The good man, Sam (Aravindswamy) and Satan, Bergmans (Arjun) are brothers in a Seminary, with Bergmans having joined the Seminary to feed himself and his poor family and Sam, to serve the Lord. Bergmans is thrown out from the Seminary, as Sam reports to his superiors that Bergmans has broken the oath of Celibacy. Thus begins the 'good vs evil' fight which forms the crux of the film.
Several years later, Sam, now a catholic Father, comes to a village, where he mentors Thomas, an orphaned kid who grows up to be a handsome young fisherman. The good vs evil fight restarts, this time with Thomas joining in. Meanwhile, Thomas is smitten by Beatrice, a nurse. Questions like where does Thomas and Bea fit in this fight, do they get together, how does good triumph evil are answered as the second half of the film unties all the knots.
Mani Ratnam and Jayamohan have woven a beautiful script, which keeps you interested till the end. The efforts taken by them to bring in the nativity of a fishing village is so evident. At the end of the film, you feel like you've visited the village and lived there.
Arjun as the unapologetic satan and Aravindswamy as the oh-so-pure Father and Thomas' mentor, have played their parts well, though Arjun reminds us of Pugazhendhi from Mudhalvan, especially during the climax. Gautham Karthik looks promising and is convincing in his role as Thomas. Thulasi Nair is apt as the emotionally immature, childlike Beatrice.
The album, one of Rahman's best in the last 5 years, is already a big hit, with people eagerly waiting for each song in the theater. AR Rahman has worked equally hard for the background score too, with each cue fitting perfectly to the mood. I already can not wait to get my hands on the voice-less BGM tracks.
Rajeev Menon proves why he is among the best cinematographers here. The vibrant sea, the pristine beach, the church look so beautiful. The highlight is the climax scene in on the boat, with the boat tossing and turning due to the storm. Hats off, Rajeev Menon!
My only big grouse with this film is the way in which the songs were used in the film. Lakshmi Manchu once tweeted (https://twitter.com/LakshmiManchu/status/270745822809968641) that Nenjukkulle was picturised on her, but for some reason the song has been removed. The song is now played in the background for Gautham-Thulasi. Chithtirai Nila was used in bits and pieces three times in the film and Anbin Vaasale was pushed to end credits. However, the use of Magudi when Gautam turns 'evil' is just perfect. The most brilliant part of the song and the usage in the film is the 'devil' telling him in her seductive voice that once he has embraced 'her', he'll not be able to redeem himself and he'll dance as per her tunes (naan magudi daa, nee paambu).
Kadal is not a typical Mani Ratnam film. He has ventured in to new territory - in to a zone he is not comfortable with - has come out with flying colours. Kadal is a must watch. I'd rate Kadal 4 out of 5. It's one of the best tamil films in recent times (PS: I haven't watched Vishwaroopam yet).