Movie Review

‘Kalvan’ On Disney+ Hotstar Movie Review: GV Prakash Kumar's Genuine Effort Gets Overshadowed By A Mediocre Script

Outlook Rating:
1.5 / 5

Starring GV Prakash Kumar, 'Kalvan' is now available to stream on Disney+ Hotstar. Is this film worth watching or you can choose to skip it? Read the full review to find out.

Disney+ Hotstar
A still from 'Kalvan' Photo: Disney+ Hotstar
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After a slew of films that have received a lukewarm response at the box office, actor GV Prakash Kumar returned to the screens with ‘Kalvan.’ This PV Shankar directorial marks his second film at the box office this year. The actor pinned a lot of hopes on this survival thriller film because this role was something that was slightly out of his comfort zone. The movie was released in theatres in April. However, after a decent run at the theatres, the movie is now available to stream on Disney+ Hotstar. In case you are planning to start your hectic week with a movie to unwind, then here’s all that you need to know about ‘Kalvan.’

‘Kalvan’: Story

The plot revolves around Kembaraju (played by GV Prakash Kumar) and his partner in crime Suri (played by Dheena) - both thieves living in a village bordering the Sathyamangalam forest. Kemban is an orphan who is an extremely street-smart thief. He possesses a deep understanding of human behaviour. Despite this, he is also merciless and is willing to resort to violence for financial gain.

Amidst this backdrop, Kemban falls for Balamani (played by Ivana), a nursing college student whose father (played by Gnanasambandan), is determined to arrange her marriage with a responsible suitor from his office. However, while Kemban has feelings for Balamani, she rejects his advances sternly and asks him to stop pursuing her. During a visit to an elderly care facility, Balamani shows compassion towards a lonely old man (played by Bharathiraja). Kemban, disguised as a painter at the old age home, decides to adopt the man as his grandfather. While Suri assumes Kemban has made this move to win Balamani's favour, he does not know that Kemban has sinister motives behind this move.

‘Kalvan’: Performances

GV Prakash plays the role of the petty thief – Kembaraju. When it comes to looking the part, the actor who is known for delivering poignant portrayals has nailed it. It is fairly evident throughout the film that he has done his homework for this role well. However, his performance does not remain static throughout. In some scenes, his dialogue delivery looks forced but in others, it is evocative, and it brings out his grey character well. His adept use of expressions and body language becomes strikingly apparent in that scene where he finds himself on the verge of being trampled by an elephant.

Dheena, who plays the role of Suri, initially appears as Kemban’s sidekick. But there’s more to him in the film. His comic timing is impeccable, and he manages to elevate the film. His camaraderie with GV Prakash Kumar is heartwarming to watch. His comedic timing shines throughout and his jokes consistently hit the mark.

Ivana plays the role of Balamani. Frankly, she does not have much to do except for being Kemban’s love interest. It is not entirely her fault because her character was not fleshed out well. She had nothing much to do when it came to her role. She has little to add and that is why her character fails to make a mark on you.

Apart from this, if there is one actor who will wow you, it is Bharathiraja. As the old man from the old age home, his character is central to the plot. The actor has shouldered this responsibility fairly well. His performance injects a certain charm that makes some of his scenes more appealing compared to the rest. The scenes between GV Prakash, Dheena, and Bharathiraja have immense potential to keep you hooked.

‘Kalvan’: Script, Direction & Technical Aspects

‘Kalvan’ aims to highlight the issues faced by those villagers who live near the hills as they deal with roaming animals. The film also highlights the struggles one faces when they are trying to land a government job and how money influences a lot of decisions. When you have themes like these that can ignite important conversations, it is imperative that you uniquely deal with them. What weighs ‘Kalvan’ down is how predictable and clichéd the entire story unfolds. The makers have taken the easiest route and have used the most simplistic of ways to deal with the story. The screenplay is loose, and the dialogues are poorly written. Additionally, it feels like only Kemban’s character was well-written and the others were just written as tropes.

The movie uses some visual effects as well. The sequence in which Kemban encounters a herd of wild elephants showcases a commendable level of technical proficiency. But, at the same time, when you look at the other sequence which features a tiger, you can only marvel at how subpar it looks. There is no balance in the movie - some parts are commendable, while others make you question what went wrong.

The music in the film is decent at best. It does not stay with you for long, but it does a decent job in propelling the narrative forward. The cinematography blends well with the music. Additionally, the camera work has done a decent job of capturing the natural beauty of the location. The cinematography team provides precisely what is needed for a rural setting with a forest backdrop. The editing is choppy, and a lot of unnecessary scenes could have been edited out to make a crisper watch.

‘Kalvan’: Cast & Crew

Director: PV Shankar 

Cast: GV Prakash Kumar, Bharathiraja, Ivana, Dheena, G Gnanasambandam, Cheranraj, Vinodh Munna, Maruthupandi

Available On: Disney+ Hotstar

Duration: 2 hours 22 minutes

Languages: Tamil

‘Kalvan’: Can Kids Watch It?

Yes, with parental guidance.

Outlook’s Verdict

‘Kalvan’ had a lot of potential, but the way that the movie has been panned out feels like a squandered take. The screenplay and the plot developments are predictable and there is nothing left to your imagination. The twists and turns add nothing to the plot. With only two remarkable performances, there is not enough substance in the film to keep you hooked. Additionally, the way the mahout has been treated in the film will make you cringe because it is jarring to watch. What this movie needs is balance and emotional connect which has been lacking from the very beginning. I am going with 1.5 stars.   

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