Kaari Movie Review: We have witnessed numerous themes in Tamil cinema integrating the ancient popular sport of bull taming – Jallikattu into their main plots. Sasikumar’s Kaari is no different. What’s special here, though, is that the rural action drama also deals with topics like animal liberation, corporate greed, the ethics of meat consumption, and other issues that we rarely come across.
While the ideas are great and even the staging in the first half is quite promising, the plot falls into the cliché arena as the film progresses, creating less of an impact among viewers.
Kaari begins as a typical rural actor, discussing the rivalry between two villages near Ramanad, Kariyalur and Sivanenthal, and how organizing a Jallikattu sport would help them solve the problem. The winner is allowed to assume the authority over the administration of the Karuppan temple, which is common to both. In parallel, we are also introduced to Sethu (Sasikumar), a jockey who works at a horse racing stable in Chennai. His father, Vellasaamy (Aadukalam Narein), who works with him in the stable, is a socially responsible man and someone who never refrains from questioning wrongdoers. Meanwhile, we also get a glimpse of a corporate kingpin, SKR (JD Chakravarthy), who is in the meat and animal exploitation business.
While all seems well, Sethu’s life is turned upside down when his father dies of cardiac arrest just minutes after his pet horse is shot dead. What unites the people of Kariyalur and Sethu, and how SKR’s business would affect their lives, form the rest of the crux.
Director Hemanth’s writing is effective in most parts, and his ambitious script includes subtle discussion of certain themes that aren’t very common. He also touches on the human-animal bond with a couple of well shot scenes including the death of a pet horse and the disappearance of a bull that was kept as a family. However, as the film progresses, particularly as we expect something monumental to happen on screen, the director lets us down by incorporating routine sequences normally associated with genres like these. JD Chakravarthy’s character sketch seems flat and doesn’t elevate the otherwise intense plot.
There are only a few scenes combined between Sasikumar and JD Chakravarthy, and we sometimes wonder why the latter was included in a track like this.
The Jallikattu sequences that appear in the pre-climax part are quite interesting and unique. The shots of Karuppa (a top quality bull) coming out of Vaadi Vaasal to be tamed by the villagers is a joy to watch. Sethu falls in love with a girl (Parvathy Arun) in a nearby village who owns Karuppa, and little did he know that fate would have him tame the very bull that has been hailed as a hero. Parvathy Arun is another talent to watch out for. His performance after the disappearance of Karuppa the Bull is great, and he has done the role justice. Although Ammu Abirami does not have much room to act, he has contributed to the best of his ability. Samyuktha Shanmughanathan plays the wife of JD Chakravarthy and gives a decent performance. Redin Kingsley, who appears only briefly in the first half, fails to give us that comic relief with her not-so-funny one-liners.
Rural themes are Sasikumar’s favourites, and it is known that his screen presence would easily elevate a theme like this. Surprisingly though, Sasikumar seemed more convincing as a horse rider than a bull tamer. Not to forget that Balaji Sakthivel, who plays Parvathy’s father, also did a great job. The technical aspects of the film are excellent, including the cinematography and the background score. Both Ganesh Chandhrra and D. Imman respectively have raised the script to a higher level.
Kaari is interesting and captivating in parts, but not shocking enough for the audience to remember.