Director K. V. Anand and his writers duo Subha in their previous collaborations have regularly taken up a social issue and presented it in a nice commercial package. This time new blood writer Kabilan Vairamuthu has come on board and with acting powerhouse Vijay Sethupathi and the entertainer TR on the center stage have delivered what they promised although with more than a few hiccups.
Thilak (Vijay Sethupathi) is a media student with a social conscience who is smarting from a breakup with college sweetheart Malar (Madonna Sebastian) for three years. On the way to a job interview in a popular channel he manages to film a riot outside which is engineered by the channel owner (Akash Deep Saigal) against a local politician Dheeran (Bose Venkat). The footage gets him a job in the channel where his lady love is already employed and tries to rekindle her feelings while also aiming to make it big as an anchor. Meanwhile, Abdul (Vikranth) and his lover conduct agitations against a biochemical factory owned by Dheeran and backed by the channel head. A tragic fate befalls Abdhul’s lover at the hands of the politician’s goons, which raises questions in the mind of the hero against the channel. Thilak’s chance comes when he anchors a one on one interview with the politician during which he refuses to follow the script of the channel and tries to expose him instead resulting in getting beaten up and fired with his entire gang. Enter T.R who runs a rundown channel with no income and how these underdog catapults bring down the Goliaths forms the rest of the screenplay.
Vijay Sethupathi has expressed one more dimension of acting from his rich repertoire. Initially as the lovelorn wig donning student, he exudes boyish charm (watch out for his scene with Chandini Tamilarasan). Later on when the wig disappears, he transforms into the confidence anchor with sarcasm always dancing on his lips every time he speaks out. VS’s interval block scene with Akashdeep is mass to the max. Tamil cinema is lucky to have an actor like VS who is so natural in an ensemble never drawing focus towards himself. TR is acting in a full fledged role after almost ten or so years and here he goes over the top with his usual brand of rhyming and timing without inhibitions and that is his strength. There is also an emotional scene in which he tugs the heart strings. Madonna Sebastian does a neat job as the programming head and looks fetching in the song sequences. Vikranth as Abdul has given a riveting performance and his long monologue in one scene stands almost up to his cousin’s in ‘Kaththi’. Pandiarajan makes his presence felt while Bose Venkat is a revelation as the ruffian politician. Jagan manages a few laughs here and there and Powerstar in a cameo makes an impact like never before in his career. The rest of the cast do justice to their respective roles.
‘Kavan’ in the first half takes you deep backstage to rip open how the Television channels work and how everything you see on air from a dance show to a one on one talk show is manipulated to work to the advantage of the owners and their nexus with politicians. In the second half it is gratifying to watch the heroes win not by physically fighting the antagonists but beating them at their own games. The dialogues are bold and striking and each character has its own distinctive style of speech which enhances the viewing.
On the downside the pace in the second half nosedives and stays low only to rise again in the climax. The entire second half is one huge sequence actually and it is a bit taxing on the viewer. The Channel Head-Politician duo who are shown as power heads in the first half just puff and fume in the second while the underdogs take them for a ride all too easily.
Hip Hop Tamizha Aadhi has once again provided a remarkable background score and nobody goes for the doors during any of his songs with the Bharathiyar number going down well with the crowd. Abhinandan Ramanujam’s cinematography, especially in the second half is excellent in giving the right feel for the different versions of the sequences of events. Antony’s smooth cuts play out well throughout and when one hears that the climax footage was five hours credit to him indeed for keeping proceedings fairly exciting. Writers Subha, Kabilan and K. V. Anand has dished out a well researched screenplay on their chosen subject and the powerful dialogues compliment it. K. V. Anand has once again delivered his brand of commercial cinema, but what makes ‘Kavan’ special is he has come closer to hitting the target in communicating the story he set out to tell.
Verdict: Go for it to experience an entertaining film with top class acting and message driven home effectively.