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Movie Review: Kanden Kadhalai (2009) Back to Movie
Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam
Fans Rating: 86%%86%% 86% (32 votes)
Movie Still Jab We Met was a charming romance that used its characterization and script to make the familiar story seem fresh. Like most remakes, Kanden Kaadhalai borrows most of its story while adding a few elements to make it more appealing to the Tamil audience. These new elements have mixed results and so the Tamil version is a competent remake though, like most remakes, it falls short of the original.

Shakti(Bharath), who has inherited his dad's business following his death, is going through some tough times. His mom has eloped with another man, his lover is getting married and his business is failing. Unable to handle it, he hops onto a train and even contemplates suicide. Its there that he meets Anjali(Tamannah), whose innocence and attitude begin to make him feel better. So he goes to her house with her and later, when she is pressured to get married by her family, he accompanies her as she runs away to meet her lover Gautham.

Kanden Kaadhalai has an interesting storyline as the character arcs of Bharath and Tamannah traverse exactly opposite routes in the two halves of the movie. If its Bharath who is depressed and dejected initially and gets out of it with Tamannah's unsolicited help, its the latter who is in an emotional trough later and needs him to get out of it. Inspite of some unnecessary, overt displays (like the recreation of their earlier hotel room conversation when the two meet in her hostel room), this see-saw in their fortunes and the contrasting roles they play as a result of that provides an interesting twist to the otherwise traditional romance.

Out of the two long episodes, Bharath's transformation at the hands of Tamannah ends up being the more interesting. The incidents and the mini-adventures they encounter keep things moving and while we know where things are going, the fact that their relationship is unencumbered by romance at that point makes it more light-hearted and charming. The stop at Tamannah's house ups the fun. Santhanam shows up in the traditional comedian's role of Tamannah's suitor and entertains us with his quips while Tamannah's attempts to hitch Bharath with her cousin lead to a few low-key amusing moments. Both these help keep things busy and engaging.

Considering Tamannah's situation, the segment where the roles of Bharath and Tamannah are reversed is understandably more sober. Their individual character arcs and behavior are consistent and the feelings they undergo, both the confirmation of the feelings in Bharath's mind and the change of feelings in Tamannah's heart, are quite convincing. But Santhanam's antics here feel a bit forced and while they do raise some laughs, the shifts in tone that they cause feel a bit odd. Mannu's character is also made completely weak, which makes proceedings less interesting. The short and sweet climax is welcome though.

Bharath doesn't quite fit the role of the suave businessman even with the glasses and the clean-shaven look. But that apart, he is convincing when he's with Tamannah. Tamannah is a perfect fit for her role. Her initial chirpiness brings back some not-so-pleasant memories of Aanandha Thaandavam but she wins us over with the help of the well-written character. She is bubbly and energetic, but not irritatingly so, initially and earns our sympathy with the contrasting mellowness in the second half. Santhanam shows no change in his acting style or dialog delivery. Among the song sequences, Venpanju... and Suthudhu Suthudhu... help Bharath show off his dance skills. Kaatru Pudhidhaai... is a nice number and is pleasantly picturized.

Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam