Remake is Best.......
Kaavalan is a remake of the Malayalam blockbuster Bodyguard starring Dileep and Nayanthara but in Tamil fails to deliver. Somewhere, the original seems to have been lost in translation! The screenplay and narrative flow of the film is ever so slow and too straightforward, lacking the necessary twists and turns to keep the audience engaged. The long-winded conversations on the cell-phone make a great portion of the film look like a mobile phone advertisement. It is only in the last 15 minutes or so, where the story dips into a surprise twist. The emotional scenes with Vijay, Asin and Raj Kiran here are moving, clearly the best part of the film where all of them bring out their best. This, admittedly, lifts the film a notch or two.
Looking at the failure of his previous films, Vijay has tried to move out a bit from his typical formula but, unfortunately for him, this is clearly not his comfort zone. The typical hero build-up is skipped in favour of a more 'realistic' treatment of his charatcer. However, his acting shifts from over-acting to lackluster and there is a lack of energy overall in his performance, the only saving grace being the fight and dance sequences where he comes alive. Some of the costumes and wigs in the dance sequences don't suit him a bit and care should have been taken about this.
The expectations from Asin's come back film in Tamil were high. However, from hairstyles to expressions, nothing has changed from her Ghajini (Tamil) days. What looked fresh and appealing then has now lost its novelty - time for the actress to do a rethink, both in terms of looks, styling and especially performance. Her face too seems to have become a bit haggard.
Of the rest of the cast, Mithra Kurien gets quite a lot of onscreen space alongside Asin and carries her role with confidence. She emotes nicely showcasing determination, jealousy and a ruthless streak to her character rather well. She is probably the best artiste in the film and the surprise package. Raj Kiran plays his role well - wherever he appears, he is able to hold the audience captive. Roja in a miniscule role is just adequate. Vadivelu's comedy is good in parts but overall it has feelings of deja vu now and therefore fails to evoke the consistent laughs it should.
Music by Vidyasagar is average but hummable. Yaradhu is worth mentioning and probably the best composed song in the film. Cinematography by Ekambaram is appealing and it stays with the pace of the film. His lighting of the fight sequences at night is especially remarkable. Editing by KR Gowrishankar leaves much to be desired, the film's pace is quite slack and some unnecessary scenes could have been edited to make it crisper.
All in all, Kaavalan is just about average in its best moments and has a somewhat redeeming last part but little else.