The new age Tamil cinema has been experimenting with the horror-fantasy theme for a couple of years now, finding success to a large extent. A handful of horror comedies found the success formula and so did a number of thrillers woven around the fear factor. Enters Kaashmora, directed by Gokul, the new addition to the genre. The beginning of the movie writes it on its forehead – that it wants to thrill you by frightening you, it wants to make you laugh with Vivek's one-liners and Karthi's antics and it wants you to be in awe for the period portion, glimpses of which we are teased with generously. Alas, all these remain as the makers' intentions even after 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Karthi is Kaashmora, a famed exorcist in the present world. Just when we start to think that it would look odd if Kaashmora is a sorcerer for real, his true colors unfurl before us. He runs the 'family business' in the company of his greedy father (Vivek), mother, sister and grandmother. There's Yamini (Sri Divya) who is doing her thesis on ghosts and no, no prizes for guessing what she's going to do now. To gather evidence for her research, she wants to keep track of Kaashmora's work and he agrees. On a parallel line, we are told of a demonic character who is trying to achieve moksha from an ancient curse that has put him in the darkness for ages.
Not enough ingredients? There is a corrupt minister (Sharath Lohitashwa) who kills his betrayer on a fixed time as suggested by his Malayali spiritual guru (Madhusudhan Rao). Mind you, no Keralite would speak Tamil in the atrocious manner his character does in the film. There's this police officer who guards minister's wrongdoings and is there to make the 'crucial' findings after the entire world knows about it. And, there are enough of ghosts and demons, born to visual effects, and one of them has a surprise touch but many of you already know it.
Time passes by and in the least engaging way possible, events connect Kaashmora and family to Raj Nayak (Karthi again), a tyrannical war lord of a bygone era, and Rathna Mahadevi (Nayanthara). We've been looking forward to Karthi's makeover appearance as the tonsured, bearded, evil-grinned warrior, but sadly by then, the only thing we're looking forward is the end of the film.
True, Karthi's portrayal of Raj Nayak is top-class but he disappoints otherwise, a rarity. It is a pity to see him trying hard to evoke the laughter with his face-offs with ghosts. The writing is to be blamed here, and can be compared to a loose kite that somehow manages to float on. It does not engage the audience and goes through umpteen number of situations that are done to death. The period portion of about 20 minutes is the saving grace of the film that drags on.
Nayanthara is graceful and effortlessly carries the panache of a princess who knows how to use her sword. Other actors have very less to do.
Visual effects-powered scenes look tidy on the screen to some extent. Art director Rajeevan had some tough task to do and he impresses us with his work, so is cinematographer Om Prakash. Santhosh Narayanan has etched his quality stamp on the movie's music but it is less likely to get much attention.
Kaashmora, one of the much-awaited Tamil movies of this year, fails to leave a mark. It's a credit if you came out of the movie without yawning much.
Onmanorama rating: 2/5