Kallappadam: Film Review – A refreshing take on the Kollywood film industry!

 We all love meta films don’t we? Especially cinephiles who aspire to be part of the industry. It serves as a reminder of the trials and tribulations one has to go through to make a mark in the film industry. Director Vadivel‘s Kallappadam is also one such meta film. Riding on a solid premise, this well-scripted and neatly executed film is nothing short of gripping. Despite a slightly slow pace, and a few logical flaws, the film works its charm thanks to a fun plot.

The film starts off on a rather serious note, where the lead actors in the movie seem distressed, a wave of melancholy surrounds. Their undying efforts at making a film have failed and they are almost broke. The film shows the life of a failed director played by veteran comedian Senthil. He gives some positive insight, advising them that an artist must never succumb to failure, he must strive and make sure his dreams come true. The movie slowly but steadily unwinds to give us another interesting plot, and that’s where the twist begins!
This is a story of four friends and their struggle to make a mark in the film industry. In case the film focused on a heroine, we’d have these 4 friends chasing for that girl and two stories interlinking to create a film. The early parts of this film might even remind you of Radha Mohan’s movie Azhagiya Theeye, but the film doesn’t give you scope to think about this. Rather it takes you on a different journey, where there isn’t a heroine who plays their love interest.  Here, the characterization is different. The characters in the film remind you of a novel. Especially the character of Leena, a once popular actress who decides to seek ways to revive her glorious lifestyle. Those bright red polo neck tees paired with those hoop earrings, those floral printed pants  teamed up with a bright coloured top, the heavy-eye make up and the shot of her applying the lipstick in panic! Everything about her character reminds you of a character from an English movie of the ’80s-’90s, and tries to confuses the viewer into believing she’s a vamp. Lakshmi Priya maintains a believable feel into the character.
Adukalam Naren wins you over with his superb performance, specifically in the scene where he gets an anonymous phone call, threatening him that they’ll seize his car. This scene is guaranteed to make you laugh. The ‘actors’ depict the struggle of finding recognition, in their eyes. The parts that showcase a failed producer’s life, and the songs make the film seem stretched. The song that pay tribute to Mysskin remind you of “Kanni Thevu Ponna” (also composed by K). The cinematography is also a plus in the movie. The filmmaker nicely evokes a feeling of sympathy and helplessness from our hearts! However, the scene in which there are consecutive shots that deliver a bleach effect wasn’t entirely a pleasing sight. No matter how simple and realistic a film tries to be, there are key scenes where the film tries to exaggerate to give a filmy feel to it.
An important point to be noted is that the actors of this movie are none other than the director, music director, cinematographer and editor of the film. Ever imagined a movie that stars the captain of the ship and his crew members playing the lead roles? We certainly didn’t. The way the film inside a film was sneakily made, justifies the apt title as well!
Kallappadam may not be a cult film like Jigarthanda, or a multi-starcast film Kathai Thiraikadhai Vasanam Iyakkam, but it is earnest in its delivery. It attempts to make you make you laugh and tries to portray the very struggles of surviving in the film industry.

Why you should watch this film?
As the director quotes – Nobody sees the struggles of a filmmaker, all that people see is the filmmaker’s output and where he stands today. In that case, the director’s debut film is a one he can be proud of, not because of the struggle he’s gone through to make this film, but, because, the way he’s delivered the film is modest, fun and thought-provoking.

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