Chennai, 21 Dec 2018 12:29 IST
Kanaa is a praiseworthy sports drama that gets most things right in its portrayal of an underdog’s journey in winning against all odds.
Kanaa is Tamil cinema’s big and confident leap in the sports genre and that’s one of the reasons why it can’t be taken lightly, despite its glaring flaws such as the over-indulgent core. It’s a praiseworthy sports-drama that gets most things right in its portrayal of an underdog’s journey to dream big and win against all odds.
The film marks the directorial debut of Arunraja Kamaraj, who has not only made a moving sports film about a young girl’s cricketing dream but has also shed light on the importance of farming and the miserable lives of most farmers. In trying to strike a balance between making a sports film and also talk about the state of farming; Kanaa doesn’t quite make an impact and that is what makes it underwhelming at times. Nevertheless, it works solidly as a sports-based drama about women empowerment and carving one’s niche.
Kanaa is centered on Kousalya a.k.a. Kousi (Aishwarya Rajesh) and her dream to play international cricket for India, so that she can make sure her cricket-loving father never sheds tears over a loss. As long as Kanaa focuses on the cricket angle, it’s an engaging watch and has all the elements aimed to please the masses.
From a young girl who learns cricket from the older boys of her village to bowling the decisive super over in a world cup semifinal game; Kousi’s journey from the streets of her village to becoming an international sensation is quite inspiring and beautifully portrayed on screen. Kanaa is packed with several crowd-pleasing moments and the entire climax stretch – shot and edited as realistically as possible – is one of the best examples of how to accentuate tension in a sports film.
Aishwarya as Kousalya delivers yet another outstanding performance and she plays her part to a tee. The cricket portion has been shot authentically with hardly any use of visual effects to enhance the overall experience. Sathyaraj plays Kousalya’s father Murugesan, and except for the stretch where we see him as a famer struggling to make ends meet, he’s reasonably good in his role.
Sivakarthikeyan, who has also produced the film, appears in an extended cameo and plays the role of a coach with heavy Chak De! India (2007) hangover. Siva tries really hard to make his part appear convincing, and despite his efforts, it falls flat and that’s one of the biggest drawbacks of the film.
Kanaa achieves a lot more than most of the sports-based films — at least those that have come out of Tamil filmdom — but it could’ve been so much more with such a promising core which gets overshadowed by a very melodramatic representation of farmers and their struggles.
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