Actor Sivakarthikeyan's maiden production venture "Kanaa" has the two most talked about things in India - cricket and agriculture. While cricket constituted the flashy bits of the narrative, agriculture, on the other hand, triggered a lot of questions and empathy among the public, profoundly in a much better way than a typical star movie could. The surprising element was the tender relationship between a father and his daughter that was knitted so delicately in the narrative and worked out beautifully.
The movie is about Kousalya (Aishwarya Rajesh) from Kulithalai (a rural backdrop surrounding the Cauvery delta region), taking inspiration from her father's (Sathyaraj) love for cricket, and wants to become a cricketer. Like any other female aspirations, this too is about to be crushed by her surroundings. She perseveres and achieves her goal at the end.
As with most of the sports drama, we know what the climax would hold for us, and as a matter of fact, we know that there is going to be some rises and falls. However, it all boils down to how exciting the narrative guides the audiences into the proceedings. On that count, Arun Raja Kamaraj has delivered in his debut film as a director.
The character building too was very effective. Initially, we get a glimpse of how tough a girl Kousalya could be through her mother (Rama). Then, there was a funny scene wherein Kousalya as a school kid persuades her friends to play cricket after she realises that it requires 11 players to play the game. The cherry on the cake would be the scene where Kousalya as a kid drawing inspiration from her father's love for cricket - she describes that she began to see the game on her father's face!
For Sathyaraj, it was a power-packed role that demanded a lot of nuanced expressions of grief, happiness and frustration. As a farmer who is coerced to surrender to the forces of nature and the hapless administrative policies, he has resurrected a part of 'Madhava Padayachi', a role that he played in '9 ruba note' a decade back. For Rama, it was a tailor-made role as the big-mouthed woman of the house. Her performance was leveraged optimally for an engaging narrative.
Sivakarthikeyan's extended cameo appearance towards the climax was also quite refreshing as these are some rare instances where a star mellows himself down and does a 'responsible' job as he doubles up as the producer of the movie.
The initial establishment scenes for the gender bias that Kousalya is subjected to and a mild one-sided love story weren't as good as the rest of the other scenes. However, some power-packed lines were catering to the masses, especially the women, emphasising on the society's gender bias.
With Kollywood replete of serious sports movies, "Kanaa" is a whiff of fresh air that is not only about an underdog's rise to glory, but it's also about responsible filmmaking that talks about the issues faced by farmers and the pertinence of agriculture. Above all, the father-daughter relationship is one of the beautiful threads that was brought to screen in recent times. Go for it!
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