– Dinesh Ravichandiran
From the master’s stable, here comes another take on romance that is beautifully shot, musically top-notch, but sadly misses the plot somewhere in between. Varun (Karthi), a fighter pilot falls head over heels with the doctor he meets Leela (Aditi Rao Hydari) and woos her with his charm. The romance that blossoms between them is set breezily amongst the mystic hills of beautiful Srinagar. The rest of the story deals with the journey of the couple, filled with a large flavour of romance, scuffle, and adventure that the hero does to win back the love of his life.
Mani Ratnam’s characters, as is the norm in most of his films are absorbing, and sure to be remembered. Varun and Leela , around whom the story is woven are strong-headed, unforgivingly adamant, have their own belief and the same time are madly in love with each other. With each scene, as the screenplay moves their love becomes strong and there comes the situation where both cannot be without each other, and also uncompromising in their thoughts.
Varun (Karthi) is charming, inherently macho, self-centered, opinionated and to top it, he doesn’t want to change the way he is. As one of the dialogues in the movie aptly describes – he likes himself so much. Karthi fits the role, and is believable as a fighter pilot and express all the traits mentioned effortlessly.
Leela (Aditi Rao) is beautiful, kind and convincingly plays the role of a doctor. She is honest, forgiving and overwhelmed with the man she loves. That isn’t all, she also has her own beliefs, and is intolerant of the biased thoughts of Varun towards women. Aditi Rao as leela is splendid, and she captivates the attention with her alluring performance.
The supporting characters Nidhi (Rukmini), Dr Iliyas (RJ Balaji), Delhi Ganesh are good and effective in their screen time. The family of both Varun and Leela have very little to do, which doesn’t bond with the story.
The first half of the movie completely focuses on the characters, establishing their traits, and the romance which has been beautifully layered between the lead pair. Though the pace of the proceedings is a concern, the fascinating frames of the snow clad mountains, performances of the lead pair and the soulful music makes it a comfortable watch.
It’s the second half that disappoints to a large extent, where the movie turns monotonous, with an unconvincing screenplay. The emotions played out aren’t impactful, and the connect with the lead pair is lost as the conflicts between them becomes repetitive and tedious. The end is on the expected lines, but slightly over played given the situations of the lead pair at that point of time.
The technical aspect of the film is top-notch. Ravi Varman’s cinematography is as romantic as Varun-Leela, with each frame oozing the beauty of Kashmir. AR Rahman never disappoints when he joins with Mani Ratnam and the songs stand out. Jugni at the back ground, Sarattu Vandiyile, Azhagiye are joyful to ears, and the pick of the album Vaan Varuvan is another addition to their everlasting playlists. The duration of the movie could be trimmed, given the pace of the screenplay.
On the whole, an intense romance between two absorbing characters forms the crux of Kaatru Veliyidai. The movie has its moments, with looks amazing. A lovely piece of painting, which is stunningly colourful, nicely framed, looks splendid but misses to ooze life in the sight of the audience.