Director: R Nagendran
Cast: Vimal, Samuthirakani, Geetha, Karuna
It is amazing how some films evoke the wrath of some group or the other, while some others pass by without offending anyone. Here in R Nagendran's Tamil work, Kaaval, Chennai's police force -- at least a part of it -- is presented as utterly corrupt and incompetent. One is not debating the veracity of this image, but just that Kaaval (which incidentally means police) has not got the city's cops fuming.
Nagendran's feature has really nothing new to offer. We have seen innumerable movies about paid killers and their unholy camaraderie with the guardians of law and the representatives of the people. A voiceover tells us at the start of the film that murder has become a profession in Tamil Nadu. A murderer has no motive other than money, and kills because he is paid a handsome amount to spill blood.Karuna (Karuna in real life as well) is a gangster who not only deals in narcotics, but also plays the sadistic game of slaying. And he has friends who are politicians and policemen. Kaaval zeroes in on one police station where three corrupt cops rule the roost. They freely take bribes, passing on a share to men like Karuna, whose nefarious activities are systematically hushed up. The sons of these policemen also stray towards the unlawful and the illegal, and one of them is Anbu (played by Vimal).
Watch Kaaval trailer here:
But when "encounter specialist" Chandrashekar (Samuthirakani) walks into this cosy nest of crime and criminality with the brief to end contract killing, Karuna and his gang begin to feel the heat.
However, Kaaval meanders beyond this tale of crime: we have Anbu falling in love with an event manager, Amrutha (Geetha) -- and the romance provides enough scope for songs and dances that dilute the very essence of a plot like Kaaval's, trivialising it core content.
In the end, the work turns out to be yet another addition to the list of very average movies. Some performances -- like those of Karuna (who gets right into the character of a lowly but brutal criminal) and Samuthirakani -- do stop Kaaval from sinking to the very bottom of the Bay of Bengal -- the ocean that Karuna, in a dash of novelty, takes refuge in every time the land gets too hot. And he does this in style: he ceremonially removes all the jewellery he wears before getting on to a boat that is to be his home for the next several days. Yes, but where is the Coastguard?