Vijay Antony with the reputation of delivering off beat films and this time he has joined hands with female director Kiruthiga Udayanidhi. 'Kaali' through its four rural love stories tries to convey the undercurrent themes of the quest for ones roots and the sacrifices of women towards caste abolition.
Bharat (Vijay Antony) a successful surgeon in the US has a recurring nightmare about a child caught between a huge python and a raging bull. When his mother needs a kidney transplantation he offers to donate but his father reveals that he is adopted and hence the blood group will not match. After his foster mother recovers, Bharat sets out to India in search of his roots and finds out that his mother Parvathi cheated by her husband had died after a being attacked by a bull and that she had named him Kaali. The hero then goes to his mother's village Kanavukkarai where he befriends Gopi (Yogi Babu) and sets up a free clinic for the poor. The local quack Valli( Anjali) initially resents the hero as a rival but later falls for him. Father John (Jayaprakash) a well respected priest helps in every way. An ill tempered landlord (Madhusoodhanan) and a mysterious man in the forest (Nasser) who has "Parvathi" tattooed on his hands are suspected to be the father and their stories are unraveled. Who is the father of Kaali and whether he recognized his son or not forms the rest of the screenplay.
Vijay Antony not only gets to play Bharat but also the younger versions of Madhusoodhanan (college boy), Nasser (a thief) and Jayaprakash ( priest) of which he scores as the thief who falls for a married girl Parvathi (Amrutha). He is very effective in the fights and also does not disappoint in the emotional scenes. His monotone voice modulation that was a plus in his previous films is jarring here considering the fact that he is playing four characters. Anjali as the village quack impresses in the initial scenes but soon disappears from the screenplay. Sunainaa as a strong woman who makes ultimate sacrifices for her downtrodden people has the most author backed and role and does justice to it. Amrutha as the college girl who takes the Romeo and Juliet route in her love life and Shilpa as the village girl trapped in a marriage with an old man are welcome finds both in looks and in talent. Yogi Babu single handed keeps the audience in splits whenever the proceedings sag. Nasser, Jayaprakash, Madhusoodhanan and Vela Ramamurthy are solid. R.K. Suresh as the villain of all the four stories lacks depth in character.
'Kaali' has an old fashioned air about it which is quite refreshing. The idea of Vijay Antony playing the younger self of his suspected fathers works to an extent. The central theme of caste abolition and Sunainaa's character shown as a champion of the downtrodden are positives. The Vijay Antony- Amrutha love story based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and the Vijay Antony- Shilpa's forbidden love are both interesting. The B and C audience are more likely to lap up the themes and narrative style of the story than the urban ones.
On the downside there is absolutely no emotional connection for the audiences with any of the characters. The four stories are also not connected by any common thread and the only suspense factor of who the father is is the only driving force. Vijay Antony using the noble medical profession to lure the villagers and test their DNA for his personal needs is a big let down for his character that is otherwise shown as a man with a social conscience. The film moves at a leisurely pace which may not
All the songs by Vijay Antony have an eighties feel about them in sync with the story and are pleasant to hear. He is however found wanting in the background score area in which he usually shines. Richard M Nathan's camera work and Lawrence Kishore's editing are definitely a boost to the film. Kiruthiga Udayanidhi who gave the breezy urban romance 'Vanakkam Chennai' has tried her hand at a rural story. The film has some heart in its story with competent acting and on par technical aspects. Her attempt to narrate an emotional drama like a whodunit thriller has come out with not so desirable results due to the flaws in writing.