Sunday, October 30, 2016
OnlyKollywood.com (Surendhar MK) review**
Indian Express (K.R. Manoj) review**
Hindustan Times () review**
The Hindu (S. Ramanujam) review**
Times of India (M. Suganth) review**
Kodi  [IMDb] [FiBt] (written and directed by R.S. Durai Senthilkumar [IMDb] [FiBt]) is a Indian (Tamil) film that opened both in India and across the world for India's Diwali holiday weekend. It's a political thriller, which while having its action / comedic elements is really a _scathing denunciation_ of _systemic_ political corruption in Tamil? / Indian? politics today.
The film is about two sons, twins, of a humble "sound-man" (played by the Tamil actor Karuunas [IMDb] [FiBt]), who would help set-up the microphones at political rallies (though, poignantly and perhaps at least in part symbolically, HE HIMSELF WAS "MUTE").
Touched by the vow of a local politician that he and his Party (colors green and gold) would "fight to the death" to close a local factory which was poisoning its workers with mercury, the father takes his sons to a Party rally in front of said factory. However, to the father's dismay, as soon as the Politician appeared to believe that there were enough photographs taken of him and his Party "protesting in front of the factory," the Politician called the rally-off, saying "their work was done" and began sending the gathered (Party) protesters home. The father of the two sons, himself, again mute (perhaps as a result of some kind of poisoning in his family's past), can not let himself "just go home" like that. So the father PICKS UP A CAN OF KEROSENE, pours it on himself and sets himself on fire in protest. The Politician had promised that they would "fight to the death" to close the factory. Now the Politician was packing-up to go home after hardly exerting himself at all. This poor / sincere father WITH A WIFE AND TWO YOUNG SONS, was NOT going to "just go home as well."
... the story resumes 20 years later. The two young sons Kodi and Anbu (both played by the Tamil actor Dhanush [IMDb] [FiBt]) had grown up, though the two had taken very different paths: Kodi, whose name apparently meant "Flag" had therefore pursued a life of political action seeking to in effect "partly redeem" (and perhaps even "avenge") his father's death (to make it mean something), while Anbu stayed closer to his mother (played by Saranya Ponvannan [IMDb] [FiBt]) who was angered to current day at her husband for having so pointlessly left her a widow to raise two young sons in poverty. Growing-up in precarity, both sons nonetheless were educated. When the film resumes those "20 years later" we find that Kodi has just been promoted by the "Green and Gold" Party as the "Regional Head" of its "Youth Wing." Anbu, on the other hand, has gotten a job as a mathematics instructor at the local university.
Both would basically live rather "small" yet _happy_ lives if ... not for the return of a crisis resulting from that cursed (20-years closed) mercury factory. Yes, apparently IN PART due to their father's sacrifice ... officials HAD TO SHUT THE PLANT DOWN. But now, twenty years later ... the plant was found LEAKING mercury into the local water supply.
When Kodi finds-out about the new situation, he immediately carries the news to his Superior, who ... tells him TO SIT ON THE INFORMATION UNTIL "AFTER THE ELECTION" promising him "WE'LL DEAL WITH THE SITUATION 'RIGHT AWAY' ... AFTERWARDS.
Well, intelligent enough to see a lie being told to his face ... he goes to the OPPOSING PARTY (their banner was RED with a HORSESHOE and A STAR. Guess what Party, THEY represented? ;-). Even though the GREEN-GOLD and the RED-W-HORSESHOE-AND-STAR parties were "sworn enemies" of each other, HE HAD "A FRIEND" THERE ... a young lady, HIS AGE named Rudhra (probably meaning "Red" and played by Trisha Krishnan [IMDb] [FiBt]) who he'd known all his life because they'd always go to the same rallies, just on opposite sides and who, like him, had "risen through the ranks" of her, the RED-W-HORSESHOE-AND-STAR party. Indeed, though not openly, the two had become "lovers" of sorts, having "a lot in common" actually.
Anyway, Kodi tells his friend / lover Rudhra (from the opposing Party) the news about the closed but now found to be still leaking mercury factory. Perhaps THEY could do something to save people's lives, BUT ...
... And that's then the story. NOBODY SEEMS TO CARE. Kodi and Anbu's father DIED to shut that plant down ("so that others may live.") Now Kodi finds that the plant is yet again a problem but NEITHER Party wants to do anything about it (AGAIN). He himself DIES, is MURDERED (by whom? ...).
And it's left to mild mannered brother Anbu ... who just wanted to stay home, live a nice simple life taking care of his mother on behalf of his more politically conscious father / brother ... BUT NOW HOW CAN HE "JUST SIT THERE" AND DO NOTHING ...?
And yet it is SO CLEAR that NEITHER PARTY GAVE A DAMN ... AND BOTH EVEN PUT OBSTACLES IN THE WAY of others TRYING "to do the right thing." Indeed, BOTH PARTIES are shown solemnly having pictures of India's founder, the former living saint, M.K. Gandhi, piously hanging BEHIND THEM at their rallies and in their offices. AND YET, NONE OF THE CURRENT POLITICIANS DO ANYTHING EXCEPT SEEK _random_ / _trivial_ POLITICAL ADVANTAGE OVER ONE ANOTHER.
Indeed, the film becomes a damning story about "one little family" that "cared" surrounded / embroiled in a system that CLEARLY "didn't give a damn at all."
I would close here noting that out of four Tamil films (coming from India's state of Tamil Nadu) that I've seen here in the United States since beginning my blog, THREE had as a good part of their theme POLITICAL CORRUPTION. These films become a reminder that India is a diverse place and that even if Bollywood tends to produce "lovely romances" at one end of the country, at its other end, in Tamil Nadu, the film-makers clearly have "other stories" that they want to tell.
Good job folks, very good job! ;-)
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