Tamil Reviews

Kazhugu 2 Review: A Boring, Painful Safari

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Director: Sathyasiva

Cast: Kreshna, Bindhu Madhavi, Kaali Venkat

In the early days of Rajinikanth’s super stardom we had a film called Kazhugu directed by that ubiquitous name in the actor’s filmography – SP Muthuraman. Not a particularly memorable one in the Rajini oeuvre, the film is more famous for Rati Agnihotri lighting up a beach in night time in Raaja’s ‘Kadhal Ennum’, a song ahead of its time like most of the man’s compositions of that time. It also had a droll subplot involving mysterious smugglers and evil mystics holding forth in the jungles, accompanied by some gratuitous human sacrifice rituals. Fast forward almost three decades later, we are now in Kazhugu 2. No, it’s not a sequel to Rajini’s Kazhugu. It is the sequel of Sathyasiva’s Kazhugu, 2012 version. A dense forest setting is a common theme running through all the three Kazhugu films. In Sathyasiva’s earlier version, the characters played by Krishna and his friends hold a truly unusual job – they help collect dead bodies, those of suicide victims around the hills of Kodaikanal. In Kazhugu 2, Krishna and Kaali Venkat play two runaway brigands, finding shelter and job in the woods.

The woods of Kazhugu 2 are populated by wild foxes and the film’s prologue, set in 2007, tells us about a brutal attack that killed several women. It prepares us for a film on a man vs animal conflict, populated by tribals, laborers, a nexus of evil politicians and businessmen, in a story of exploitation of both human and natural resources. Calling itself Kazhugu, the film had passable scope to explore the vulturing aspect of powers that be. But Kazhugu 2 only disappoints. The pair are misconstrued to be seasoned hunters and hired as guards against the wild animals so that people can work in relative safety, felling the forests several trees at a time. Kazhugu 2 runs like the makers decided to make a sequel on the fly and left for the shooting spot next morning. Tik tok videos come with better preparation, rehearsals and direction.

Kazhugu 2 is never about one thing. One moment, it is sympathetic towards these labourers in the villages around Kodaikanal. Next moment, it is the most painful love story ever filmed. There is no meet-cute, there are no conversations and there is definitely no chemistry. In the second half, Sathyasiva tells us about long ancient tribal funeral rituals (an echo of the older Kazhugu here) before making it a heist film for a brief while. Towards the end, it is a violent action film involving betrayals, caste-induced killings and patricide. The film runs as if a lot was lost on the editing table and they re-purposed a feature length film out of the remains.

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