Pandiraj steps away from his comfort zone of children-centric themes to the underworld-versus-common man plot. Having established his credentials as a maker who thinks differently, one felt he would give a new dimension to the age-old plot, but no such luck.
For, it’s all of what we have seen earlier and in a better way too. And wherever the director has tried to be ‘different’ and brought in some twists and turns, they seem contrived. The plot traverses Cuddalore and Chennai and back to Cudalore where the climax is played. For a time it seems like a road-film where the hero and the cop play the cat-and-mouse game.
The opening has Amudhan returning from abroad after a four-year stay. His wedding is finalised with his ladylove (Tresa) and he is elated. It’s a long flashback where Amudhan tells his buddies how the love story had developed. And of the fall back, that had made him leave the place. Since it is the same gang who were with him all through, it seems a pointless exercise. That too when the love track is insipid. Also touched upon here is the animosity of the businessman-gangster Thamba with Amudhan and his brother (Gopi leaves a mark). There is nothing fresh or exciting here either. A shot of Amudhan at a police station is repeated quite a few times. And it’s only much later that we get to see how it affected the hero’s life.
Vishal tries to make the best of the situation and does whatever is demanded of the role. Thamba (Madhusoodan fitting in suitably) is found killed and Amudhan becomes the key suspect. With nothing particularly interesting happening in the first half, we wait for the second to unfold. But there is not much improvement there. The narration takes the who-done-it mode with red herrings strewn all over in a shoddy way.
Also, it turns into a hotchpotch of situations with the characters shifting their stands often. If it was their strategy it was understandable. But it seems more like the director was not really clear about what he wanted from them. Hunted by the cop, it’s about how Amudhan gets to the root of the matter. And the final twist seems forced just for added effect. Neither exciting nor refreshing in its take, Kathakali disappoints.
Cast: Vishal, Catherine Tresa, Madhusoodan, Karunas, Mime Gopi