Kadaseela Biriyani review: Exquisitely shot and engaging indie thriller

Release Date: 19 Nov 2021 / 01hr 55min

Cinestaan Rating

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Haricharan Pudipeddi

The briskly paced and at-times bizarre film boasts of breathtaking visuals though the violence and explicit language might be off-putting for some.

Nishanth Kalidindi’s Kadaseela Biriyani is one of the most bizarre works to come out of Tamil cinema in recent years. It is an unabashedly raw indie film – in every sense – and it’s largely brilliant and naïve in parts. It’s a straightforward revenge thriller but it relies heavily on wry humour and some unsettling violence to make it stand out, and that’s what makes this attempt by first-time filmmaker Nishanth somewhat pathbreaking. Even when you can’t make sense of what’s happening in the first 20-odd minutes, the film still manages to suck you into its world when the actual story kicks in. Crisply made at just under two hours, Kadaseela Biriyani is one of the best attempts of the year. 

The story is centred on Chikkupandi (Vijay Ram), who gets separated from his two elder brothers, his mother and grandfather because his father fears he will tread the same path as theirs and become a violent man. Chikkupandi, as per his father’s wishes, attempts to become something in life and he starts working towards his goal. But as fate would have it, his brothers force him to join them on a murder mission, and what that follows forms the crux of the story. 

Most of the story unfolds in a single day and the breathtaking visuals make up for the initial lull in the narrative. Shot predominantly across the Tamil Nadu and Kerala border, the film is filled with dialogues in both Tamil and Malayalam. The Malayalam dialogues are slightly annoying if you don’t know the language but as the story progresses and you get the hang of what’s happening, you don’t mind it so much. The film tries to redefine masculinity, a subject it explores via the film’s four lead characters, including the foul-mouthed antagonist, played by a menacing Hakkim Shah. Also, the effective use of dark humour in the most unexpected situations helps the film create an impact on a different level altogether. 

Purely for their intent to take a very predictable plot and realize it in the most unusual manner, the makers of Kadaseela Biriyani deserves a lot of praise. It’s not a film for all, and it's one that can make you very uncomfortable. Nevertheless, it’s still an attempt that’s worth some discussion and dissection. Featuring mostly newcomers and shot in the most unexpected places, the film still manages to stay largely engaging. One of the minor grouses is that the film is highly explicit in terms of language and violence, which might be a bit of an issue for some.