Karthi and Aditi Rao Hydari's Kaatru Veliyidai has failed to garner positive reviews from critics. The good points in the Tamil movie have been overlooked by reviewers due to the unimpressive screenplay written by director Mani Ratnam.
The story of Kaatru Veliyidai is about Indian Air Force fighter pilot Varun falling in love with doctor Leela Abraham. It is set in the backdrop of the Kargil War. But, their romance takes a beating due to the hero's male chauvinism and the twist in the story comes when he is captured as a prisoner of war by Pakistan Army. Varun struggles to escape and the lessons that he learn through the trauma form the crux of the story.
Critics point out that the movie has romance like in Mani Ratnam's usual films and the dialogues backed by Vairamuthu's poetry give a pleasant feel to the audience. Among the lead cast, Aditi Rao Hydari has come out with a career-defining performance.
Ravi Varman's cinematography has been described as magical by critics and AR Rahman deserves a big applause for giving soulful music to the film. However, the overall content has failed to live up to the viewers' expectations.
Below, we bring to you what leading critics have to say about Karthi and Aditi Rao's film.
Rediff Rating: 3
TThe title's expression may have been influenced by Bharathiyar's poem Kaatru veliyidai kannamma. Just like the title could have more than one connotation -- kaatru veliyidai -- through the gap of the wind where VC's aircraft flies or a slip of wind like the svelte hip of love (like in Bharathiyar's poetry), this film could have more than one reason to be admired for. And it's not the plot, for sure.
Indian Express: 1.5
Ratnam's melding of politics and pleasure in his movies has always been a tricky balance, and in parts of his well-known trilogy—'Roja-Bombay-Dil Se'—there have been a series of sweet spots when it comes together with a degree of flair and colourful conviction. This goes missing in the director's latest expedition, in which the plot is fully frothy and woolly-headed, bunging in the 'realism' of the Kargil war, the hero's painful excursion into enemy territory, and a climax full of comic book escapades, into Ratnam's too-familiar schtick—the full-on, full-blown romance which is meant to overcome all else.
The Times of India: 2.5
What lets down Kaatru Veliyidai and stops it from being the film it wants to be is the narrative device that Mani Ratnam employs to tell his story — intercutting a romance with a sub-plot about the protagonist, who has become a prisoner of war in the present, trying to stage a prison break and get back to his lady love.
Bangalore Mirror: 2
But what's worrying is that the tale moves a tad too languidly for its comfort, more importantly it is quite bland for most parts. Strangely the film lacks novelty, reminding you of Roja, Maryan, Alaipayuthey and even Dil Se (the flawed characters and VC's house in Delhi). The second half even makes the proceedings appear a little too convenient.
When the writing is that good, one also wishes every scene had come together in the heart as well as it does in the head. There's something about Karthi's performance that just didn't work — the way he rolls his eyes and the scene where he confronts her parents were especially jarring.