The second half of Velaiilla Pattadhari was certainly underwhelming when compared to the first half, but it also proved to be a showcase for Dhanush, the mass hero. And it is in this mode that we find the actor throughout Kodi, an unabashed star vehicle that surprisingly punches above its weight. The best thing about it is that director Durai Senthilkumar doesn’t compromise in the script to make us feel look at his hero in awe. The film has a solid plot that is deftly narrated with superb twists and turns, and hardly any distractions.
For Kodi (Dhanush), politics has been a part of his life ever since his birth. His father (Karunaas, in a cameo), a low-rung party worker, brings him up to become a politician, before setting himself on fire, protesting against a factory who toxic mercury waste has ruined lives in the locality. Kodi’s look-alike twin, Anbu (Dhanush), is a contrast to his rough-and-tough brother. He is a college lecturer and a pacifist. Kodi is the secretary of his party’s youth wing, and his girlfriend Rudra (Trisha), who belongs to the rival party and has been in politics since childhood like him, is appointed as the candidate for an upcoming bye-election. Meanwhile, Kodi comes in possession of documents relating to the factory that could ruin his party’s chances in the election, and to keep him silent, his party leadership announces him as their candidate. To what lengths will these lovers go to win, and how does Anbu get into the mix?
Kodi shows how a good actor can make a film rise above its genre. Dhanush’s performance here, subtly delineating the two roles, is a delight to watch. He shines in the mass hero moments as well as the dramatic ones. The character of Rudra, a young, ruthless, ambitious politician is a breath of fresh air, but Trisha is miscast. We don’t buy into her cunning because the actress is not able to bring that out convincingly. It is especially glaring when compared to Dhanush’s pitch-perfect performance. Also, the character’s motivations aren’t as strong as Kodi’s. But the gripping plot and the way the supporting characters are detailed in swift strokes, and the perfectly cast actors (from SA Chandrasekaran to Kaali Venkat) ensure that this doesn’t become a major problem.
The real surprise in Kodi is how the director manages to makes this plot feel gritty within the boundaries of commercial cinema. The pre-interval stretch invokes comparisons with similar moments from Madras and Jigarthanda. At times, the film feels relentless, and this is where the lighter romantic track between Anbu and Malathi (Anupama) helps, as it nicely balances the heavier political drama. But even this gets pushed to the background in the second half, with the actual plot given the focus, and this single-mindedness turns out to be one of its strength. Perhaps Senthilkumar could have avoided the cliché of one man taking on numerous men in the climax, but even here, there is a surprise to make sure that we leave the theatre with satisfaction.
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“Content is the king.” You may have heard this phrase a number of times. But you seldom see this concept play out on the big screen. Aspects like screenplay, narration logic, common sense are usually ignored to further the interests of the leading man in a film. The trend in films made for commercial gains is to first select an A-lister and then develop a story that suits his larger-than-life onscreen image.
Kodi, a movie made for the mass audience, puts the content before the star in the film. The combination of Dhanush and Vetrimaaran never fails to amuse the audience. Starting from Polladhavan to Kodi, Dhanush and Vetrimaaran have worked together in films in various capacities and delivered films driven by content. While the new Dhanush-starrer does not send a social message or mirror the society’s shortcomings, it entertains you by exploring the complex human relationships.
Vetrimaaran’s Grass Root Film Company under Escape Artists Motion Pictures banner has bankrolled this film. To simply put, it is the best political thriller film in Tamil you will watch this year.
Kodi, which released on Diwali, seems to be everything the Tamil audience wants for this festive season. The political thriller set in a rural backdrop has Dhanush in a double role for the first time in his career. On the other hand, Trisha’s performance as a feisty woman with unquenchable political ambition adds to the film’s narration.
Kodi and Anbu, twin brothers, both played by Dhanush, may have identical faces but their personality is totally opposite. While Kodi is short-tempered and straight forward, Anbu is soft and clever. Following the footsteps of his father, who kills himself to highlight a social issue, Kodi become a politician and strives for the betterment of common people. Anbu, a mama’s boy and a professor by profession, is content with his normal life.
The power struggle between Kodi and Rudhra, played by Trisha, makes the basic premise of the film. No, it is not the regular couple’s fight to have the upper hand in a relationship. The conflict between them stems from a political rivalry. Since childhood, they both wanted to make it big in the world of politics. One manages to balance ambition and love, while the other fails terribly. And something unexpected happens. It is the moment you realise “content is king” and its positive impact on a narration. The suspense in the film is gripping and keeps you guessing with questions like what now? How can they do this? And why did they do this?
The film seems to follow a simple rule of life: Every action has consequences and they come back at you, sooner or later in different forms.
Trisha manages to strike a chord as a ruthless and pragmatic politician while Dhanush as a hot-headed politician with good heart instantly becomes your favourite. His performance as Anbu is natural and appealing. Anupama Parameswaran as Malathi plays the love interest of Anbu. The Malayalam actress, who shot to fame with her performance in hit film Premam, marks her debut in Tamil with Kodi. And she couldn’t have asked for more.
Kodi’s background score and title track music, composed by Santhosh Narayanan, is another plus. Director R S Durai Senthilkumar has given his career best movie. Period.
Kodi’s X-factor is its political drama. Don’t miss it.
Kodi is about the extent people will go to, driven by a greed for power and a thirst for revenge. Director Durai Senthilkumar entertains us with powerful characterization and a flawless screenplay. As a story, this revenge drama has nothing new to offer but it is Durai’s presentation that stands out. He has extracted the best from his actors and provided ample space to prove their acting prowesses. Kaashmora review Kodi and Anbu (both effectively played by Dhanush) are twins, the former is a loyalist to a political party like his dad and the latter is an innocent professor and a obedient son to his mom (Saranya Ponvannan). Interestingly Kodi is deeply in love with Rudhra (Trisha) , an ambitious young politician from the opposite political party. For Kodi and Rudhra, politics and their relationship are completely different that they prefer to not complicate things. In bypoll election, circumstances make Rudhra and Kodi as MLA candidates from their respective political parties. The tense political situation kindle Rudhra’s ego that at one point of time, she even murders Kodi to embrace the powerful throne. The drama gets even more interesting when Rudhra is forced to sacrifice her MLA seat to Kodi’s brother Anbu. After winning the bypoll elections, Anbu totally changes that he acts opposite to Rudhra’s wish and he also makes intelligent moves to find the murderer of his brother. From there the cat and mouse game begins… The first half of Kodi travels like an usual commercial entertainer but slowly the film turns into a classy political thriller, especially in the second half. Rarely do we see a heroine have a meaty role and here Trisha gets that long awaited opportunity. The actor plots silently and is the face of calm even in the most tense moments. It’s that rare performance that is calculated, effective and one of her career best. For a powerful performer like Dhanush, Kodi is a cakewalk and he carries both the roles with maturity and elegance. Kodi works mainly, because of the gripping good vs evil war, the confrontation scenes in the intermission and climax. Anupama Parameswaran fits the bill as the homely girl while actor Kaali grabs our attention as a loyal friend to Dhanush. Saranya Ponvannan played as loveable mom once again and as usual, there is no mistake from her end. Cinematography by Venkatesh is perfect for a political drama capturing minute expressions of the actors while Santhosh Narayanan’s background score rightly sets the tense mood. Overall Kodi is &deliciously dramatic, and packed with sinister twists and turns with superb performances and solid writing. Verdict: Solid political drama
Director Durai Senthilkumar has made the film set against a political milieu with lots of unexpected twists and turns within the commercial format. The film is set in the rural milieu of Pollachi. A low-rung political worker (Karunas) of a Dravidian party gets twins. One of them is named Kodi (Dhanush) by the political bigwig (SA Chandrasekhar) and the other is Anbu (Dhanush again) who later becomes a professor in a college.
Kodi at a young age sees his father setting himself on fire, protesting against a factory that dumps toxic waste which causes environmental pollution and health issues in the village ( A leaf out of Kudankulam nuclear power plant protest).
Soon Kodi the angry young man who fights for people causes becomes the star speaker of his party and falls in love with Rudra (Trisha), the opposition party’s rising star and platform speaker. Meanwhile, the soft spoken Anbu falls for Malathi (Anupama), who runs her own poultry farm. A twist in the story takes place as Kodi is pitted against his lover Rudra in an assembly by-election. Lovers turn foes, as the reality of ground level happenings and dirty politics between rival parties create animosity and tension that leads to murder.
Kodi works largely because of the surprise twists and turns in Senthilkumar’s script and presentation. It is quite racy at 2 hours and 20 minutes as Dhanush carries the show and is there in almost all frames. Hats off to Trisha for doing a brave and bold role which no mainstream heroine would dare to do in Tamil cinema.
Her Rudra is a totally negative character and even murders her lover without blinking an eyelid, in her lust for political power. Anupama Parameswaran is cast as a typical Tamil cinema’s homely girl and she does a neat job. Saranya Ponvannan as usual is terrific in the role of the mother of the twins. Actor Vijay’s father and director SA Chandrasekhar also makes an impression as a senior politician.
The downsides are far too many unexplained logical errors in the climax.
However, Kodi is a well written and packaged commercial entertainer that delivers the goods.