Thursday, October 13, 2016

Top 5 Reasons Why Kandukondain Kandukondain is an Underrated Classic

This film came out in 2000 and was a big hit. Still, it is underrated considering how it is almost always overlooked whenever there is a list of the best Tamil films ever made. Just like the book it is based on, this film should be considered a classic. Here are five reasons why:

1) It is loosely based on one of the most popular novels of all time

Watching this film as a child, I could not help but notice how the story would fit any olden day British film. True enough, as a teenager, I read Sense and Sensibility and the truth came to me. This film is actually a modern-day Indian adaptation of Jane Austen's masterpiece. It is amazing how the director managed to stay loyal to the thematic nature of the source material while making it fitting for the Indian audience.

2) This is only Rajiv Menon's second film

Rajiv Menon is one if India's most prolific cinematographers but he has directed only two films so far; this being his second. It won him the Filmfare Award for Best Tamil Director. He also wrote the story and screenplay for this film while laureate Sujatha wrote the dialogues. Rumour has it after almost 20 years, he will be directing another film. Let's hope it is as great as this one.

3) It is a 'women-centric' film

Google the term 'women-centric film' and you only find lists with Indian films. This shows how rare they are in Indian cinema that it is almost considered its own genre. Although they are three heroes here, they all play second fiddle to the heroines.

4) It features the casts' best performances

While Mammoothy and Tabu have given countless critically acclaimed performances in the past, their other cast members have not been so fortunate. Mammoothy, one of the biggest superstars of Malayalam cinema, had no qualms of sharing the screen with three other male leads. Aishwarya Rai, despite her acting abilities, has often been overshadowed by her title as one of the most beautiful women in the world. Being a huge fan of Rajiv Menon's first film, Aishwarya accepted the role after the late Soudarya turned it down. Aishwarya said she easily identified with the character and willingly rejected the numerous, more commercially lucrative offers from Bollywood just to be in this relatively small budget regional film. Ajit Kumar, before he became a big movie star was willing to play second fiddle to the female leads in a strong supporting role as a struggling filmmaker. Abbas, who has always been cast as a chocolate boy, accepted a role with shades of grey for the first time. Also, did I mention actors Chiyaan Vikram, Revathi and Jayageetha dubbed for Abbas, Tabu and Aishwarya Rai in this film?

5) AR Rahman's evergreen soundtrack 

Each of Rahman's eight songs in this film is of a different genre. "Kannamoochi" has a Carnatic base. "Kandukondain Kandukondain" is a love ballad. "Smayiyai" has a jazz feel to it. "Enna Solla Pogirai" and "Konjum Mainakkale" are folksy tunes with different tones. "Yengae Enathu Kavithai" is an elegy for lost love. Also, the film has a cover version of Bharathiyar’s poem, "Suttum Vizhi" that adds to the beauty of the original. Plus, the Mozart of Madras even makes a cameo in the film!

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