Kaatru Veliyidai

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Kaatru Veliyidai
Kaatru Veliyidai poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Mani Ratnam
Produced by Mani Ratnam
Written by Mani Ratnam
Starring Karthi
Aditi Rao Hydari
Rukmini Vijayakumar
RJ Balaji
Delhi Ganesh
Music by Original songs:
A. R. Rahman
Background score:
A. R. Rahman
Qutub-E-Kripa
Cinematography Ravi Varman
Edited by A. Sreekar Prasad
Production
company
Distributed by Sri Thenandal Films(Tamil Nadu)
Sri Venkateswara Creations (Telugu version)
Release date
  • 7 April 2017 (2017-04-07)
Running time
140 minutes
Country India
Language Tamil

Kaatru Veliyidai (English: Amidst the Atmosphere) is a 2017 Indian Tamil-language romance film produced, written and directed by Mani Ratnam. Made under the Madras Talkies banner, it features music composed by A. R. Rahman, cinematography by Ravi Varman and editing by A. Sreekar Prasad. The film stars Karthi and Aditi Rao Hydari in the lead roles with Lalitha, Rukmini Vijayakumar, Delhi Ganesh and RJ Balaji playing other pivotal roles.[1] Set in the backdrop of the Kargil War of 1999, the film narrates the story of an Indian military pilot who recalls his romance with a doctor in the lead up to the war, while being kept as a prisoner of war at a jail in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

Principal photography of the film commenced in July 2016, with the shoot taking place in Ooty, Hyderabad, Ladakh, Chennai and Belgrade, before being completed in January 2017.[2] The film, along with a dubbed Telugu version titled Cheliyaa, was released worldwide on 7 April 2017. The film won two National Film Awards at the 65th National Film Awards: Best Music Direction (A. R. Rahman) and Best Female Playback Singer (Shashaa Tirupati).

Plot[edit]

The film begins with a shot of the Kargil War showing the advances made by Indian soldiers. An Indian Air Force fighter jet is shot down by the enemy. The pilot Varun Chakrapani aka VC (Karthi) ejects from the hit aircraft and lands in enemy territory. The Pakistani Army promptly surrounds him. They imprison him in the Rawalpindi as a Prisoner of War (PoW) and subject him to torture. While being held captive, he reminisces about his romance with Leela (Aditi Rao Hydari).

Leela comes to Srinagar to work as a doctor. Meanwhile, VC has an accident while on a joy ride. He is brought in a critical condition to the hospital. With the duty doctor not available, Leela takes charge, treats VC and nurses him back to health. But, with little regard to her feelings, he gets out of the hospital without her knowledge. Dr. Illyas Hussain (RJ Balaji), an army doctor helps him with this .

When Leela comes to know about it, she and Nidhi (Rukmini Vijayakumar), her colleague confront Illyas about it. Illayas then arranges for Leela and Nidhi to come to an Airforce meeting the following week and there they meet VC. VC impresses her with his excellent dance moves at the Ball. He tells her she should meet him at the Flying Club the next Saturday at 5 pm if she likes him back. Leela accepts and VC takes her for a joy ride in his private aircraft to apologise for running away from the hospital.

VC gets to know that Leela is his course pilot's Ravi Abraham's sister, who died in a flight which VC was supposed to fly in. Both develop feelings for each other. Later, Leela doesn't meet VC for 2 months and questions Illyas about his whereabouts. He reveals that VC has orders to be in a camp at Leh Military base for 3 months. Leela and Nidhi go to meet him. When VC asks whether Leela came to meet him, she says yes. But also that she wanted to see the place where her brother Ravi died. He takes her to the spot. Slowly she realises that VC has a dark side to his personality, which is very different from what she has seen.

Back to the present, VC and two other Indians plan to escape from the Rawalpindi prison. Back to the past, Leela leaves and he tells her that she'll get couriers from him. He's true to his word. One day, the officers are discussing about their attack and she airs her opinion on the subject. VC angrily tells her that God made men and women for different purposes and she can't talk about this. But, she retaliates by saying that both genders are equal and women are not made just to manage the house and give birth to children. VC tells Leela to shut up, but she refuses. So, he orders her to do what he tells her. She gets angry and moves out.

He goes to her home and tries to make up with her by expressing his love for her. He says he's not like her. Hers is a nobler job than him as he kills and she saves lives. So, VC takes Leela to a local Registrar office and tells her that they should marry. As she is not ready for marriage, he asks her to think about it and come the next day at 4.00 pm. In a sad turn of events, he leaves for Delhi forgetting about what happened at the Registrar office. This upsets Leela very much. She feels that sometimes he treats her like a Queen whereas at other times like a doormat.

Leela reveals that she's pregnant. VC gets hesitant about it and Leela says that she'll take care of her baby by herself. The following day, Leela's grandfather dies. VC goes to her house and finds that Leela's father hates him. That night he goes and tries to convince them, but he doesn't get even a single word from them.

Before VC departs for the Kargil war, Leela tells him that she's resigning and leaving Srinagar. He pleads for one more chance and goes away to war. While fighting, he gets captured by the enemy and taken a prisoner. Somehow, VC and the two other prisoners escape and reach India.

VC starts searching for Leela. He finds her after 3 years. He tells her that he's a different person now. He says that he regrets his meeting her and loving her only to end up hurting her. VC is surprised to learn that Leela has a daughter. When he sees her daughter, Leela asks him whether she (the small girl) looks like her father or mother. VC's happiness knows no bounds. He tells his daughter that he crossed 7 seas and 7 mountains to meet her.VC asks Leela why she didn't try to contact him, to which she says that she was afraid he wouldn't like her or their daughter. They hug each other and Leela says that Rohini (VC's daughter) is his responsibility from there on.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

After shelving a multi-cast project featuring Karthi and Dulquer Salmaan in the lead roles during December 2015, it was reported in the media that Mani Ratnam would instead work on a new film retaining Karthi as the lead actor and A. R. Rahman as the music composer and Ravi Varman as cinematographer.[3][4] In February 2016, Karthi confirmed that he had signed on to play the lead role and would collaborate with the director twelve years after having worked with him as an assistant during the making of Aayutha Ezhuthu (2004). Mani Ratnam requested Karthi to lose weight through the CrossFit program and learn the basics of flying to portray the lead character of a pilot.[5][3] He prepared for the role by understanding more about fighter pilots through a wing commander friend and analysed their typical fitness routine their body language. Karthi also was asked to sport a clean-shaven look as a part of his role and did so for the first time in his acting career.[6][7] The start of the film was delayed as the team wanted to wait for a better climate, before beginning the shoot in Kashmir, while the team also chose to wait for Karthi to finish his commitments for the production of Kaashmora (2016).[8] Sai Pallavi successfully auditioned for the leading female role of a doctor in the project and was signed on to make her debut as a lead actress in the Tamil film industry through the project.[9] However, in April 2016, Mani Ratnam felt that the character had to be older and opted to leave Sai Pallavi out of the project, later replacing her with Aditi Rao Hydari.[10] Hydari participated in Tamil lessons prior to the film's shoot, in order to improve her understanding of the script. She also worked in a hospital for a few days in order to get a better understanding of her role as a doctor.[11][12]

Mani Ratnam and his team began location hunting in April 2016 to seek out replacements to resemble Kashmir and scouted areas including Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Kodaikanal, Ooty and Coonoor.[13] Meanwhile, Mani Ratnam also worked closely with music composer A. R. Rahman and lyricist Vairamuthu in finalizing seven songs for the film during the pre-production period.[14] The rights to Faith Johnson's book Four Miles to Freedom was also bought by the team, as they looked to draw inspiration from the real-life incidents of Dilip Parulkar's escape from a Pakistani jail in 1971.[15] Actors RJ Balaji and Delhi Ganesh joined the cast of the film in July 2016, while actress Shraddha Srinath revealed that she would feature in a small role as a brigadier's daughter.[16] Kannada actor Harish Raj and Hindi actor Vipin Sharma also joined the first schedule of the film, making their debuts in the Tamil film industry.[17][18] Likewise, actresses Lalitha and Rukmini Vijayakumar were signed up for roles during the film's initial schedule.[19] The film's first look poster was revealed in early July 2016, with the title of Kaatru Veliyidai, inspired by a poem by Subramania Bharati, officially announced.[20]

Filming[edit]

The shoot of the film began in early July 2016 in Nilgiris, Ooty with a twenty-day schedule featuring Karthi and Aditi Rao Hydari. The location was chosen to show Kashmir on screen, as the latter's climate had made conducting shooting there difficult.[21] Art director Amaran and production designer Sharmishta Roy worked together on designing the set during the first schedule, choosing to enhance existing backgrounds rather than to create lavish sets.[22] The team regularly shot scenes from sunrise onwards, in order to ensure that the film progressed quickly.[23] A second schedule for the film took place in Hyderabad during October 2016, lasting a period of ten days.[24][25] The team then moved to Leh and the surrounding areas of Ladakh for a third schedule lasting fifteen days, with action sequences choreographed by Sham Kaushal being filmed.[23][26] In late November 2016, the team moved to shoot scenes in, Siberia and the surrounding snow-capped mountainous regions after they were denied permission to shoot action sequences involving aircraft in North India. During the ten day schedule, the team also shot a romantic song in the snowy backdrop choreographed by Brindha.[27] The shoot was concluded in mid-January 2017, with the team announcing that the post-production phase would take a couple of months.[27][28][29]

Music[edit]

Release[edit]

The film had a theatrical release on 7 April 2017 in approximately 1500 screens worldwide.[30][31] While Sri Thenandal Films released the film throughout Tamil Nadu, Sri Venkateswara Creations bought the Telugu dubbing rights for the film and simultaneously released the Telugu version under the title Cheliyaa.[1][32] Rights for Kerala was acquired by Sibu Thameens, while Arun Pandian acquired the rest of India rights under his company A&P Groups.[33] The satellite rights of the film were sold to STAR Vijay.[34]

Reception[edit]

Tamil Nadu theatrical rights of the film were sold for 15 crore but yielded distributor share of 8 crore only. Upon release, Kaatru Veliyidai garnered mixed reviews, though critics predominantly praised the direction of Mani Ratnam and the performance of Aditi Rao Hydari along with Rahman's music and Ravi Varman's cinematography.[35][36][37] Critic Baradwaj Rangan of Film Companion gave the film a high score of 3.5 out of 5 stars, writing "as a movie, Kaatru Veliyidai leaves you wanting, but as cinema, very little can come close to it". Rangan added "like some of Mani Ratnam’s recent films, Kaatru Veliyidai feels abstracted" and that the "director is in his mature phase" with "a little less obvious, little more complicated version of storytelling".[38] Anupama Subramaniam of the Deccan Chronicle wrote "Mani Ratnam, known for his romantic tales with a different note, surprises you with a fresh angle again", noting that it was "a poetic romance that is worth experiencing", while drawing particular praise for the performances of Karthi and Aditi Rao Hydari.[39] A critic from DNA India noted that the film "does not disappoint" and that "to say that Mani portrays the lovers’ intense passion with a painter’s bold and indelible strokes would be no exaggeration", while similarly Rediff.com's Divya Nair called the film a "beautiful romance".[40][41] Malini Mannath of The New Indian Express wrote that "Kaatru Veliyidai is visual treat where roses overpower guns" and that despite a few glitches, it is a "love poem on celluloid".[42] Kaveree Bamzai wrote for dailyo that "Few directors understand women as well as Mani Ratnam. He understands they are complicated, vulnerable, strong, powerful, independent and submissive at the same time. But it is in his writing of Varun that Mani Ratnam shows real spunk. Kaatru Veliyidai may not be Mani Ratnam's best, but it beats Bollywood."[43] Tanul Thakur of thewire.in wrote in his analysis that "Kaatru Veliyidai's portrayal of toxic masculinity through the lens of a successful love story is much more intelligent and unsettling than it lets on."[44]

Sify.com's reviewer also praised the film stating "it is an experience you must enjoy", stating "if you like beautiful, intimate, playful, passionate love story in typical Mani Ratnam style then Kaatru Veliyidai is bang on".[45] Vishal Menon of The Hindu wrote "there are reasons why Kaatru Veliyidai is certainly no classic", "but when you leave the theatre with a lump in your throat, you remember how your love for this director doesn’t arise merely because he makes you smile — he does so much more than that".[46] Giving the film their highest score of 2017, Top10Cinema.com wrote "it’s a custom made film for Maniratnam buffs, who are very well etched up with his trademark pattern of storytelling" and that "he film has brilliant flash point of visual and musical poetry with some nuance performances too".[47] In their review, Behindwoods.com wrote the film "is a classical poetic love story" and that "it is not a film to watch but something to experience, but an experience that not everyone would accept".[48]

In contrast, Karthik Kumar of The Hindustan Times called the film "an underwhelming love saga", adding "visually, Kaatru Veliyidai is beautiful, beyond anyone’s imagination" but the film "does not move you emotionally".[49] Suganth of the Times of India noted "the leads have charm, and try their best to make us care, but we are never as emotionally invested in the fate of VC and Leela as we should be", though wrote "the film is saved to an extent by the technical proficiency on display — right from Ravi Varman’s lush visuals to Rahman’s peppy score and Sharmishta Roy’s realistic sets, the film is a treat technically".[50] The Bangalore Mirror's critic wrote "Kaatru Veliyidai eventually is one of Mani Ratnam’s weaker films and that’s disappointing, thankfully it is not a disaster like Kadal".[51] Likewise, a critic from The Indian Express wrote "Kaatru Veliyidai flunks the test" and "what we are left with is a few moments in which Hydari impresses, the spectacular scenery, shot by Ravi Varman, and a couple of rousing song-and-dance numbers, powered by A R Rahman’s score".[52]

The film took a strong opening at the Tamil Nadu box office, grossing over ₹120 million during the first weekend and performed exceptionally well in Chennai, Coimbatore and Chengalpattu.[53][54] However mixed reviews from social media and the release of three new Tamil films the following weekend led to the number of shows being screened to drop substantially in the second week of its theatrical run.[55] The film performed well at the US box office, with the Tamil version earning $313,227 and the Telugu version earning $79,787, during the opening weekend.[56]

Awards[edit]

65th National Film Awards

  1. National Film Award for Best Music Direction - A.R.Rahman
  2. National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer- Shashaa Tirupati for Vaan Varuvaan
  3. Vikatan Award For Best Music Director - A.R. Rahman
  4. Vikatan Award for Best Cinematography - Ravi Varman
  5. Vijay Award for Best Music Director - A. R. Rahman
  6. Vijay Award for Best Cinematographer - Ravi Varman
  7. Vijay Award for Best Choreographer - Brinda
  8. Filmfare Award for Best Lyricist - Tamil - Vairamuthu for Vaan Varuvaan
  9. Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer - Tamil - Shashaa Tirupati for Vaan
  10. Behindwoods Gold Medal for Best Actor in a Lead Role (Male) - Karthi
  11. Behindwoods Gold Medal for Best Music Direction - A. R. Rahman
  12. Behindwoods Gold Medal for Best Female Playback Singer - Shashaa Tirupati
  13. Behindwoods Gold Medal for Best Cinematographer - Ravi Varman

References[edit]

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  8. ^ "IndiaGlitz - Mani Ratnam Karthi Sai Pallavi movie shooting start in September in Kashmir - Tamil Movie News". Retrieved 12 July 2016. 
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  29. ^ "Romancing Europe, the Mani Ratnam way - Mumbai Mirror -". Retrieved 10 April 2017. 
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  40. ^ "Review: Kaatru Veliyidai: A beautiful romance - Rediff.com Movies". Rediff.com. 7 April 2017. Retrieved 26 August 2017. 
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  56. ^ http://www.ibtimes.co.in/kaatru-veliyidai-cheliyaa-us-box-office-collections-karthi-starrer-fails-beat-ok-kanmani-records-722725

External links[edit]