Katha Nayagan: This ‘mass entertainer’ has nothing entertaining
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
Director Tha.Muruganantham’s Katha Nayagan has traces of fascinating comic moments. There are quite a few tracks running through the film but none of them tie together at the end so that one achieves a sense of completion. Every minute, there is a change in focus as the makers clumsily wade through one cliché after another and the film lacks a clear vision or purpose.
Thambi Durai (Vishnu Vishal) is a revenue inspector, who is scared of any and everything in life – from dogs to excessive traffic, everything intimidates him. His love interest is Kanmani (Catherine Tresa). The duo is in love but Kanmani’s father refuses to allow his daughter to marry a person, who is a coward by nature. The plot looks at how Thambi Durai decides to fight his fears in order to impress his prospective father-in-law.
One minute, Katha Nayagan is about Thambi Durai’s love story and his coming-of-age. Next minute it tries to score on emotional front with a sudden focus on a deadly disease, he is suffering from. It also suddenly brings in a bunch of gangsters into the plot. Just when you start thinking the director probably has exhausted every mainstream idea that exists, the director again adds another narrative focusing on Thambi Durai’s difficulties to collect dowry for his unwed sister. This overstuffed plot with numerous sub-plots leaves the audience confused. Before intermission, the film packs in a fight sequence in a bar, that begins to show promise as it looks like there might be a change in momentum. But this too is short-lived.
Director Tha.Muruganatham has casted many quirky characters who are all part of distinctively amusing comedy tracks. A special mention to Anandharaj’s entry scene, which is hilarious. He plays a Sheikh, whose eccentricities draw a lot of laughs. Vijay Sethupathi’s guest appearance as a doctor is equally amusing. Even actor Rajendran’s role in the film is quite different from his other recent films. A pop-star, who refuses to talk, is quite a lot of fun. But these promising comedy tracks are all left hanging mid-way without any justification by the director.
The over-dramatic approach after the moment Durai is diagnosed with a deadly disease makes the film a tedious watch. The comedy tracks are put in the backburner and you know the only interesting elements from the film is gone. The film suffers from the lack of proper screenplay and fails to be a ‘mass entertainer’, as it was meant to be.
Katha Nayagan even engages in self-deprecation in many instances from time to time. For instance, post the ‘Un Nenapppu Baby’ song, Durai is heard saying, ‘Nice imagination but unwanted song’. While in many cases this tool works, it does more harm as it mostly prevents viewers from taking even the crucial scenes in the film seriously.
The characterization of the lead couple bears many inconsistencies. Kanmani is projected initially as an ambitious woman who wants to become a health inspector. But through the film, she is shown as an over-enthusiastic, over-the-top character, who has nothing much to do in life. Thambi Durai’s character’s potential is never fully realized. Unlike many conventional mass heroes, this film gives you a central character who is a coward. But this intriguing facet is never fully explored. Instead, the focus shifts to elements that’ve been overused in Tamil Cinema already.
The film has a predictable story and uses filler scenes just for the heck of it through the length of the film. Scenes involving Thambi Durai and Anna Durai (Soori) are used to fill plot-holes largely. This only point to a wafer-thin storyline that should’ve been altered in the scripting stage itself.
Vishnu Vishal shows marked improvement since ‘Velainu Vandhutta Vellaikaaran’ days. But he still has a long way to go. Catherine Tresa hardly gets to do anything except add glam to the scenes. Soori gets to do his stereotypical role and his jokes are boring. His performance too lack enthusiasm. Anandharaj and Rajendran make the film bearable with their quirks.
J.Laxman’s cinematography is generic. It follows the visual standards that are set for advertisements. The film is packed with colorful shots that lack depth. Katha Nayagan’s visual storytelling is underwhelming and loud. It fails to achieve an aesthetic balance of color and shadows.
Sean Roldan’s background music is jarring and serves as a distraction in many scenes. The songs are not hummable or memorable.
Katha Nayagan suffers from lack of vision or sense of purpose. A few scattered comedy tracks here and there are the only respite in this otherwise immensely avoidable flick.