If you don’t speak Malayalam, you wouldn’t know what “Kaduva” means. And if, like us, you have started the movie simply with some blind faith in Malayalam cinema, without having previously seen the trailer for the film, you will be thrown off by the first few minutes. It starts with a police officer asking one of the inmates if he knows someone by the name of Kuriyaachen, aka Kaduva. The prisoner, in awe, reveals that this is no ordinary man, and his name means “tiger,” which is akin to his personality. It was at this moment that we knew that we were going to sit through a masala potboiler. Somehow, this entire genre has dissolved itself into a labyrinth of predictable plots, and our expectations immediately plummeted because of that. But our job requires us to keep tasting the old wine in new bottles without prejudice. And that is what we did for the two-and-a-half hour runtime of “Kaduva.” Let us see if this movie really managed to be something different, or maybe it should have taken itself less seriously.
What Started The Feud Between Ousupputti And Kuriyaachen?
The story is about a man named Kuriyaachen, who is living an idyllic life as a rich planter in the small town of Pala. He is well known for his brash but somewhat Godfather-like attitude at the place. One day, he receives a letter from a nearby parish warning him about the priest coming to their church. The letter says that the father, Robin Poovammara, is a sexual harasser and asks Kuriyaachen to teach him a lesson. He decides to keep an eye on the priest.
At his first Mass, the priest is gifted a piano by one of the locals, who happens to be IG Joseph Chandy, aka Ousupputti’s mother. He says that anybody who wishes to learn the piano can visit him. Kuriyaachen is wary of this, especially because a young girl expresses an interest in piano lessons. Father Robin tries to move the piano to his personal chambers but is stopped by Kuriyaachen. He says that the piano was gifted to the church and not to the priest. He challenges the father that he will get Ousupputti’s mother to say so in the church.
But unfortunately, when he brings it up at the next meeting, she says that the piano was a personal gift. This comes as a shock to Kuriyaachen, who has been assured by her that she will speak the truth. Hurt by this, he says a few inappropriate things, causing Ousupputti to come to her defense. A fight ensues between both men, with the latter vowing to destroy Kuriyaachen’s life. And he makes good on that vow. Ousupputti has a chunk of the police force transferred to another place. All of those officers were supporters of Kuriyaachen. Next, he buys the land in front of his house and makes plans to turn it into a cemetery. He causes a fight in Kuriyaachen’s bar and causes it to get shut down. Not just that, he beats up his friends and has them arrested on fabricated charges.
Throughout it all, Kuriyaachen passively accepts it. Other than the one fight scene where he beats up the officers who were about to assault him, he is silent throughout the suffering. He is locked up in jail for 14 days, and when he goes back home, things are worse. He finds his daughter injured, and by the way she is acting, he can tell that the cause was more than a fall from the stairs. Tessa confesses to him that the priest, Robin Poovammara, had come to their house and tried to sexually assault Elsa, Kuriyaachen’s wife. While defending her mother, she injured herself. Kuriyaachen is furious but doesn’t react. He also doesn’t react when his late father’s car is taken away, and he is silent when he comes to know that one of his friends has been rendered grievously injured due to the police officer, SI Dominic Benjamin, who has a vendetta against Kuriyaachen.
We don’t understand the reason for the silence. More than half the movie is done, and we are getting bored now. And that’s when the answers start revealing themselves. The CM of Kerala, Ananthanathan, has resigned, and it looks like Kuriyaachen is responsible for that. When he was in jail, Kuriyaachen met a former acquaintance of his who later joined politics and is now serving the opposition party. He has proof of the CM’s corruption and can get him to resign if presented with the evidence in front of the alliance. But they need a sponsor for funds to convince the members who might not agree. Kuriyaachen agrees to do that. And now that the CM is no longer in power, he releases his Kaduva within. We cringe as we write that, but we understand that this was exactly the movie writer’s intent. A tiger patiently waits for its prey while hunting, and that is what Kuriyaachen had been doing so far, waiting for the right time. He beats up Robin for attacking his wife and puts Inspector Dominic in his place. He threatens him to return his father’s car as soon as possible. This is also followed by him having Ousupputti’s promotion frozen and having him removed from law and order. When Ousupputti goes to meet the ex-CM and tries to transfer his assets, he is caught and takes the blame for it, out of loyalty. Can we just say that we are fans of Prithviraj Sukumaran’s effortless arrogance in this role? We really wish he had a better script to work with.
‘Kaduva’ Ending Explained: Does Kuriyaachen Manage To Take Revenge From Ousupputti?
So far, the answer has been a yes. But it is now Ousupputti’s turn to strike. He hires a hitman from jail and tasks him with killing Kuriyaachen. But let’s not forget that Kuriyaachen is still the hero of the story, a larger-than-life character who can beat 10 people at once. So, of course, he is the one to beat up the goons and save the day. An enraged Ousupputti jumps into the fray, and the two men fight it out. As he is lying down, unable to fight further, Kuriyaachen tells him that he is ending it, and it is Ousupputti’s choice if he wants to take this further.
The latter just collapses. In the next scene, he is sentenced to a jail term as the assets he was delivering were considered to be his. Right as he is about to leave to serve his time, Kuriyaachen meets him. The men have a conversation about how their feud is not over, and it will be continued. And that is probably what we will see in the second part of this movie.
Final Thoughts: What Works And What Doesn’t? What To Expect From The Sequel To “Kaduva”?
Like we said before, this movie is like old wine in a new bottle that just fails to be entertaining. Most commercial pot boilers, even with their senseless plots, still manage to attract an audience because their over-the-top theatrics guarantee a good time, if not pushed to the limit. There is no subtlety about it, and it is not even an expectation. This movie tried to do that and ended up making it a bland film. As much as Kuriyaachen is a delight to watch on screen, what was he even doing? And Vivek Oberoi is making a strong space for himself as the villain in South Indian movies. But the script forgot to make him menacing. And that took away the thrill of seeing ‘just desserts’ being served.
If there is a sequel, we will probably see more of the politics play out. Ousupputti is owed a favor by the ex-CM, and we will see how that works. Also, there is a hint of a backstory for him, which might be elaborated on in the upcoming part. But if we are being completely honest, we don’t want to see it, because we are just not interested. It was a weak plot with an uninteresting cliffhanger. The only saving grace was Prithviraj Sukumaran’s charm, but we will just watch the “Jana Gana Mana” sequel for it. Or stalk him on Instagram. He is truly a class apart, and we wish to see more of him. But not in films like “Kaduva.” Thus, we will give it a strict pass and keep our fingers crossed for better work from Malayalam cinema in the future.
“Kaduva” is a 2022 Drama Thriller film directed by Shaji Kailas.