Here’s our take on the dramatis personae of Kandukondein Kandukondein.
* Aishwarya Rai is mostly graceless.
* Ajith is generally passionless.
* Abbas is absolutely expressionless.
* Tabu, our inamorata, is divinely peerless. 😉
* Mamooty is typically matchless.
Despite the reckless and habitual vandalism of the Ash-Ajith-Abbas troika on the movie sets, we’d still consider Kandukondein Kandukondein a decent film.
Kandukondein Kandukondein owes its charm primarily to its passable adaptation of Jane Austen’s early 19th century novel Sense and Sensibility (1811) and, to a lesser extent, to director Rajiv Menon’s deft hand at the tiller.
Say what you will, in a crass, class-less Tamil movie film industry this Menon fella shows some class and stands tall.
Movie buffs will recollect Rajiv Menon as the director of the Arvind Swamy-Kajol Mukerji hit Minsara Kanavu and the man behind the camera in Bombay.
Hewing largely to the story in the English novel, Kandukondein Kandukondein traces the fall into straitened circumstances of a widow and her three young daughters.
And follows the gambols in Cupid’s vineyard of the two older daughters as they move from the calm of their Poongudi village to the harsh environs of Chennai and navigate the harsh circumstances of city life and the hard ruts of their love lives.
Srividya plays the mama cat and Tabu, Aishwarya and Shamili her kittens.Â Mamooty, Abbas and Ajith play the beaus.
Charm Fades With Move
The movie chugs along smoothly but we couldn’t help feeling that some of the beguiling charm was lost after the family moves from Poongudi to the big city in pursuit of a livelihood.
You see after their grandfather’s death, Sowmya has lost her job and the family the large house they live in. It’s not a gradual descent into genteel poverty but a rather abrupt, precipitous fall into abject poverty.
Will the family regain its footing? Will the girls find the love they long for?
The photography and costumes are extremely pleasing to the eye.
A gorgeous riot of colors strikes the eyes be it Aishwarya Rai in an orange saree, Tabu in a black and red Arab dress on the desert sands, the centuries-old Scottish castle, the pool in which Tabu and Ash are swimming or the picturization of the songs.
It’s a mighty shame that the fact that cinema is foremost a visual medium is often lost on the schmucks who strut and masquerade around as movie directors in India.
Fortunately, not on Rajiv Menon. This is one man who knows his vibrant colors.
Study in Contrasts
The two older girls Sowmya (Tabu) and Meenakshi (Aishwarya Rai) are a study in contrasts.
One (Meenakshi) is a poet and dreamer, looking for a knight to come and sweep her off her feet and the other (Sowmya), dogged by an undeserved reputation for bringing ill-luck to her suitors, has her feet firmly planted on terra firma and manages a bunch of educational institutions run by the family.
Into their placid lives come three men – a crippled former army commando Bala (Mamooty), a Mercedes-driving finance company hot-shot executive Srikanth (Abbas) and an aspiring film director Manohar (Ajith).
To pair Aishwarya Rai with Abbas is akin to mating a gazelle with a mastodon.
Clueless in the acting department, Abbas and Ajith are the tallest bozos in the menagerie of acting midgets.
Given her relatively tender years and a sparkle in her eyes then, Aishwarya Rai is a little better in Kandukondein Kandukondein than her usual hopeless self.
In one of life’s many injustices, the titless twit Aishwarya Rai seemed to get more screen time than the infinitely more talented and buxom Tabu.
A key appeal of Kandukondein Kandukondein is in its music.
All the songs were not merely euphonic but also well picturized.
But why in the name of God was the title song Kandukondein Kandukondein picturized on that freak Abbas.
Our favorite song though was Enna Solla Poigiray, picturized against the backdrop of the Pyramids and the Sphinx.
How could it not be? After all, it featured our Tabu. 😉 The only jarring note in the song was once again that abhorrent freak Ajith.
Nearly a decade after the movie debuted, Kandukondein Kandukondein still exercises a charm that few Tamil movies possess.
If you live in the U.S., you can rent Kandukondein Kandukondein from Netflix.
Should you live in Incredible India, theft is only a mouse-click away. 😉
With all the star brigade in the movie I was wondering if it would become an example of ‘Too many cooks spoil the broth’. Luckily it didn’t.
Ash’s performance has deteriorated since Kanudokondein Kandukondein.
Sad such people rule the roost in Indian films.
How was Mammootty . Personally I didnt like the movie 🙂
Mammooty was alright. His role seemed small. But then this was a movie not dominated by a single star.
There’s a certain minimum standard you can expect from stars like Mammooty.
I have seen Mohd. Kutty / Mammooty in two movies.
One is Dhalapati where he plays a gangster.
His character is based on that of Duryodhana who shelters Karna (Rajnikanth) to fight against Arjuna (a very young and handsome Aravind Swamy).
Rajni himself wasnt bad in the movie, although Mammooty and Swamy were better than him.
The movie also has Shobhana.
Another is a Telugu movie called Swathi Kiranam (1992) where he plays a maestro of classical singing who is consumed by jealousy due to the prodigious talent of his pupil.
Now this is the kind of Telugu movie you should be watching and not Arya, Arya2 and Ganesh etc.
You are right when you say that performers like Mammooty bring in a certain level of class even to the most mundane of characters and to the stupidest of the storylines.
I would put Sanjeev Kumar (late), Nana Patekar, Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri in this category.
Have you seen Nana Patekar’s Ankush, Prahaar, Parinda, Angaar and Krantiveer ? All are Nana specials.
You write above: Have you seen Nana Patekar’s Ankush, Prahaar, Parinda, Angaar and Krantiveer ? All are Nana specials.
No, the only Nana Patekar films we’ve seen are Welcome, Dus Kahaniyaan, Phir Hera Pheri, Taxi No. 9 2 11, Bluffmaster and Apaharan.
The good things of life come by slowly, infrequently but surely. 😉
Ash would have been 26 in that movie.. assuming it was shot in 1999.. so not really ‘tender’
Abbas in the KK song (where Ash looks stupendous – what a godawful choice to include Abbas in that song) was much more a freakshow than Ajith in the “Enna Seiya Pogirai”.. Ajith used to look good in those days..
1. You write: Ash would have been 26 in that movie.. assuming it was shot in 1999.. so not really ‘tender’
We’ll take 26 over 36 any day.
And 22 over 26 (Genelia D’Souza). 😉
2. Both Abbas and Ajith were plain awful. Eyesores.
Was 15 when this movie ws released, But even I thought pairing Ash and Chubby Boy Abbas was like eating peanut butter and jelly wit an expired bread. Ash was given priority especially in songs, whilst Tabu and Shamili were missing in action.The story was supposed to be about 3 sisters not the story of the pretty one only.
I truly enjoyed Tabu’s screen time, whilst Mamoothy was so-so. The ms annoying part was Ajith in that Smile song hahahahahahahahahaha … the dude was actually teaching Pooja Batra how to dance. Everyone knows he has two left feet. I rest my case.
You write: The ms annoying part was Ajith in that Smile song hahahahahahahahahaha … the dude was actually teaching Pooja Batra how to dance. Everyone knows he has two left feet. I rest my case.
How this Ajith bozo continues to get roles is ‘a mystery wrapped in a puzzle inside an enigma.’
BTW, we happened to see Pooja Batra at close quarters many years back at a product launch. She looked hot then. 😉 But the product was not hot and sank without a trace. Those days Pooja Batra was mainly a model.
i don’t get how she forgives Ajith in the end.
I don’t get it in the book either.
Have you watched the Sense and Sensibility directed by Ang Lee?
“BTW, we happened to see Pooja Batra at close quarters many years back at a product launch. She looked hot then. But the product was not hot and sank without a trace.”
Did you invent the product?
That would explain why someone like you was invited to a product launch and also, why it flopped.
1. You write: i don’t get how she forgives Ajith in the end.
Yes, particularly after the name incident that she overhears.
Sowmya’s character is more of a fatalist, accepting whatever life brings her way. As she explains to Meenakshi (Ash) in the beginning of the movie after coming out of the pool wearing but a towel – her features, her feminity, her name et al have all been decided/given to her without her consent so why would she be so keen as to look at the photo of a prospective groom her mother has picked for her.
2. Did you invent the product? That would explain why someone like you was invited to a product launch and also, why it flopped.
Schmuck, Pooja Batra was at a function to launch a PC.
To the best of our knowledge, we didn’t invent the PC (not unless we did it in our sleep). 😉
3. Ang Lee’s Sense & Sensibility? No, we haven’t watched it. Just added to Netflix queue.
The Ang Lee movies we’ve watched are Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger… and Lust Caution.
yeah, a blatant fatalist. so very un jane austenish..
so were you one of those side models then? you know..the poor ones in the spandex mini skirts that stand by the main classy model?
How many times have we told ya to keep your antipsychotic medications by your bedside?
Watch this movie if you can..
1. We’ll watch Tamil MA one of these days. Movie has an offbeat story.
2. The first and third videos in your above links seemed alright but in the second one Jeeva seemed to be grossly overacting plus the scene looked amateurish.
Yeah.. but I am sure you won’t feel it that way when you watch that scene in the movie.. I wanted your review on this because after we (me and my office mates) had seen the movie, we didn’t talk about anything else during the office lunch hour for the next one month or so except arguing whether the movie was good(correct) or bad(wrong)..Out of 20 who saw it, only 2 liked or supported its stance and I was one of them..
We’d like to watch it but the movie is not available at Netflix. We checked this morning.
Thats really really sad and bad.. 🙁
Thought you might get some salvation before you go watch Vettaikaaran (I am sure you will), but looks like you are doomed to watch only craps like that.. 🙂
BTW, this is one funny SMS about vettaikaaran I received:
“Kuruviyum sethu pochu…vitta Villum odanji pochu..Vettakaaran mattum vandhu ennatha pudunga poraan nnu theriyala..” ha ha
You write: Thought you might get some salvation before you go watch Vettaikaaran (I am sure you will), but looks like you are doomed to watch only craps like that.
Stop ASSuming, kiddo.
Most likely, we won’t watch Vettaikaran.
That idiot Vijay is just not worth it. Romba Waste.
We have other plans this weekend.
“Most likely, we wonâ€™t watch Vettaikaran. ”
U can be glad u didn’t watch it.
All Vijay movies after Pokiri were trash. This one is no exception.
In fact this s Vijay’s WORST movie.
You write: In fact this s Vijay’s WORST movie.
Then, we can surely expect to see 100th-Day Super Success Celebration. 😉
The new Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey, Jude Law) is worth watching (someone wrote the other day it’s releasing in early Jan in India).
Yeah, I saw the trailer of Sherlock Holmes.
Awaiting its release.
I love the Sherlock Holmes novel by Arthur Conan Doyle.
I’d love to see the film adaptation 🙂
This is the 21st century version of Sherlock Holmes.