Review: We seem to have come to a stage where a Sasikumar film could either be a hit or miss. After the underwhelming Thaarai Thappattai, there was the engaging Vetrivel. After the impressive Kodiveeran, we got the bland Bale Vellaiyatheva. Right from the scene when the actor is introduced in Kodiveeran, the film gives you the feeling that it could end up in the ‘miss’ list. And by the time we get to the intermission, our feelings about the film are strengthened. This ranks among the weakest films in the actor’s career.
The reason — its writer and director Muthaiya. Right from his first film, Kutti Puli, his films, set in the rural hinterlands, have revolved around hot-tempered men and emotional women. He faltered with Kutti Puli, but managed to strike a balance with these elements with Komban and then Marudhu. But, with Kodiveeran, his formula has become dated. When the antagonist, Villangam Vellaikaran (Pasupathy, who tries his best in a cardboard cutout of a role) says, “Naan unakku Yaman” and Kodiveeran (Sasikumar, in yet another formidable-man-with-a-heart-of-gold role) responds, “Appo naan unakku Sivan”, their machismo feels hollow this time. And when Kodiveeran’s sister, Parvathy (Sanusha), boasts, “Aniyayatha thatti kekka Kannan varuvaana theriyaadhu, aana enga annan varuvaan,” it feels so cliched.
The plot revolves around this doting brother and sister and how Kodiveeran takes on Vellaikkaran to save her husband Subhash (Vidharth, in a walk-on part), a RDO who is after Vellaikaran’s brother-in-law Adhigaaram (Inder Kumar). There is also another sister — Subhash’s sister Malar (Sanusha), who functions as Kodiveeran’s love interest.
Even though this feels like a familiar storyline, the film could have been engaging if the directed had written scenes that were just that bit different from the usual fare. But the problem here is that its every plot point is predictable. We know that every major character that is good will somehow be saved by Kodiveeran — for, right at the beginning, we are shown that he IS God to his villagers, and the one character who doesn’t have much of a role will end up dead. We can guess that Vellaikaaran’s sister, the forever seething Velu (Poorna, who has gone to great lengths, even to the extent of tonsuring her head, for a role that serves her rather poorly) will fuel the enmity between the men, but will take a ‘surprising’ decision in the end.
There is some attempt to lend some detailing, by documenting the cultures and rituals of the region (Sivaganga) and Raghunanthan’s overbearing score keeps goading you to think we are witnessing something epic, but they cannot hide the tired tropes on which the film is built.