Kanavu Variyam: Lost in Translation
Movie Review by Anirudh Madhav (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
If omniscient beings could be teachers, the world would have no teachers at all. This is a fitting response to the young and curious Ezhil (Arun Chidambaram) who wonders why teachers do not have answers to all of his questions. Starring Director Arun Chidambaram, Kanavu Variyam makes us wonder how it became the recipient of several international awards.
In the opening narrative that follows Ezhil, we are told that he is no ordinary child. He seeks answers that go beyond the materials given to him in school. On a quest to find more answers to soothe his ever-curious mind, Ezhil quits schooling, and with the support of his family and decides to learn electronics from scratch. A little while into his journey, we see an older Ezhil determined to the solve electricity crisis in his village.
In a parallel narrative, the story of Yog Jaypee, an aspiring modern-day farmer unveils. After having quit his high-income Job at an MNC, Yog returns to his hometown to focus on organic farming. What follows is a documentary style narrative that details his blooming philosophies and transformational struggles in his pursuit to master the practice of organic farming.
Although the film perfectly captures rural life and the resolute attitude of Ezhil, several negative points end up dominating the screenplay.
With a weak script, Kanavu Variyam tries too hard to depict Ezhil as a young innovator, failing to do so as a result of amateur execution. The chemistry between Ezhil and Veena (Jiya Shankar) is bad and their romantic track incongruous in the rural setting.
The film seems to have borrowed several aspects from Director Raju Murugan’s Joker. It offers its perspective on corporate life and the decline of farming in India, but in trying to highlight government apathy towards rural areas, it fails because of its unbecoming screenplay.
Cinematographer S. Selvakumar has made an effort to creatively capture the visual details of the film. On the other hand, the songs are run-of-the-mill. ‘Kalla Manna’ is a nostalgic ride into the past and ‘Nee Padhi’ is simply a strained effort at love.
Despite being the recipient of several international awards, Kanavu Variyam fails to live up to its accolades. If director Arun Chidambaram had worked at improving the declining screenplay and amateur cast, the film would have made more of an impact.