[Written Mar. 2009]
So I watched this one tonight, and I think Kaadhalan places near #1 as one of the worst Indian films I have ever seen. It is terrible. TERRIBLE. There is nothing I found interesting or engaging. It was unfunny, uneven, and seriously outdated. By the 26-minute mark I was squirming and wondering when the torture was going to end. It starts out sort of cute- a little village scene with a cute little donkey, but oh no! Suddenly a man sporting a mullet appears and later breaks the neck of an intruding policeman. Then Prabhu (Prabhu Deva) and his weird looking and unfunny friend try to pull off being college students (despite looking 15-20 years older). Then comes a political storyline with explosions and obligatory fight scenes that are so horrendously stupid they’re not even “so bad it’s funny”! It wasn’t until the 36-minute mark that I finally got to see some Indian Classical Dance, which is the whole reason I endeavored to watch the film. From YouTube clips online, I had gotten the impression the movie was all about Prabhu Deva trying to impress a classical danseuse (Shruthi, played by Nagma) by learning the art form. Well, that's just a tiny little part of it that would be best to only watch on YouTube.
It got *really* bad when Shruthi returns from a 2-day jaunt with Prabhu and two nurses come in to her bedroom to give her a test at her dads request. What kind of test might it be, she wonders? Suddenly the nurse puts on a glove and asks for Vaseline. What the hell? Are you kidding me? Yes, to my horror, my suspicions were correct- her dad orders her to “prove her virginity” since she “roamed around with dogs.” The camera actually lingers on a shot of the nurse lubing-up her finger and then Shruthi’s face as she cries through the ordeal. WTF? And in my two minute fast-forwarding journey through the rest of the film, I could tell there was some pretty nasty violence and torture. So the whole thing is one big suckfest.
The only positive things about the movie are the "classical" dance sequences (though way too short) and the song “Kadhalikum Pennin,” which is one of my favorite Tamil songs of late. The picturisation is pretty fun too. Apparently the soundtrack, composed by AR Rahman, was enormously popular back in ‘94/’95. And yes, Prabhu Deva is quite a flexible and quick little dancer.
I really hope I can find a good Prabhu Deva film to watch after this one that will forever wipe any trace of Kaadhalan from my memory.