When Nayanthara started featuring in films that had women as protagonists, she was holding out a lot of hope and promise for the industry. In nearly a century old Tamil cinema, there have been only a handful of women who have consistently done that.
Nayanthara broke stereotypes in style. She could be the district collector who can break down at the plight of ordinary people, or a single mother with all her vulnerabilities flowing through. Nayanthara didn’t need to do a difficult fight sequence or a tearing sentimental scene to be accepted as a superstar.
Between acting alongside a hero and doing strong roles on her own, she was almost single-handedly busting stereotypes assigned to women in Tamil cinema. She was this woman, strong on her own, with no searing back story to apologise for her strengths.
In the creatively titled Kolaiyuthir Kaalam (Seasons of Murder), she’s the same. The actor plays Shuruthi, a deaf and mute woman adopted from an orphanage by a rich Abha Lawson in London. After Abha Lawson dies bequeathing all her properties to Shuruthi, the latter travels to London only to find herself trapped in the mansion where a series of murders take place and she could be the next. The film is about how Nayanthara saves herself from the lurking murderer.
A remake of American slasher film Hush, Kolaiyuthir Kaalam was caught in legal tangles before it finally released last Friday. Directed by Chakri Toleti known for films like Unnai Pol Oruvan and Billa 2, the film generated quite a buzz when Nayanthara was roped in. But even her presence couldn’t salvage the movie that finds itself lost from the beginning.
Kolaiyuthir Kaalam has an ensemble of well-known names — veterans like Rohini Hattangadi and Prathap Pothen die without knowing why they are being killed. A cold Bhoomika Chawla who doesn’t mind having her husband killed for the property should have exerted a chilling effect on the audiences. The film does just the opposite when she comes out as an antagonist. There is little that Bhoomika could do in a movie that is already insipid.
Right from its beginning, the film is so out of place that it fails to strike any chord with the audience. The flash-backs are long drawn out and sequences intended to build suspense, ends up trying one’s patience. The background score played every time the murderer makes an appearance adds to the tedium.
Kolaiyuthir Kaalam with a female protagonist and a female antagonist should have done better in the larger interest of Tamil cinema. It is sad that it did not.