Gautham Vasudev Menon’s third film following Minnale (2001) and its Hindi remake Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein (2001), Kaakha Kaakha is an engrossing and hard-hitting cop drama that scores in its stylish treatment making for an extremely gripping cops v/s the underworld story. Add to it a searing central performance by Suriya and you have a film several notches above the commonplace even if it does draw some inspiration from the Brad Pitt starrer Se7en.
Anbuselvan (Suriya) is part of a group of four police officers who work battling organized crime in Chennai. A loner totally focussed on his job, he finds little patience for a personal life, until he meets schoolteacher Maya (Jyotika), and reluctantly falls in love with her. Meanwhile, his squad kills the brother of a reckless criminal Pandya (Jeevan), Pandya then takes the battle into the homes of the officers, going after their family members one by one including Maya…
Credit has to be given to director Menon. He has a firm control over the narrative and shows a fine cinematic sense as he keeps the story moving along at a good pace. Pandya’s character and his method of attacking the near and dear ones of the cops to hit out at them rather than at the cops directly is a masterstroke. You understand Anbuselvan’s comfort zone in being a loner and understand his reluctance in allowing himself to get involved with Maya even though he has fallen for her right from their first meeting since getting involved with him would put her life in danger.
The film handles the relationship of Anbuselvan and Maya beautifully right from their first encounter and this is one of the major strengths of the film. Gautham Vasudev Menon has a way of handling romantic moments right from Minnale and the developing relationship between the two leads from the initial clash to their falling in love is particularly well-worked out. The chemistry between Suriya and Jyothika futher lends a great deal of credibility to their relationship and consequently to the film.
Kaakha Kaakha is absolutely unthinkable without Suriya’s central act as ACP Anbuselvan. He is in top form as the tough top who has little time for a personal life till he falls in love with Maths and Computer Science teacher, Jyotika. He is perfectly understated as the brooding loner and responds with a finely nuanced and well internalised performance as he simmers beneath the surface to explode finally in the climax. Jyotika lends perfect support as Maya and it is refreshing to see a female character who is intelligent, outspoken and knows her mind in mainstream cinema. Jeevan makes a solid impact as the villain Pandya. The rest of the supporting cast especially Daniel Balaji as the fellow cop who betrays Anbuselvan are more than adequate.
On the technical side, the film is fairly polished and stylish. Special mention must be made of the cinematography – even if there is an overdose of the obvious dramatic wide angle frames, the art direction, the unusual editing and musical score by Harris Jayaraj. The song Ennai Konjam with Suriya and Jyotika in the jeep as they make their way to Pondicherry and address their feelings for each other is picturised rather well. Interestingly, Jyotika is given lip sync in the song by and large while Suriya is not. This goes well with the fact that her character is bold and outspoken and declares her feelings for him openly while he keeps his thoughts to himself. However, the ‘environmentally incorrect’ shot of Anbuselvan throwing the can of aerated drink out of the vehicle out on the road while driving could well have been avoided. And shouldn’t the actors have been wearing seat belts? And sticking to their lane on the road? Oh well…The other well picturised song is the one that establishes Jyotika’s character, well done through a montage of sequences. While on the songs, it has to be said here that the first song, Uyirin Uyirae, starting from underwater, though well composed, is badly placed and hardly has much by way of picturisation with Suriya chasing after Jyotika most of the time and little else. Ramya Krishna’s item number is another big no-no. Brinda’s standard choreography here doesn’t help either. A couple of the action sequences too needed better handling.
All in all, engrossing fare. See it for Gautham Vasudev Menon’s sure handed direction and, of course, Suriya’s brilliant performance.
Tamil, Action, Drama, Thriller, Color