Chimbudeven’s six-segment film boasts of a sprawling ensemble cast and intriguing performances, but isn’t stitched together consistently and fails to engage
Chimbudeven Kasada Tabara starts with a few definitions. One: point of view, a position from which something is seen (a change in this can drastically change the view). Second: the butterfly effect, the phenomenon whereby a small change can have disastrous and profound consequences elsewhere (you must have heard about it in Dasavatharam Where Butterfly Effect film itself). These two concepts are not new to cinema; not even in Tamil cinema.
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We know from the trailer and interviews that Kasada… is a film of hyperlinks, that is to say that the characters inhabit separate stories that are connected. This format is not new either. Chimbudeven himself admitted this in his interview with The Hindu: “Thiruvilayadal (1965) is a subject of hyperlink, Lord Shiva being the common link. My movie has six episodes which are related in one way or another.
What’s interesting – and rather unusual for Tamil cinema – is that each of the film’s six segments has a different editor (Anthony, Praveen KL, Vivek Harshan, Mu Kasi Viswanathan, Raja Mohammad and Ruben), cinematographer. (Vijay Milton, MS Prabhu, Balasubramaniem, SR Kathir, RD Rajasekhar and Sakthi Saravanan) and composer (Yuvan Shankar Raja, Premji Amaren, Sam CS, Sean Roldan, Santhosh Narayanan and Ghibran).
Chimbudeven’s idea was probably to sew together different pieces of fabric into an exquisite costume with the help of several tailors. The result, however, is a chaotic patchwork.
A mishmash of elements
At Quentin Tarantino’s pulp Fiction is another hyperlinked movie that starts with a definition. Just like the cult classic, Kasada… also has an assortment of scheming characters: there’s a God, a Gift, a con artist, a police officer with a no-kill policy, and others. There are encounters, betrayals, romances, and near-death scenarios. Despite all of this, the film is rarely intriguing.
- Director: Chimbudeven
- Actors: Sampath Raj, Venkat Prabhu, Regina Cassandra, Priya Bhavani Shankar, Shanthnu Bhagyaraj, Premgi Amaren, and more
- Storyline: Six interrelated stories with a plethora of characters spanning each other’s lives
- Duration: 2 h 17 min
The main suspect is writing. Neither the situations nor the dialogues pique our curiosity (there are a few exceptions like Sendrayan’s character describing the clear chicken soup as kozhi moothram). Take the first segment of the movie, for example. Bala (Premji Amaren) is the quintessential kind boy who fears God. One of the ways the movie establishes her cuteness is by getting her to feed stray puppies. A sarcastic first rower in the movies would have joked, “Idhellaam naanga Aasai laye paathutom!
Chimbudeven has also deliberately moved away from comedy, which is in fact his strong point. But even the few jokes fail to tickle. Case in point: a junior police officer tells his superior that he is from a temple. The superior appreciates it and ends his answer with “So sweet! “Junior officer:”Aama sir, pongal eppavume sweet ah dhaan irukum ..“
Is this the same guy who wrote Imsai Arasan 23h Pulikesi?
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The problem is, even the serious moments don’t quite work out. Thiripura Shanmuga Sundari aka Trisha (Regina Cassandra), the girl who loves Bala, has a revelation just because he tells her about a Shiva anna, which has a beeda stall next to a luxury hotel. Trisha, in seconds, changes her mind about idolizing the owner of the luxury hotel, because Bala tells her that the beeda booth owner leads a happy life.
These all too practical life changing accomplishments happen more than once. Sampath Raj, who plays a Don, feels bad for a guy who kept a knife to his neck, just because another character tells him he’s a Benefactor. Hearing the disappointment of his son (Shantanu Bhagyaraj) with his activities, he decides to give up his life as a criminal. That the scene is somewhat convincing is thanks to Sampath’s performance.
Some of the actors in the sprawling cast (including Sundeep Kishan, Harish Kalyan, Priya Bhavani Shankar, Venkat Prabhu, Vijayalakshmi, and Sija Rose) make their characters more interesting than they are on paper. But the writing falls flat. Too often we see them articulate explanatory lines (the segment with Harish Kalyan can be called Voice over Enai Noki Paayum) or philosophy (the characters cite Bhagavad Gita etc).
The latest highly publicized hyperlinked film in Tamil cinema, Super De Luxe, has also become philosophical, but only after taking us on a dazzling ride. Kasada… meanwhile, it feels like a stuttering old car with mostly boring songs on the radio.
Kasada Tabara is currently streaming on SonyLIV