REVIEW: Kaari – Completely engaging and entertaining with amazing execution despite a shaky beginning.

The last time I experienced chills while seeing a mass hero who is not an actor, a star, or even a human on screen was when I saw the Superhero Fly in “Naan E”. I was shouting in joy and jubilation like what I would do for my favourite star. Years later, Kaari did the same thing to me every time I saw the enormous hulks in our Indian bulls when they showed on screen.

The story revolves around a variety of topics, including the dispute over a village temple, Sethu’s (Sasikumar’s) battle to uphold his father’s moral principles, his battles with corporations to keep Karuppan alive and with the government to prevent his village from becoming a district dump, as well as social issues like the slaughter of cows, village social reform, and the need to preserve water and the environment. The good news is that all of these problems seamlessly meld together to form a single narrative.

The execution is without a doubt the film’s greatest strength. The movie’s short horse race in the beginning is skillfully staged with challenging camera angles and shots, but the Jallikattu parts are just fantastic due to the bulls’ increased screen presence and the way they were choreographed. Along with the gory scenes, the director is successful in making the audience feel an emotional connection to the animals. The feelings of Paal Meena, portrayed by Parvathy Arun, with her bull Karuppan, and those of Vellachamy, played by Aadukalam Naren, with his horse Sunshine, both worked very beautifully. When the two movie heroes, Sasikumar and the bull, finally clash, one of the key protagonists, Karuppan, connects with the audience so much that the audience almost finds it difficult to decide which side to support.

The movie did get off to a rocky start with melodramatic passages that somewhat functioned as sentimental scenes. Sethu and his father have a solid relationship, but it also has a cinematic feel to it. Although Vellachamy’s horse-mounted emotions were effective, they were not as strong as those involving the bull. Sasikumar did a passable job in his role as Sethu, a race jockey who unintentionally finds himself at his home town where more difficulties lie. He can fit into some scenarios without any trouble at all, and he can also fit into some scenes only partially. Parvathy Arun, who makes her acting debut as Paal Meena, truly impresses with her portrayal, especially in the scene where her bull goes missing. The challenging Jallikattu shots were expertly captured by Ganesh Chandhrra’s camera work, which also happens to be the best technical work in the movie and is well supported by D. Imman’s background music.

The performances of Vallanki Nagineedu and Balaji Sakthivel stand out for their excellent work, but other characters have a very small impact on the plot. Ammu Abhirami and Redin Kingsley had zero to do with the film’s plot. Sethu’s friendship with Prem plays a significant role in why he decides to return to his village. The first-half child abuse incident is extremely disturbing and a hard hitting reality, an awareness to the audience on the hard hitting reality, but it was a bit out of the place to the script. JD Chakravarthy portrays SKR as an evil, egotistic villain who has an odd passion to eat untamed animal meat. He wants to sample the best of all the world’s living things, from cows to tigers. It was difficult to understand, and I thought it went beyond what the character actually needed to do to advance the plot.

Kaari is a technically sound rural film which is entertaining for any audience and is so much emotionally relatable for those who are aware or have been with these bulls in their villages.