Ever since 'Kuselan' was announced and the exhilarating stills of stylish Rajinikanth were released, expectations began to soar sky high. P. Vasu's decision to make 'Kuselan' after his successful outing in remaking the Malayalam classic 'Manichitra Thazu' as 'Chandramukhi' in Tamil, seemed quite reasonable. Rajinikanth seemed the perfect choice to play a superstar on film.
Both Rajinikanth and P. Vasu have spent decades as filmmakers in Tamil Cinema and yet seem to have completely lost the plot when it comes to presenting their latest release. Despite a lovely story that presents itself as an ode to friendship, can a character exist in a film with just a tag and no plausible role to perform? An insight into the fact that even the tremendously adulated larger-than-life Rajinikanth can never be above the story. This is something Tamil filmmakers will have to think about very seriously.
This is probably the reason why Sreenivasan, the writer of this story made it a point to showcase Mammooty (who played the superstar's role in the Malayalam original 'Katha Parayumbol' for less than ten minutes in the entire film because he carries a tag with no role to perform till the end. If this had been the case with 'Kuselan' things might have been very different.
P. Vasu seems to have banked more on the star appeal of Rajinikanth than what the actor portrays on screen. A major miscalculation. Nayantara has been featured in a nothing role and every time she is seen on screen, the director's thirst to incorporate glamorous scenes cry out loud making mincemeat and mockery of the storyline.
The story of the real protagonist of the film played by Pasupathi and his livelihood have been made in a refreshing manner but then 20 minutes into the film one gets the feeling the lead character had walked out of the sets of 'Veyyil' only to walk into 'Kuselan'.
The final twenty minutes of the film showcases Rajinikanth's inimitable style of narration and appeal synchronizing with the storyline. A sense of great relief can be felt amidst the audiences especially because the irritating 'beating-about-the- bush' sequences are over once and for all and there is an emotion that the audience can finally relate with.
'Kuselan' an adapted remake comes across as a 'what could have been' movie rather than a 'what is' movie.
The film also gives insight into two main facets of filmmaking that no one can ever change - no matter what.
The story has to be the 'superstar' of the film and actors will have to strengthen it (even if the actor is Rajinikanth).
There is no such thing as a sure-shot filmmaker until and unless the basics of storytelling are adhered to with loads of creativity and hard work.
'Kuselan' sure has been successful in making many think along these lines. Probably it's time.