This is Rajesh Selva's first directorial venture. Nasser and Vasundara are the only two known faces. All others are new comers. Yet the team has made a decent movie on a shoestring budget. "Kaalaipani" is a suspense thriller without glamour and violence and nicely packaged.
The scene is desolate. It is a dark night. Rain is pouring. A car is parked with the headlights on under the canopy of trees on the premises of a forest bungalow. Screams of a girl is heard. A man murders her in cold blood. A police team soon descends on the scene of crime. Circumstantial evidence indicates that the slain girl was Samvedhana (Vasundara) and the car found abandoned at the spot was presented to her by business tycoon JKR (Nasser) a few days ago.
Going into the past (flashback), Samvedhana is the daughter of JKR who is very much attached to her. She is a bright college student and is in love with a senior (Satish). Another student (Jay Jay) also loves her and lusts after her.
During the course of the investigation, the police also suspect Satish as he and Jay Jay both love Samvedhana and compete for her hand.
The police, who at one stage suspected JKR, start investigating the murder from the Satish angle. When the police are grappling with the case, Samvedhana who is believed to have been murdered comes alive.
Though for the outside world JKR is Samvedhana's father, it is not true. JKR and his wife have adopted her as a child from a neighboring village orphanage and brought her up as their own daughter. But JKR is very possessive of her and this disturbs Samvedhana. One day she comes to know that she is not the real daughter of JKR and sets out in the car bought for her by JKR to find her real mother and that is when the murder takes place. The police are in fact baffled and clueless as to the identity of the girl who was murdered at the forest bungalow and why she was killed and by whom. How the police untangles the knot hikes the suspense.
Nasser is at his best as a stern but dotting father. But, in how many more films would Nasser play this father role?
Vasundara, who played a character roe in Arya-starrer "Vattaram", has graduated to a heroine. She has given an excellent performance as ultra-modern college girl sans glamour. Annoyed by her overbearing father she tell her mother that even if she is like her father she has her own personal matters and the parents should not be too nosy. This one scene marks out her as a talented actress. Her disgust with her father's sternness, dejection when she learns that she is an adopted daughter, and her emotional outpouring on realizing how loving and caring her father really is, are well nuanced. But her dubbed voice is gruff.
Debutants Jay Jay and Satish provide good support. Jay Jay and Muthukalai provide some hilarious moments.
"Kaalaipani" is basically a love story but what overwhelms the audience is the suspense element. The new director Rajesh Selva deserves praise for maintaining the suspense till very end.
The scenes of police investigation in the beginning are a drag. Cinematographer Gopi Jagadeeshwaran's work is brilliant. Satish Ramalingam's music is engrossing and his background score particularly is good.
A good attempt by the debutant director and a bunch of new faces!
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