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Kanaa Review

Review by IndiaGlitz [ Wednesday, December 19, 2018 • Telugu ]

Kanaa - Dream Achieved 

Arunraja Kamaraj known for his acting, lyric writing and singing debuts as writer-director of 'Kanaa' produced by his good friend Sivakarthikeyan.  It is a majestic debut for the multitalented Arunraja who manages the difficult task of embedding a strong relevant message in an entertaining sports drama.

Koushika Murugesan (Aishwarya Rajesh) is the only daughter of a farmer Murugesan (Sathyaraj) who is passionate about cricket.  In one of the matches when India loses the little girl sees her father in tears and starts growing an ambition to become an Indian cricketer and win games to make her father happy.  How this village girl breaks the barriers of gender, economic background, and the society to achieve her dream forms the rest of the screenplay which tackles a much bigger issue than the obvious.

We saw her convince us as the mother of preteen boys and this time the never-fails to amaze Aishwarya Rajesh pulls off her character growth from a tenth standard girl to a team India cricketer as if it's just another walk in the park.  Especially remarkable is the cricketing skills that Aishu has trained hard to perfect that she never seems out of place among professional cricketers both Indian and Australian in the film.  She is outstanding in expressing the soft natured relationship with her dad Sathyaraj and the turbulent one with her mom (Rama).  Aishwarya's hands are going to get sore again handling awards statutes instead of cricket balls early next year.  Sathyaraj as the farmer heading towards bankruptcy is brilliantly cast and while he shines in every frame the one standout moment is his emoting when his daughter calls him to inform him of getting to play for India but he is in the worst possible position.  Rama has given a superlative performance as the foul-mouthed mother and her harsh but well-meaning interactions with Aishwarya make for some of the best scenes in the film.  Darshan as the romantic interest of Aishwarya's character is not only pivotal to the rise of the heroine but also provides the much needed comic relief in the screenplay.  Ilavarasu, Muniskanth, the gang of boys who first help Aishwarya play cricket, the professional cricketers have all given their best under the able direction of Arunraja Kamaraj. The little girl who plays the younger version of Aishwarya Rajesh too deserves a pat on her back for putting in equal efforts with her splendid bowling action and that glint in her eyes.  Sivakarthikeyan in an extended cameo apparently inspired by Indian cricketer Saba Karim and Proteas star Mark Boucher makes his mark without calling on too much attention to his star persona which is a huge plus for the film's commercial as well as artistic qualities.

What makes 'Kanaa' work big time is the solid writing which makes the progress of the woman cricketer as natural as possible.  The brilliance in the filmmaking is the manner in which Arunraja ticks all the plot points of the sports drama and at the same time deal with the much larger issue of the farmer's plight.  One more novel aspect is the way Aishwarya Rajesh's character gets inspired in her goals in various stages by multiple people around her including her mother, father, the boys with whom she plays cricket, Sivakarthikeyan, a teammate and situations in her life.  One among the many memorable directorial touches is the bearded villager who refuses to clap for artificial situations and pays off in the climax.  The climax is elevated to great heights as Aishwarya delivers the film's real message at the most appropriate moment in the screenplay.

On the downside like the middle overs of a One Day International, there is a lull in the second half when Aishwarya gets into the  National side and some forced rivalry with another player is infused.  To an audience fed on cricket, the training and the grinds and the few matches do produce a yawn.  The functioning of the BCCI and Aishu's entry into the Indian team is not all that convincing.

All of Dhibu Ninan Thomas's songs including 'Vaayadi Petha Pulla' have already become chartbusters and his background score punctuates the emotional rollercoaster screenplay effectively.  Dinesh Krishnan's cinematography is especially commendable in capturing the cricket matches.  Ruben has tried to keep the pace going on seamlessly excepting the above-mentioned lull period.  Sivakarthikeyan deserves a handshake for not only bringing his friend's dream to reality but also backing a well-intentioned and well-made film.  Arunraja Kamaraj possesses the skills of a good storyteller who hides a surprise even in the most ordinary of scenes.  The biggest applause to him is though reserved for his social conscience in brilliantly entwining the parallel storyline of the farmer's plight into an engaging sports drama.

Verdict: Go for this engaging, well written, well-enacted sports drama that also carries a strong message that will move your hearts.

Rating: 3.75/5

Rating: 3.75 / 5.0

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