Director: Ramesh Selvan
Cast: Sathyaraj, Ajay Raghav, Yasser, Ajay, Raghavendar, Thanikala Bharani
After action-centric films like Ulavuthurai and Jananam, director Ramesh Selvan returns to direction after a long sabbatical. Kalavaram, which was 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, the film watchable as long as he is in the frame.
A riot in Madurai is engineered by Adi Moolam (Bharani) a politician who had lost the local election. 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 the cop-minister-underworld nexus thwart their efforts, the quartet finding themselves in jail.
Student-protests force the government to appoint an inquiry 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. 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.
The riot scenes, however, are shot in a slipshod, stagey manner, as there is no feeling of watching a horrific incident.
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 weak content and inconsistent treatment, there’s not much conveyed.
The back story of the seven students and their camaraderie is a bore. 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 formula elements. The film has neither a heroine nor dream songs to distract, no inane comedy and overt glamour. Interesting in parts, a more coherent screenplay and consistency in treatment could have made it an engaging fare.