Another horror drama in Kollywood. Guess, the horror comedy projects that got stalled during the drift half a decade ago are finding their way to the theaters now past their expiry. The film is about a gang of treasure hunters who in order to hide from a gangster seek shelter in a village on a hill without knowing the truth behind the place. Actor Vaibhav who was last seen in Tamil cinema in a cameo part in the adult drama Manmadha Leelai is back on screens with his horror comedy film Kaatteri. Actress Sonam Bajwa has played the female lead role in the flick. Director Deekay has directed the drama. So, how has the horror comedy drama Kaatteri come out? Will it provide actor Vaibhav the much-needed commercial success that he is after? To know that let us get into the movie review.
Kaatteri opens in the 1960’s in a village where we see the habitants of the community celebrating a festival. Unfortunately, a catastrophic event claims the life of everyone in the festival. Fast forward six decades, we are introduced to a gang of kidnappers Gajja (Karunakaran), Kaliyurunda (Ravi Mariya), and Sankar (Kutty Gopi) who abduct a woman named Kamini (Aathmika). Their life is put in jeopardy when they deliver her to their boss Naina, who instructs his hooligans to kill them to tie up loose ends. Learning about it, they bamboozle and flee from them. They go to Kiran’s (Vaibhav) place and explain everything to him, and tell him of Naina’s plan to demand a massive ransom from Kamini’s family. Kiran’s wife Shwetha (Sonam Bajwa), devises a plan of her own and asks them to kidnap Kamini from the gang. Kiran along with the group abducts Kamini from the henchmen’s keeping, and through her they learn about Maanga Mani’s (Yogi babu) quest to find treasure.
They track him down to a village called Kolaatipuram. Upon reaching there, they notice the villagers behave in an absurd manner. Soon they figure out that it is a ghost town, and try to leave it only to be diverted and arrive at the same festival event. Meanwhile, Mathamma (Varalaxmi Sarathkumar), a ghost, takes Sankar as captive. Shwetha encourages them to meet with Mathamma to get the gold by correctly answering the questions she would post. They approach Mathamma. But midway, Shwetha deserts the team and elopes. Kiran and the gang get thrashed by Mathamma. Then, she begins to tell her backstory. Who is Mathamma, does Shwetha have any connection to the town, and will Kiran and the group come out of the village alive, is what makes the rest of the flick.
Kaatteri has the hackneyed plot line with which a substantial volume of horror comedies have already been made in Tamil cinema. A gang of blockheaded individuals struck in a ghost territory trying to find their way out. That being said, the only question is how much incentive can a director be within that demarcated boundary he opts is what makes or breaks the film. Sadly, Kaatteri is an effortless make. To the extent that it does not look like there was an actual written script behind the drama. It seems like a film made by a bunch of technicians, who assembled every day on set, and each of them wrote whatever they thought was funny as a scene and filmed it. But if there was actually a script involved in making the movie, it is even more awkward. As one could not discern what elements in the entirety of the script prompted the makers to turn it into a visual medium? Seriously.
To director Deekay’s credit, he gets the opening of Kaatteri right. Some films of late in Tamil cinema manage to do well. A least expected scenario that hooks us right away. Intrigued, and with a dozen questions at the back of the mind when we settle in, Kaatteri devastates us. Every time it does something in the pretext of comedy, it is like we as an audience are getting slapped from left, right, and center. To top it all, the drama does not bother itself with any sensitivities. Throughout the flick there is casual objectification of women, and what is even worse is it expects us to laugh for it. Understandably, the film was released after a long delay when the taste of the audience has changed a great deal. But even if Kaatteri had been released when horror comedy was the trend, it still would have been a great disappointment.
Actor Vaibhav is one of very few artists with the prowess to make even a badly written joke to land well. But his choice of characters, and writing behind the scripts he picks are selling him short. His part in Kaatteri is not any different. The actor needs to look into his choice of films, before he disappears in the mighty ocean. Actress Sonam Bajwa does not have much to offer. Sadly, the actress is not convincing even in a role that demands so little of her. Actress Varalaxmi Sarathkumar lives up to her part. Actress Aathmika serves her purpose. Actress Manali Rathod is adequate. Comedian Karunakaran is predominantly annoying and rarely entertaining. Even with a whole bunch of comedians on board in the likes of Ravi Mariya, Kutty Gopi, Ponnambalam, John Vijay, Lollu Sabha Manohar, Besant Ravi, TSR, Jangiri Madhumitha, Mime Gopi, and Namo Narayana, the movie struggles to make us laugh. The rest of the cast has delivered an average performance.
On the technical front, music director S. N. Prasad’s tracks are okayish but are not good enough to enter our playlist. His background score is just similar, or perhaps the same to that of what we have experienced in God knows how many horror dramas. Cinematographer Vignesh Vasu’s frames are average. His visuals have a repulsive effect on us pushing us away from the screens. Editor Praveen K L has tried his best to chop off the flaws in his colleague’s work. But he is not successful in his attempt.
On the whole, actor Vaibhav’s horror comedy Kaatteri is made of the dated jump scares, lame quips, and aimless screenplay, that we are so exhausted from watching in theaters.