Kadaram Kondan: High on style, Low on thrills

Imagine getting a glossy and sleek bottle of carbonated drink, only to find that it lacks the fizz. Annoyingly flat isn’t it? That’s probably the best way to sum up Vikram’s latest film Kadaram Kondan, directed by Rajesh M Selva. Remaking foreign films by taking up the rights officially seems to be the buzzing trend for the Indian film industry these days. When the genre happens to be action/thriller, the demand seems to be even higher. Amitabh Bachchan-Tapsee starrer Badla, adaptation of Spanish thriller The Invisible Guest, is a recent example. Selva, who himself did the Kamal Haasan starrer Thoongavaanam few years ago, had spun it from the French thriller Sleepless Night and, this one is a remake of the French film: Point Blank.

Kadaram Kondan opens with KK (Vikram), who is on the run after executing a robbery at the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur. Wounded during the shootout chase, he encounters a gruesome accident that lands him in a hospital unconscious. Vasu (Abi Hassan), a doctor, has just moved to the city with his pregnant wife Aathira (Akshaya Haasan) and the latter isn’t far away from conceiving. Coincidentally, KK is admitted in the same hospital where Vasu works, and it inevitably means that their paths must cross. From there on, the film is a potential cat-and-mouse game for the duo against a villainous bunch that appears hard to decode from the outset.

Novel stories from this genre, especially from foreign languages, have increasing number of takers among the urban audience in India. Having said that, a lot also depends on the execution and screenplay—two components that are pivotal for the success of such films. In that regard, Kadaram Kondan is a mixed bag. Vikram’s chiseled and rugged avatar—he’s effortlessly suave and badass—was the film’s USP right from when its first-look posters and promos were unveiled. The other major strength of the film is its stunning production design giving it an overall sleek look. The cinematography is top-notch and, the crisp editing cuts the runtime to barely 120 minutes. Ghibran’s background score is perfect, giving another dimension to the intense scenes.

The flip side is the screenplay which simply doesn’t pack a punch. Though there are shootouts, chases and a few hand-to-hand combat sequences as well, the thrill element is missing—which is surprising, given Selva’s previous works from this genre that were all critically acclaimed products. As a director, he has managed to dish out a snappy film that’s high on style quotient and visuals, but these aren’t enough for today’s viewers who have abundant access to similar category content on streaming platforms. Some of the sub-plot altercations in the script appear contrived or conveniently complicated, leaving the audience muddled.

Apart from Vikram, it’s debutant Abi Hassan who has the meatiest role: Son of veteran performer Nassar, the young actor exudes confidence right from his first scene and has put in an impressive performance. His likeable demeanor and vulnerable traits perfectly complement the chillingly ruthless nature of Vikram’s role. Akshara Haasan has limited screen space but she is in her elements as an emotionally-charged woman who has concurrent battles to face. There are plenty of blink-and-you miss people in the storyline, and none of them have any detailing.

After Anniyan, Vikram’s commercial projects have always come with highly impressive pre-release hype, only for the films to disappoint. Barring Iru Mugan, box office success has also eluded the actor far too often in the recent past. Kadaram Kondan is another addition to the ‘what-could-have-been’ list of Vikram starrers that have failed to deliver what they promised. With Kamal Haasan in the production side and a gifted director in Selva, there was a lot of anticipation. However, all that falls flat due to a shoddy script which at best makes the film work in parts.

 

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