Kannada film Kidi is a magic-less remake of Malayalam hit film Kali starring Dulquer Salmaan

Karthik Keramalu

Oct,09 2017 18:02 29 IST

Case 1 – The Beginning:

The film begins with the shot of a man cycling to a dhaba. He parks his bicycle near the highway eatery and walks into the shop with a plastic bag that contains fish. The camera then focuses on a hungry cat. What does the cat want? The fish, of course.

Shots of men doing the dishes and chopping meat and vegetables come in and go out of the camera’s eye swiftly. The setting naturally demands such moments.

Soon after that, John (Vinayakan), a thug who has lent money to the proprietor of the dhaba, makes a sly entry and grabs a chair to sit down for a quick business-talk. A few verbal and physical exchanges later, the proprietor is thrown out.

Now that John’s character has been established, the opening credits pop up to the rousing theme music of Kali.

Still from Kidi (L) and Kali (R)

Case 2 – The College Fight:

A young man runs to Siddharth (Dulquer Salmaan) to inform him that he’s being chased by a gang of angry men. An unfazed Siddharth looks around and trashes the gang with the help of a motely group of friends. Though, several people are involved in the fight, the director (Sameer Thahir) is interested in telling the story of Siddharth only, and, hence, the scene revolves around him mostly. He becomes the central figure (also known as a leader) of the tussle in less than a minute, and orders the friend who had come to him to strike a member of the rival gang.

The scene ends on a high note, and, the next scene plays out somberly since his girlfriend, Anjali (Sai Pallavi), is mad at him for getting involved in a brawl. A breezy conversation segues into a song (“Chillu Ranthal”). The song, which is set to the rhythms of a montage, paints the relationship they share in pink, red, and all the other colors of love, friendship, and anger.

Kali vs. Kidi:

Kidi, the Kannada remake of Kali starring Bhuvan Chandra and Pallavi (directed by Raghu S.), borrows the plot points and costume combinations to tell the same story (with different intentions) to another section of the audience.

I’m sure you’ve noticed the brackets I’ve used for the phrase “with different intentions”. What does it mean? Allow me to explain.

If you have watched Kali, you’d know that the Malayalam original is intense and greatly supported by the performances of Dulquer Salmaan and Sai Pallavi.

Well, to be honest the Kannada remake does put some decent actors on the stage. But, what goes downhill is the way in which it is narrated. Even though, the film sticks to the original, the final output is underwhelming.

Take Case 1 for example, the cat is missing in the remake. Kidi starts off just the way Kali does, minus the cat. Ah! “What’s the presence of a cat going to add,” you may ask. These are the little touches that complete the circle of storytelling. They are the essence of Kali. A cat meowing and wagging its tail at the mere sight of fish! Doesn’t that simple image tell you that the film has a vision of its own?

In Case 2, Bhuvi (Bhuvan Chandra) beats up the boys of the other gang to pulp singlehandedly. This particular episode is more than enough to inform the viewer about the remake’s treatment.

Kali’s Dulquer fights like an angry man in your neighborhood would, whereas Kidi’s Bhuvan is a film hero. It isn’t easy to push him to the corner with punches and kicks. This is evident in the climax action sequence, as well. As Siddharth tries to make an escape from the dhaba (as a lecherous man goes after his wife), John’s men pin him down. It takes about three minutes for them to do that. On the other hand, Naganna (Ugramm Manju), the thug, and his associates, take around seven minutes to knock Bhuvi unconscious.

[Heroes in movies are unbeatable. They put up a great fight before falling.]

The Role of the Women

Kali’s Sai Pallavi is a student. You see her with books all around her in the song “Vaarthinkalee”. It goes without saying that Dulquer is the breadwinner of the family. However, Kidi’s Pallavi, doesn’t have any such scenes to speak for her role in the film. Yes, she’s seen making round dosas and telling Bhuvan to calm down every now and then, but there’s nothing beyond that.

More Proof of Lazy Filmmaking:

When a potential employer says, “Tell me something about yourself,” Bhuvi comes up with, “My father is a government employee. My mother is a homemaker.”

How is that line of reply relevant to the question? When an interviewer wants to dig into your experiences / qualifications, talking about your parents isn’t a wise move.

I wonder how Bhuvi even got a job with that response.

A remake doesn’t work with an extra song (shot in Thailand), or giving more muscles to the hero. It works in keeping its aesthetics intact. Raghu’s Kidi fails to do that. Furthermore, the leads don’t recreate the magic of togetherness that Dulquer Salmaan and Sai Pallavi did.