There is a fine line that cuts between filmmaking that triggers nostalgia and that which dishes out cliches. All throughout 'Karuppan', I was experiencing nostalgia through a thoroughly cliched style of filmmaking that attempts to make us travel at least 20 years back in time - traversing through the torrid era Kollywood has travelled since then! Are you game for this?
'Karuppan', a hot-headed rogue who doubles up as an 'official' matador of the village, "wins" his partner (Tanya), through a bullfight(?!), thanks to her "sensible" brother (Pasupathy), who gambles her at the fight. After Karuppan gets married, things start getting murkier as his partner was already eyed by his 'murai payyan' (Bobby Simha), who wickedly plans to unleash hell onto the couple. Finally, it's a happy ending - what else would happen? Didn't I warn you about cliches at the beginning?
The rural ethos was perfect. The cast was also pretty well tailored, except for Tanya, who looked out of place. Since we've seen actresses like Priya Mani (Paruthiveeran) and Abhirami (Virumaandi) perform such roles in the past, she just comes across as an amateurish city girl trying hard to do justice to her role. She was not outright bad, but not noteworthy either.
Vijay Sethupathy as Karuppan was perfect! His mush that has grown like a bush serves the purpose well to add to his character. As a ruffian he was effortless. Even such a good actor was reduced to a piece of mockery at times due to disappointing writing.
At times, the writing was so pathetic such that we could clearly make out that the director wasn't able to stage a scene convincingly - especially the ones between Sethupathy and Singampuli were downright boring. Pasupathy as the innocent brother was another natural actor who was wasted. Bobby Simha in a negative role was somewhat convincing.
Also, the movie made sure to check all the mainstream ingredients for the masses - bullfight, men fight, romance, village "item number", rural shenanigans with mush clad men advising on family matters, backstabbing, huge doses of melodrama and whatever cliches that can make one sick. I was surprised that Ilayaraja's 80s classics were left behind, but MSV was at play - I told you we've been taken 20 years back!!
Music by Imman was average with a lot of folk tunes. However, the BGM gelled well with the proceedings.
You can have a budget that can shred the sky into pieces, great actors and technicians by your side, but what is it worth when the content and narrative are archaic and tedious! Probably debutant director Paneer Selvam should be taught about the nuances of filmmaking with respect to writing and presentation. Better luck next time folks!
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