Critic’s Rating : / 5
Kanam Movie Review : Amala’s comeback film packs an emotional wallop with amma sentiment and ’90s nostalgia
Kanam Movie Synopsis: A young musician, along with his two friends, goes back in time to prevent the death of his mother. What happens next?
Kanam Movie Review: Like Pazham, the hero of the recent Thiruchitrambalam, Aadhi (Sharwa), the protagonist of Kanam, is also someone who is unable to get over the loss of his mother in an accident. Another common thing that they share is a sort-of broken relationship that they have with their respective fathers. In fact, both the films have opening scenes that feel similar… a car going on a long stretch of road, and a driver who is distracted by a message. But the similarities end here, save for the fact that they are both feel-good films.
Director Shreekarthick uses this set-up to give us a time travel film that is loaded with some good ol’ amma sentiment and a dollop of ’90s nostalgia, and packs an emotional wallop. The plot kicks in when Aadhi and his friends – Pandi (Ramesh Thilak), a house broker, and Kathir (Sathish), a bachelor desperately trying to get married – meet Rangi Kuttapaul (Nasser), a scientist. Paul learns that Aadhi had lost his mother (Amala Akkineni) around the same time as when he had lost Michael Roy (Yog Japee), his partner (whether strictly professional or otherwise, the film leaves it open for interpretation), in a failed experiment at time travel. Now, 20 years later, he has finally invented time travel, and offers Aadhi a chance to save his mother, if he agrees to stop Michael’s death as well. Pandi and Kathir, too, join in this mission, for their own reasons. Do the friends manage to change the course of events and their lives?
Films that involve time travel inherently pack in enough drama and excitement, given how the very concept involves wish fulfillment and nostalgia. Shreekarthick realises this. He doesn’t overdo the nostalgia, beyond offering us a couple of period markers (one particular scene in which the three friends get emotional watching the Nirma commercial on TV leaves us with a smile) and footage of the city from the ’90s to establish the setting. The cleverest trick that he uses – even as the trio of friends ends up in the past, the director transports a few characters from the ’90s to the present – is also the one that adds freshness to the time-travel concept.
But the filmmaker never gets distracted from what he’s truly after – the emotional bond between a mother and her son – and it is this angle that drives the plot. In Amala and Sharwa, he gets two actors who share great onscreen chemistry. The warmth that Amala (who is returning to Tamil films after three decades) exudes and the longing that Sharwa conveys (his expression when he gets to taste his mother’s food again is a standout) go a long way in endearing these characters to us. The sub-plots involving Kathir’s attempt at getting his younger self to show interest in his classmate who is bound to become a stunning model and Pandi’s attempt at making his younger self get serious about studies add levity to the proceedings and ensure that things don’t get too serious.
The supporting cast including Ritu Varma, who plays Adhi’s girlfriend, and Ravi Raghavendra, who plays Adhi’s father, play their parts with conviction, while composer Jakes Bejoy’s lush score superbly elevates the emotional beats, ensuring that we are moved by the time we get to the climax.