No, Mani Ratnam is not selling that old Roja in a new bottle with Kaatru Veliyidai. The movie unfurls a genuine tale, placed on the premise of subtle contradictions. What else would you call a love story between a fighter pilot and a physician? One vows by the offensive and the other lives for the welfare of others. Well, this is the thread on which the movie pans out. Varun Chakrapani (Karthi), a stubborn, self-centered and arrogant fighter pilot, falls in love with Dr. Leela Abraham (Aditi Rao Hydari), who is an opposite in toto.
Spoiler Alert: Trained to make split-second decisions, Varun's love is by nature offensive; while Leela nurtures their relationship despite the emotional exhaustion. Older generation's obstinacy separates them and the Kargil War, literally, distances them further. The movie then develops on predictable lines, and how master craftsman Mani Ratnam fights off cliches is THE thing to watch for.
Kaatru Veliyidai speaks through close-up shots and prolonged silences. The much-hailed Mani Ratnam brilliance chose to tread crucial moments of the movie in silence. Each glance is eloquent and each nod is loud. Aditi's character, crafted to steer the moods of movie, literally owns the script. It is the story of a lady doctor's enthusiastic love involving all colors of her profession. Karthi wins over the audience by transforming to a fighter pilot in every ounce. We love him, hate him, cry for him and wonder at him while watching the movie. Other characters are almost irrelevant, yet strong and does what they are intended to do to the plot.
Nature has always been Mani Ratnam's best accomplice all through his career. Snow, rain, mist, and wind are put to use in perfect ways, that without them, the movie would have probably passed as yet another cliched romantic tale. The audience experience their first flight over Himalayas in a fighter plane along with Aditi. We rub our hands when the couple rolls in snow and we pull the hood over when the wind blows on screen.
When A.R. Rahman teams up with Mani Ratnam it brings out notes of magic - Kaatru Veliyidai is no different. A heroine fond of singing is one of the most popular character-cliches, but if she makes it a point to emote to the hero by exploring the informality in it, music begins to speak. Kaatru Veliyidai speaks of cultures. It narrates the tales of multiple cultures and ethnicity all tied up with a single string – the national defense.
Kaatru Veliyidai runs over all anticipations by placing a conventional love story in a strange premise. There is no cut-throat twist in the story line, neither is any suspense. Yet every scene is a wonder and every nook of the screen is worth staring at. Costumes, choreography and camera are three atypical tools which made this movie all a magic. In a nutshell, Kaatru Veliyidai is a snaring and haunting bond of crystal clear romance.