On one side, Kathakali seems to be an apt title for the film. As the performing artist of this ancient dance form wears heavy layers of make-up and gets the fine dancing act, the actor and the narration dons multiple shades of intrigue for the viewer to peel at regular intervals to reach the core.
On the other side, all the glitter the title has provided couldn't be capitalized with few glaring pitfalls adorning the film's narrative. So, the title was in a way perfect and in a way not.
Yet again Vishal hits the road of Palnadu (Pandiya Naadu in Tamil) with a comical and understated presence who comes to his elements towards the end. The climax is a string of fast moving shots wherein the actor pulls off his finest - in terms of action and grit.
Pandiraj marries the film with two narrative tools where the protagonist falls prey to unforeseen events and also holds a surprise to be revealed to the end. He succeeds in getting the struture right, but as you keep guessing the main villain somewhere in the middle of the second half, you lose interest. Also the eye-popping twist in the climax is thought much before, and the director offers no reason to move away our pointing fingers.
The love track and the comedy were breezy in the first half. However, Catherine Tresa was left to nothing in the later half with all the suspense revolving around Vishal and his family. The supporting cast gets its part correct with traces of humor and believability. Barring these, it all Vishal's show thrughout the film. He did such roles many times and this one brings him closer to dish out nuanced performances.
Good to seet that no extra songs were placed to fill the spaces but the plot takes sweet time to thicken and get the ball rolling. The interval bang keeps you hooked but the monentum wasn't sustained as the curtain goes up after that.
Had the dull moments could have been properly patched up, the film could have been a great thriller. The thrills that walk in are few and far between. You emote with the character but as the film inches to the climax you feel is this all so required to keep things in turmoil.
The dots were connected with perfection but the screenplay could have been more gripping. With every layer of intrigue getting peeled off slowly, Kathakali packs the much needed intensity, but falls short of being a gripping tale by sliding into a predictable zone!