KALAKALAPPU

A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam


Cast: Napolean, Jayaseel, Udhaya, Vijayalakshmi, Ponnambalam, Ramesh Khanna
Music: Deva
Direction: Vishwa

Kalakalappu is another movie centred around family relations. After a a lightweight first half, the director gains some respect by providing the seed for a strong story and adding the right ingredients to make it interesting. But the poor screenplay and non-charismatic cast fail to translate the story into something that consistently watchable.

Kuzhandhaivel(Napolean) is the head of a happy family consisting of his wife Thilaka(Jayaseel), daughter, mother-in-law and sister-in-law Divya(Vijayalakshmi). Karna(Udhaya), a classmate of Divya in college, enters the house as a servant after losing a bet but gradually, he and Divya fall in love. Thilaka knows about their romance but before she can inform the rest of the family, she dies in an accident. So the family now decides that Divya should wed Kuzhandhaivel.

The first half of the movie offers almost nothing worth recommending. The director's way of showing us that Napolean's family is very affectionate and close-knit is amateurish (they write letters to each other though they live in the same house!) and the romance between Udhaya and Vijayalakshmi is feeble. The director tries to move the flimsy story along with comedy but only a few of the sequences make us laugh. Napolean's wife's death after knowing about the love affair between Udhaya and Vijayalakshmi and the arrangements to wed Napolean and Vijayalakshmi mirror the situation in Hum Aapke Hain Kaun but the director thankfully introduces a few changes in the subsequent proceedings.

The fact that the cast has no big names lends some unpredictabilty to the latter half of the movie and the arrival of Vijayalakshmi's friend Mini adds some legitimate confusion to the mix. As Mini accuses Udhaya of cheating her and Udhaya refutes the allegations, some seeds of doubt are sown in our minds as to which of them is telling the truth. Happenings like the friend's pregnancy add some genuine suspense about the path the movie is going to take. The final twist is also quite good though the way revelation comes about is rather low-key and fails to make the necessary impact.

Ponnambalam, who has been regularly playing roles with a mixture of both villainy and comedy since Thai Porandhaachu, gets another such role with more accent on comedy. Though his initial promise to get even with Napolean seems like that of a regular villain, his subsequent attempts to gain his friendship and the backfiring of the attempts turn him into a comedian. The scene where he ransacks his own house anticipating Napolean's arrival is one of the scenes where he succeeds in making us laugh. Ramesh Khanna is the regular comedian and raises some laughs with his frequent one-liners, especially when trying to prove to the rest of the family that Udhaya is not really dumb.

Napolean, now an MLA, is calm and collected most of the time and even gets a chance to dress up as Lord Rama. Vijayalakshmi, who looked quite promising in Friends, takes a step backwards here. Udhaya, seen in Tirunelveli plays his role well but has to improve his voice modulation. Ponnambalam's assistant successfully imitates Vadivelu with his looks, voice and gestures. Deva's tunes are passable.