaging fare.
Director: Ramesh Selvan
Cast: Sathyaraj, Ajay Raghav, Yasser, Ajay, Raghavendar, Thanikala Bharani