Critic's Rating: 17/5
Monday 17 December 2001
Vikram, Kavya Madhavan, Kaveri
Three Cheers to Vikram, it goes without saying that he is the life and soul of Kasi. As the blind singer, he brings laughter, tears and a lump in one?s throat. Kasi is the remake of the Malayalam film Vasanthiyum Lakshmiyum,Pinne Njanum and director Vinayan who did the original has been faithful to his story.
The story of Kasi is set in a beautiful location, with mountains, green pastures, rivers and a small hut by the riverside. This is Kasi?s (Vikram) house, where he lives with his father(Vinu Chakravorthy) who is bed ridden, mother, and lovely sister Lakshmi (Kavya Madhavan). Kasi is born blind, but has a very good voice. He looks after his family, by singing on the roadsides and streets. His neighbour and lover is Kaveri(Kaveri) who is a dumb girl. The village landlord and ex-MP (Rajeev) comes back from Delhi with his close friend and Central Minister?s son and his wife (Aiswarya), for a holiday. Rajeev is like a God for the whole village and especially for Kasi and family, as Kasi?s mother(Vadivukarasi) is the domestic help in the bungalow. Rajeev helps Kasi to meet a US returned doctor, who promises Kasi that he can get back his sight once he gets a donor and the money for the operation. Rajeev promises money for the operation when Kaveri decides to donate one of her eye (out of ignorance that eye cannot be transplanted from a living person) to Kasi. Rajeev and the minister?s son call the girls over to the bungalow and rape them. But the two girls are unable to tell anything out, as they fear that Kasi?s operation might not take place. The two girls try to forget everything that happened to them for the sake of Kasi, when once again Rajeev blackmails them to come to the bungalow. Not knowing the dark side of Rajeev, Kasi worships him and fixes Lakshmi?s marriage. Lakshmi once again falls prey, a day before her marriage to the lecherous Rajeev, that she commits suicide. Will Kasi know the truth?
Director Vinayan has faithfully adapted the original version frame to frame. He has given us a stunning climax with a finesse not seen in usual Tamil cinema. Vikram has given an extraordinarily detailed performance, which only a Kamalhassan can do! The actor has worked hard, moving one to tears, with his facial expression and body language. All the supporting cast including Kavya Madhavan, Kaveri, Vadivukarasu, Manivannan and Rajeev are brilliant. The melody numbers of Ilayaraja rendered by Hariharan is another highlight of the film. On the whole, a emotionally powerful movie.