Kaalidas stars Bharath and Suresh Chandra Menon in lead roles.

Director: Sri Senthil
Cast: Bharath Niwas, Ann Sheetal and Suresh Menon

Bharath Niwas’ Kaalidas, from first time writer-director Sri Senthil, is one of those thrillers that deceives its audience more number of times than expected, especially when you’re watching for the first time. Quite early on, we get the typical hero introduction scene. Bharath plays a cop and as the shot opens, we see a knife being pointed at him and we hear a train passing by nearby. As the shot zooms out, you anticipate a fight but the scene doesn’t turn out the way you expect and it pleasantly leaves you surprised. Kaalidas has many surprises up its sleeves and as each one gets unraveled, you marvel at the writing.

Kaalidas is a cop drama with no fight sequences.

Kaalidas is a cop drama with no fight sequences.

Here’s a film that turns every mainstream cinema trope on its head and still manages to impress with its writing. For instance, Kaalidas is the first cop film in Tamil cinema in a long time without a single fight sequence and it still manages to engage till the end. It’s a film titled after its central character Kaalidas (played by Bharath), but gives more weightage to a supporting character (played effortlessly by Suresh Menon). The film goes on to prove that you don’t always need the hero to save the day and that the effort could come from anyone. Suresh Menon plays a very interesting character and he nails his part with grace. Suresh plays Bharath’s superior and we see him handle the case more sensibly, simply because he’s more experienced and not because of his rank.

Watch the trailer of Kaalidas: [embedded content]

Kaalidas deals with extra marital affairs but it never glorifies the issue. It maintains a neutral stand and that’s where Sri Senthil’s writing deserves a lot of praise. While we have dialogues from Bharat blaming women for finding happiness outside marriage, we also hear Suresh Menon say that to indulge in such a relationship is one’s personal choice and there’s nothing right or wrong about it. It’s amazing how the film crushes every trope associated with stereotypical hero representation and allows Bharath’s character to assess the situation without getting judgmental.

Kaalidas has some sensible writing by Sri Senthil.

Kaalidas has some sensible writing by Sri Senthil.

Kaalidas is definitely going down as an important film in Bharath’s career. It might be an exaggeration to call it his major comeback, but the film definitely allows him to prove what he’s capable of doing even in a role stripped of all its star trappings. But the star of the film for me is Suresh Menon, in what is easily his best character since his return to acting a few years ago. Kaalidas belongs to Bharath as much as it belongs to Suresh, and both complement each other in roles that are rarely written these days. Sri Senthil reminds audience that it’s alright if a hero isn’t perfect and can have problems of his own to deal with.

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