Apr 18 2017
Kadamban falls in the same category as films like Kaththi. It addresses an important, topical issue and builds a hero-centric story around it. The issue here is deforestation and though the film itself is simplistic, hero Arya’s lower star wattage allows it to be more focused while the issue itself leads to a unique setting and good action sequences.
Arya plays the eponymous hero, one among the tribe of people living in Kadambavanam in the hills. The overhead shots giving us a bird’s-eye view of the lush green hills are gorgeous and the film doesn’t spend a lot of time in introducing us to the key characters. There’s Rathi(Catherine Tresa, who somehow manages to fit in better here than she did in Madras) who pursues Kadamban for a short but uninteresting romantic track(even a situation that seems to be building up to something similar to the murungakkai scenes in Mundhanai Mudichu ends in comedy). There’s Rathi’s brother who harbors animosity towards Kadamban. And for some comedy, there’s a man(Murugadoss) who can’t stop making babies.
When a woman worries about impending bad luck after hearing birds shrieking atop the mountains, the scene immediately shifts to a businessman(Deepraj Rana) and his brother deciding to drive the tribals out to lay their hands illegally on the limestone deposits under the ground. The plans they lay to move the villagers to the base of the hill are reasonable but they go on for too long especially since the results of the plans are known. They would’ve probably also worked better with some suspense(for instance, the loyalties of a couple of characters could’ve been revealed later).
Eventually it falls upon Kadamban to save the day (Arya has worked on his physique and it helps in making the action sequences convincing. His diction has also improved and as a result, his short monologues against deforestation sound heartfelt and spirited). The scenes where the tribals are attacked are staged well with the chaos captured accurately. Some thought has also gone into the climactic fight as the tribals use a number of crude, hand-made weapons against the bad guys (actually all the action sequences are staged well. The introduction scene that sees Kadamban leap off a cliff to collect honey from hives under some outcroppings and a fight sequence in the forest between him and a couple of poachers are also impressive).
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