Bala has a penchant for showing the underbelly of the society without adding any color or sprucing it up. Whether it was his depiction of mentally challenged people (in Sethu) or depiction of an orphan growing up cremation ground(in Pithamagan), Bala has always taken the less trodden path and has made a mark for himself.
However, Bala has missed target by miles in Naan Kadavul. In this movie, Bala deals with a Agori (sect that calls themselves God) in Varanasi and moves the story to a town in southern Tamil Nadu. Bala then interweave the unsavory dealings of begger mafia with the Agori and has tried to provide an interesting mix.
Bala must be congratulated for his guts in taking a story line that many wouldn't touch even with a mile long pole. However, Bala could have scripted the story tightly. Arya was asked (by his Guru) to go back to his family to disengage from all 'blood relationship' and return. However, once Arya returns to his family, story takes a different line and his family abruptly disappears from the story. Also, Puja is shown going to a church and being preached.. but what is not shown is how that relates to the story. Similarly the climax fight between Arya and Thandavan wasn't 'story lined' well. In summary, Bala started would well in the first half but struggled to keep the story line in the second half.
In the acting department, Arya as Agori and Puja as a blind begger have done commendably. More than these two, kids were wonderful. Don't know where Bala got those kids.. but they have done exceptionally well. It must have taken a lot to get them to 'act'.
In the music department, Illayaraja has produced some great numbers but two of them did not come in the movie. While the 'Om Sivoham' song seems to be the highlight of the movie, another good song/s 'Matha en kovilil' seems to have been omitted from the final version of the movie. While the songs were good, background score left much to be desired. It sounded jarring and disconnected at places.
In the Art department, the 'sets' in 'malaikovil' could have been better.. the inferior sets show their color and reduce the intensity of the movie.
It is said that Bala took 3 years to get this movie out.. he could have done lot better in the story department.
Net - I give this movie a "B" and that being very generous..
Bala: We expect a better movie next time and he sure will.. but let's hope he doesn't take another 3 years for it.