Kalari (English: Warfield) is a 2018 Tamil action thriller film directed by Kiran Chand and produced by Senith Keloth under the Nakshathra Movie Magic banner. The film features Krishna and Vidya Pradeep in the lead roles, while Jayaprakash plays a pivotal role. The soundtrack and background score were composed by V. V. Prasanna, while the cinematography and editing were done by R. B. Gurudev and Prabaahar respectively. The film released in August 2018.
Kalari begins with a bird’s eye view of the Vathuruthy area in Kochi. A voice-over informs us about how the place came to be a settlement of Tamils. We are then introduced to Murugesan (Krishna, who tries his best in a vaguely written role), who runs a provision store in the area. He cares for his sister, Thenmozhi (Samyuktha), who is in love with Anwar (Vishnu), a call-taxi driver — who might also be a pimp. Murugesan’s alcoholic father (MS Bhaskar, who superbly captures the body language and modulation of a drunkard) keeps ruining prospective alliances for Thenmozhi, and decides to get her married to Moorthy (Krishna Deva), who works for the area’s big shot Siddique Bhai (Jayaprakash) — because Moorthy buys him booze! But a tragedy occurs, and Murugesan, who has agoraphobia (an anxiety disorder), must confront his fears and overcome them to ensure that justice prevails.
Even though the premise of Kalari seems fairly routine, it still offers promise for a convincing emotional drama. But the film is let down by the dated treatment. Neither the script nor the filmmaking feels fresh. Despite the initial information on the setting, we disappointingly realise that it hardly plays a role in the narrative (this story could have been in set in Chennai and it wouldn’t have felt any different). The romantic track between Murugesan and Mallika (Vidya Pradeep) feels perfunctory and only contribute to the length of the film. And the less said about Black Pandi’s attempts at comedy the better.
Thankfully, the agoraphobia angle makes things somewhat interesting in the second half, but even here, we are left with the feeling that it could have been exploited better. If only had the pacing been better, with swiftly narrated events, it would have built up some tension in the plot. In fact, the long-drawn-out way in which the scenes are presented ruins the twist in the end as it gives us more than enough time to outthink the script and guess how things are going to turn out.
Directed by Kiran Chand
Produced by Sentih Keloth
Written by Kiran Chand
Starring Krishna, Vidya Pradeep
Music by V. V. Prasanna
Cinematography R. B. Gurudev
Edited by Prabaahar
Production Nakshatra Movie Magic
Release date 24 August 2018
Running time 150 minutes