Kanchana 3 movie review: Raghava Lawrence's horror film has the same cliches that worked for its predecessors
In Kanchana 3, everything is loud (eardrum-splitting music), exaggerated and playing widely to the gallery.
castRaghava Lawrence, Kovai Sarala, Oviya, Sreeman, Devadarshini, Vedhika, Nikita, Kabir Duhan Singh
Raghava Lawrence was Rajinikanth’s favourite choreographer in the late '90s before he turned actor and director of mass commercials. Lawrence is the “moving spirit” behind south India’s biggest horror franchise, Kanchana. It is structured around his 2007 film Muni. Four year after Kanchana 2, which grossed over Rs 100 crore from domestic and international theatricals, Lawrence is back with Kanchana 3 (also called Muni 4) in Tamil and Telugu.
Lawrence is, in a way, the father of horror comedy, Kollywood’s most popular genre which works well with mass audiences. He follows the pattern of a horror specialist of the 1970s and '80s, Vitalacharya, who ruled the box office. Kanchana 3 is a template Lawrence horror comedy and is largely targeted at family audiences. Yes, Lawrence's Kanchana series has a huge fan base among ladies and kids. These films even have a U/A certificate despite the horror and violence.
The story is virtually the same in all the films in the series. It is about how hero Raghava (Lawrence), a nice friendly neighbourhood guy who plays with kids, is scared of ghost stories. He needs his mother (Kovai Sarala) by his side most of the time to tackle any spooky situation that he comes across. Once again, Raghava gets possessed (like in the first two parts) by a 'ghost', who uses his body to take revenge on villains. The regular set of comic actors, who play his mother, elder brother (Sreeman) and sister-in-law (Devadarshini), are there along with three skimpy dressed glamour girls (Vedhika, Oviya and Nikita), who come as his relatives and prospective brides, trying to woo him.
Lawrence plays a dual role as the nice guy Raghava, who is scared of ghosts, and Kaali, a tough guy who is a philanthropist and runs an orphanage (In real life, Lawrence is known for his philanthropist activities, including running an orphanage for children). Kaali runs afoul of a minister and his brother (Kabir Duhan Singh), who wants to use the Ashram to launder their black money. When he protests, all hell breaks through.
In the nearly three-hour film, everything is loud (eardrum-splitting music), exaggerated and playing widely to the gallery. There are also crass jokes and gimmicks along with three girls who go to great lengths to woo the hero. Add to that creaky doors, rocking chairs, exorcism scenes (including exorcists from Russia!), rituals to ward off the evil, and some characters getting possessed in a funny manner. Plus the mandatory “Amma” sentiments and a so-called social message. There are also a few songs (composed by different music directors) and some deadly CGI fight scenes in the climax to complete the formula
Critics can go take a walk, as proved by the audience's (mostly families) reaction to Kanchana 3 at the theatre where I watched the film. There was loud whistling and clapping as Lawrence and his screen mother Kovai Sarala brought the house down with their antics. It is aptly summed up by the character Kaali’s punchline to the villain: “Nee mass aana, naan double mass!” (If you are mass, I am double mass). The only question that remains is whether Kanchana 3 will join the Rs 100 crore club as well.
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