We wanted to love you, Kanmani!

Director: Mani Ratnam

Music: A. R. Rahman

Cinematography: P. C. Sreeram

Cast: Dulquer Salmaan, Nithya Menon, Prakash Raj and Leela Samson

I sought to be drenched by thee, love

You left me yearning with a kiss of a drizzle.

If you are walking into the theatre to watch ‘O Kadhal Kanmani’, chances are, you would have flashes of ‘Alaipaayuthe’ coming back to you even before the love story gets rolling. There, amidst the flashing trains, you can’t but help recall Karthik pursuing Shakthi relentlessly.

We take a quick breath and get over our ‘alaipaayuthe’ hangover as Mani Ratnam brings us to the racy life of gamer Aadhi (Dulquer Salmaan). The animation is brilliant in most parts of the film and you can see yourself visualizing along with the devilishly smart hero . Though not the first choice, Nithya Menon as Tara works wonderfully well for the film. She isn’t your thin, tall lass but boy, can her eyes talk. She doesn’t have to show her passion for architecture in words, the frames do it for her. Yet again, we can see her beautiful life and career taking shape before us, like a dream. The ‘Maula wa sallim’ sung by AR Ameen Is ethereal and PC’s camera completes the job as it lets us soak the visual beauty of Ahmadabad. . Even as we get acquainted to the blossoming relationship of Aadhi and Tara, we are taken into the love story of Ganapathy and Bhavani.  Of course, Prakash Raj essays the role with the ease of the veteran but it is Leela Samson who steals the show as the Alzheimer patient/lover. Before you realize it, the lead pair starts living together. Mani does it in style without sensationalizing the subject, as true as it can be. But somewhere in the middle of the plot, you feel more connected to the ‘ Ganapati-Bhavani‘ pair than the young duo. Given the interesting story premise, we wish the realms of the lead pair’s relationship was explored a bit further. Perhaps, the director wanted to keep it light but it is so breezy that we don’t feel (emotionally) invested enough in the film.

There’s so much written by A R Rahman’s work for this film that there’s nothing much to add. He has our ‘mental manadhu’ wrapped up in his magical hands. PC Sriram again does it like a true master, fresh and young in every frame. Editing by A. Sreekar Prasad too deserves full credit. Casting? Near perfect. We only wish the screenplay was bit more taut because we expect nothing less from Mani Ratnam. Is he back? Yes! Is he back to his ‘Alaipaayuthe’ days? No!