Kadaisi Vivasayi is a film written, directed, and shot by M Manikandan. It has Nallandi and Vijay Sethupathi in the lead roles while Rebecca Rachel, Yogi Babu and other untrained actors from the village play crucial supporting roles. The film is produced under the banners 7C’s Entertainment, Vijay Sethupathi Productions, and Tribal Arts. The music is composed by Santhosh Narayanan and Richard Harvey.

Nallandi plays the role of Maayandi, who is the only farmer in his village. A tree gets burnt to ashes due to a lightning strike, which the villagers think is because they haven’t had a ‘Thiruvizha’ in their village for a long time. So the only farmer in the village has to grow grains as an offering to the deity. During the process he faces a lot of struggles, and how he finishes the task is the core plot of the film.

On the other hand, Vijay Sethupathi plays the role of Ramaiyya, a gypsy like person who is returning to the village after a long time. He would have left the village because the person he loved would have passed away, and he seeks spirituality and Lord Murugan as a means to get out of his suffering. Yogi Babu plays the role of an elephant mahout. Although his track has less screen time compared to the other two, it is given proper closure.

The way Kadaisi Vivasayi starts itself shows how well Manikandan has control over his craft. At first there is complete silence. Then slowly, the sounds of peacocks chirping fills the environment. And then you get a Muruga song that plays in the background as the title card appears on screen. Both the peacock and Lord Muruga have extreme importance in the film, at times appearing as a metaphor to the life of the ‘Kadaisi Vivasayi’.

There are plenty of Vivasayi stories in Tamil Cinema that we’ve seen in recent times. But what makes this one stand out is the dignity with which the farmer is shown. Take this scene for instance. The last farmer is arrested for a crime he did not commit. It could have been made melodramatic with the farmer pleading to the police that he didn’t do anything. Instead, here we have a farmer who is confident that he didn’t do anything wrong, so he maintains a calm and casual attitude towards both the police as well as the district magistrate.

The technical quality of the film is world class with Manikandan himself heading the cinematography department. The frames look extremely aesthetic and at the same time convey a lot. The shot of a peacock dancing in the climax is a delight for anyone’s eyes. He also uses drone shots brilliantly in the right places. The music of Santhosh Narayanan and Richard Harvey provides the soul to Kadaisi Vivasayi and ensures that the film is engaging till the end. The duo, along with the excellent sound design paint a beautiful soundscape, offering us a great watching experience.

On the flip side, the commercial viewers will find the film slow and lagging at some places, the dialogues of a few elderly people in the village might not be as sharp as expected, but the film’s content has enough to satisfy and entertain you. Overall there is humour, there is tragedy, there is happiness, and everything in between, in Kadaisi Vivasayi and has the potential to end up as one of the best films of the year.


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