Kanne Kalaimanne movie review: Udhayanidhi Stalin starrer is a rural romantic drama about feminism, old-school ideologies
Film: Kanne Kalaimanne
Director: Seenu Ramaswamy
Cast: Udhayanidhi Stalin, Tamannaah Bhatia, Ram, Vadivukkarasi and Vasundhara
Seenu Ramaswamy’s Kanne Kalaimanne is one of those films that leave you pleasantly surprised. Even though it has all the common tropes that populate films that have a rural backdrop and get needlessly over-dramatic about the miserable lives of farmers; the beauty of the film lies in the way it treats romance, feminism and its lead characters. The film is certainly a step up in the way Tamil cinema has treated romance on screen and it achieves it in the most subtle fashion.
The film primarily revolves around two characters — Kannan (Udhayanidhi) and Bharathi (Tamannaah) — who fall in love and the events that follow. For a change, we get a hero who isn’t a jobless wastrel who stalks women for fun. Kannan is an organic farmer who goes around requesting farmers to stop using chemical fertilizers and choose organic (vermi-compost) fertilizer instead. He also helps people of his village in getting loans to set up small business and becomes their guarantor.
Bharathi, on the other hand, is a fearless and straightforward bank manager. When she learns that many people who’ve taken loans from her bank have defaulted payments, she goes after them legally, despite being warned by her colleagues.
More than his hero, Ramaswamy treats his heroine with dignity and makes her a force to reckon with. Rarely do we see filmmakers treat female actors in mainstream cinema in such a positive way and it is refreshing to see Ramaswamy set a fine example. Here’s a woman who has the freedom to work, choose the man she wants to live with and tell her future-in-laws that she can’t get married on any day and has to check for availability of holidays. The film gives its heroine a voice and a purpose. Most importantly, it really understands feminism and presents it in a commendable fashion.
In Kanne Kalaimanne, we witness the clash of old-school and modern-day ideologies. Kannan’s grandmother, superbly played by Vadivukkarasi, doesn’t want Bharathi to work post marriage. A day after marriage when Bharathi leaves to work, we hear Kannan’s grandma crib about how she still has to continue doing all the household chores. We can sense the friction between Bharathi and the grandmother and you expect something sinister to unfold, but the film takes us all by surprise by taking a less explored path and clicking in the process.
Tamannaah, in somewhat understated but strong performance, makes Bharathi stand out from all the characters she’s played in the past. She owns the role confidently and makes it one of the most memorable characters in Tamil cinema in recent times. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that her character really stands out in the film and it takes a lot of big heart for a hero to let the heroine hog the spotlight. Udhayanidhi Stalin deserves a lot of praise for it. It doesn’t make Udhay’s character any less important but Tamannaah’s character really makes the film what it is and the credit must go to the film’s director.
Kanne Kalaimanne is an uplifting romantic drama that drills some sense into Tamil cinema’s skewed understanding of romance and gives it a punchy twist, which pays-off handsomely in the end.
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