Kaappaan movie review: Suriya, Mohanlal are charismatic in this formulaic action drama

Sreedhar Pillai

Sep 20, 2019 15:49:21 IST

2.25/5

Kaappaan starts with a bang and moves at a rapid pace, but somewhere towards the middle it gets bogged down and runs out of ideas. No wonder the initial trailer of the film was a downer with the look and feel of a 1990s patriotic film.  To put it bluntly, other than the charismatic performance of Suriya and Mohanlal, there is nothing much in this formulaic old-style jaded action drama.

The trouble with this half- baked film is that it's dated; and director KV Anand and his screenplay writer Pattukottai Prabhakaran have tried to incorporate too many things into the plot. The movie also seems to have borrowed several scenes from Telugu and Malayalam films. The basic thread of the film is supposed to be that there's a threat to the Prime Minister's life and how an SPG officer singlehandedly tries to thwart the terrorist’s plans. The film keeps changing its focus, which makes the characterisation weak. Commercial ingredients like songs, dance, romance, action and comedy are thrown in at regular intervals. Moreover, a heavy dose of messaging and a threat of a bio warfare in agriculture sector through locust is added in the climax.

 Kaappaan movie review: Suriya, Mohanlal are charismatic in this formulaic action drama

Suriya in a still from Kaapaan. YouTube

Too many subplots are thrown in as the film shows Kathir (Suriya) as a farmer who has got a lot of awards for his farming technology (In fact, Suriya’s last release NGK too showed him as an organic farmer). The next scene shows him as an undercover military intelligence-wing agent who had once infiltrated a terror group in Pakistan. The following scene has him saving the Prime Minister Chandrakanth Varma (Mohanlal) in London from a deadly assassination. The prime minister thanks him for saving his life and appoints him as his principal security officer. And Kathir’s team has a handful of good and bad SPG officers like Samuthirakani and Prem. PM’s son Abhishek (Arya) is an aimless fun guy who eats junk food (some brands are displayed) and loves to party. The beautiful and vivacious Anjali (Sayyesha), who lost her father, a former minister in a terrorist attack, is the press secretary in the PMO. There is also the billionaire businessman Mahadev (Bomman Irani), a kingmaker and greedy corporate leader who wants to control the PMO. And then there is a dreaded terrorist (Chirag Jani), who is trying to assassinate the prime minister.    

In the last one year, there have been dozens of films in Tamil and Telugu with the hero as an ‘organic farmer’, who alwys talks about new farming technology. The root cause of farmer distress in India as shown in these films is the dirty and evil corporate guys who want to gobble up farm lands. If the film had kept to its basic theme of an international terrorist group supported by Pakistan, trying to assassinate the prime minister, with SPG and intelligence trying to thwart it, it would have been a far more credible film. In fact, the interval block scene creates an impact but second half the story moves away from its core theme. The censors have also allowed many references to ‘Pakistan’, which could not be said a year back.

Read — Kaappaan music review: Harris Jayraj composes yet another album loaded with chartbusters for Suriya's film

There are too many songs which add only to the length of the film (2 hours 46 minutes) and their placement is jarring. However the songs by Harris Jayaraj are peppy and 'Amigo' is the pick of the lot. The action scenes have also been well picturised, though the special effects could have been better. One of the big let downs is that enough research and detailing have not gone into the script (on the working of the PMO) and makes a mockery of the way SPG functions. And a ‘prime minister’ coming in disguise to attend a birthday party in a restobar without his chief of security knowing it, is stretching cinematic liberties to the limit.

Why did a fine actor like Boman Irani agree to play such a clichéd villain role? Mohanlal in his limited role is made to mouth lengthy patriotic dialogues which sound hollow. Suriya tries his best to salvage the film but weak writing and bad script once again lets him down.

(Read: Why Suriya's action-thriller Kaappaan is one of the most important films of the superstar's career)

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Updated Date: Sep 20, 2019 15:49:21 IST