Kadaseela Biriyani movie review: Brilliantly shot, bizarre indie thriller with a heart

Kadaseela Biriyani movie review: Breathtaking visuals make up for the initial lull in the narrative.

Nishanth Kalidindi’s Kadaseela Biriyani is one of the most bizarre films to come out of Tamil cinema in recent years. It is an unabashedly raw indie film and is largely brilliant and naive in parts. It’s a straightforward revenge thriller but relies heavily on wry humour and some unsettling violence to make it stand out, and that’s what makes this attempt by debutant filmmaker Nishanth path-breaking. Even when you can’t make sense of what’s happening in the first 20 minutes, the film manages to suck you into its world when the actual story kicks in. Crisply made in just under 2 hours, Kadaseela Biriyani is worth being called one of the best films of the year. 

The story is centred on Chikku Pandi (Vijay Ram), who gets separated from his two elder brothers, his mother and grandfather because his father fears he will tread the same path as them and become a violent man. Chikku Pandi, as per his father’s wish, dreams of becoming something in life and he starts working towards it. But as fate would have it, his brothers force him to join them on a murder mission. 

Most of the story unfolds in a single day and the breathtaking visuals make up for the initial lull in the narrative. Shot predominantly across Tamil Nadu and Kerala border, Kadaseela Biriyani is filled with dialogues both in Tamil and Malayalam. The Malayalam dialogues are slightly difficult to grasp if one doesn’t know the language but as the story progresses and one gets the hang of what’s happening, things get easier. The film tries to redefine masculinity through the film’s four lead characters, including the menacing Hakkim Shah, who plays the foul-mouthed antagonist. Also, the effective use of dark humour in the most unexpected situations adds to the film’s appeal.

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Purely for its intent to take a very predictable plot and to say it in the most unusual manner, Kadaseela Biriyani deserves a big round of applause. It’s not a film for all – it’s one that can make you very uncomfortable at several junctures. However, one of the minor grouses worth pointing out is that the film incorporates violence and the usage of profanity quite explicitly. Featuring mostly newcomers and shot in the most unexpected places, Kadaseela Biriyani manages to stay largely engaging. 

Kadaseela Biriyani
Director: Nishanth Kalidindi 
Cast: Hakkim Shah, Vasanth Selvam, Vijay Ram


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Jitendra Kumar

Jitendra Kumar Born on October 10, 1990 an Indian author and activist from Hathras in Uttar Pradesh.