Instead of waiting for a release date in the ever-crowded Kollywood scene, the trend of releasing content-driven, so-called small films directly in popular online streaming platforms is picking up in Tamil cinema. After Sigai last month, it’s the turn of Kalavu now. Both the films are available on Zee 5.
Kalavu is a slick, gripping crime thriller drama set in the outskirts of Chennai. A group of three friends are embroiled in a chain snatching crime that they haven’t committed. After a night of binge drinking, the three of them playfully escape from the clutches of the cops during their routine checks for ‘DD’ (drink and drive) cases on the roads. The friends slowly realize the magnitude of the situation and the stress that’s in store for them. They face harassment from the cops and have to somehow relieve themselves from the situation.
Kalavu also has an adultery angle linked to the above crime, with actor Karunakaran playing a disgruntled husband whose disloyal wife is the one who’s at the receiving end of the chain snatching incident and is seriously hurt.
Kalavu showcases dimensions of Karunakaran and Venkat Prabhu (playing a foul-mouthed cop) hitherto unseen by the Tamil audience. And after Madras, it’s an impactful character again for Kalaiarasan, who is the main man among the three friends. Kalai has always come across as a natural performer, and Kalavu utilizes his skills well. The other friends have also done well, notably young actor Vatsan Chakravarthy. Veteran actor Chinni Jayanth also has a key role to play in the way the film ends.
The tension in the screenplay works in the film’s favour. Director Murali Karthick doesn’t water down the proceedings with needless song - dance sequences and romance scenes. He has extracted the best from all his actors. The run time is just around 1 hour 50 minutes. Editor Kiripakaran deserves credit for maintaining the film’s tempo and pace, and also playing around with the narrative’s various segments. K S Sundaramurthy’s background score ticks all the boxes for the thriller genre.
In the aftermath of the cult thriller hit Maanagaram, we have one more small timer which stands tall on its merits. Give it a shot; you won’t be disappointed.