Kadamban could have been much better with a strong script and a pacy narrative conveyed through much more interesting characters with inherent character arcs and without unnecessary commercial elements.
2.2 out of 5 (Average)
| Baranidharan Sivasankaran (NOWRUNNING)
In recent times, if I were to recollect a Tamil movie that is set in a jungle and that which explores the lives of the aborigines of the land, I could only come up with SP Jananathan's "Peranmai". Director Jananathan who is known for his left-centric stand understandably spoke about the agonies of the marginalised tribes who are being ill-treated by the forest rangers and outsiders at large.
To talk about such themes, certainly one need not have a left-centric stand, but general social awareness and the urge to address a pertinent issue of our natural resources getting looted are the quintessential drivers. Director Ragava also seems to have the story of "Kadamban" germinated from such socially aware thought stream.
Kadamban's story revolves around the tribes who inherit Kadambavanam, a forest in the western ghats. Kadamban (Arya) is the prominent one among them and he virtually leads them. When a cement company tries to loot the entire village for limestone exploration, the tribals resist. They are forced to comply with the demands of the cement manufacturer who by force evicts them. How they regain their land and evict the evil-doers is the rest of the story.
The movie had certain things going for it. Firstly, the scenes and the staging. Right from the very first scene where Arya does a free fall from a cliff to extract honey the movie engulfs us into the milieu. In addition, there was Arya, who in every aspect resembled the Tarzan who rules the jungle. His physique and appearance made him look the part. Had there been more slang in his dialogues he would be a serious contender for an award.
There were other things that were well researched for a jungle movie, like the climax fight sequences where the tribals use the natural resources in the jungle for making weapons and some manually laid out traps. At the same time, there were scenes that had some far-fetched imagination like the one where the tribes kick the rugby like balls into the enemy's trucks with barefoot and from almost a kilometer away.
Performances from others including Catherine Tresa was just about average. The movie's biggest weakness was its predictable theme. Almost everyone would have guessed the story from the trailer of the movie. When the movie unfolds, there were no surprises. Also, neither the cinematography nor the graphic wasn't anything to laud about. Yuvan Shankar Raja's music and BGM was at an all time low and the songs didn't help the already slow-paced narration.
I respect the research and the effort put forth by the team in coming up with a script that is based on the life and times of tribes. My major complaint is that in cinemas when we talk about tribes, only their struggle and social outclassing are taken as subjects.
"Kumki" was a good attempt which broke that stereotype. Apart from that, there is none that comes to my mind. Why can't we think of an adventure or a thriller in such a setup in the lines of Mel Gibson's "Apocalypto"? Why do we have to always ponder into the social angle which anyway takes a lot of different forms in city based movies as well?
Kadamban could have been better with a strong script and a pacy narrative conveyed through much more interesting characters with inherent character arcs and without unnecessary commercial elements.
Critic: Baranidharan Sivasankaran
2.2 out of 5 (Average)
WHAT THE RATINGS MEAN:
0.0 - 1.4 : Poor
1.5 - 1.7: Poor, A Few Good Parts
1.8 - 2.3: Average
2.4 - 2.9: Fairly Good
3.0 - 3.4: Good
3.5 - 5.0: Very Good