Kuselan/Kathanayakudu Movie Review— Only Nayakudu No Katha

At some point in the film, Ashok Kumar, the Super Star (Rajnikanth), meditates on who really a Super Star is—is it the individual or the individuals who write the script and the characters. Super Star (SS) Ashok Kumar gives the credit to all his writers who worked with him and hails them as the real Super Stars. This concept is not novel as even in A Film By Aravind, the same thought is debated by the two guys, one is a director and the other a big star. In another instance, Ashok Kumar also says that if the story is not good, then even the SS cannot save it. In the case of Kathanayakudu, unfortunately, the Super Stars and the Super Star, both do not succeed in striking a chord.

Balakrishna (Jagapati Babu) who goes by Ballu the Barber in the village is a poor man with a family of three ends and struggling to make ends meet. An (overly) honest and upright man, he is willing to go to sleep without eating a morsel, but will never stoop to adopting any business strategy whatsoever. He has no money to provide his family with food and school fees too. In fact, Ballu is shown as a complete vegetable of the village. He doesn’t even have the money to buy every barber’s dream–the revolving chair. Meanwhile, his former assistant, who can’t even shave off the foam from the surface of a balloon, uses all the crooked means to get business. One fine day, the catering contractor arrives in a Benz to give money to the local business for the supply of provisions for 40 days.

The entire village is ecstatic with the news that Ashok Kumar, the Super Star, is coming to town for shooting along with glam-babe Nayanathara (plays herself). All villagerss leave their work and begin to camp outside the guest house and shooting locations just to get a glimpse of the SS. Slowly, word spreads around that Ballu and Ashok Kumar are childhood friends. Everybody now begins to woo Ballu to get them to meet the SS. Neighbors offer mutton biryani, the village wealthy man offers to revamp his decaying barber shop and so on. However, Ballu, the vegetable that he is, is too insecure and wonders if he will bethrown out by the black cat security guards if Ashok Kumar does not recognize him. Ballu even nears the point of emotional breakdown when his kids too show disrespect towards him. Then Ballu begins trying, but in vain.

This is pretty much how the movie progresses until the last ten minutes. Of course, sprinkled and sometimes painfully injected in between the narration throughout the film are re-enactments from Rajni’s best box-office blockbusters like Narsimha, Chandramukhi, and so on. Apparently, these scenes are for their sequels, which makes one wonder how many movies are the shooting for or is it a film titled Best-of-Rajni? After the shooting schedule is done, Ashok Kumar is invited to the local school as a chief guest for the school’s 25 Years Celebrations. In this speech (for the first time in the film, out of the blue) Ashok Kumar reveals that he is the Super Star in people’s eyes today because of his childhood friend Ballu. We are told that it was Ballu who saw the actor, the star, the style in him, fed him, and encouraged him to move to Madras and try for films. Hearing this, everybody in the village who ridiculed Ballu and even called him a liar have to hang their heads in shame. The film ends with Ashok Kumar making a surprise visit to Ballu, hugging him, chiding him for not keeping in touch, and even says that from now on he will have to stay with him.

If P.Vasu, the director, was in full-form with Chandramukhi, this time around he is completely out of form. Obviously moved by the original, he quickly ropes in Rajni and shoots a hotch-potch that doesn’t even fit with the theme and concept of the film. Yes, there will be tears at the end, but that is only because Rajni sheds tears in a well done emotional scene. The friendship connection and depth is missing even as P. Vasu is totally out of ideas as to how to show Rajni in a new and elevating manner—zorro, 007, pharoh,…cummon now. Why the irrelevant solo-song in the rain with Nayan in a skimpy two piece?—doesn’t P. Vasu have the confidence in his script and even the Super Star Rajni that he felt he needed a wet and gyrating Nayan to pull in the crowds?! The only person who would have enjoyed this song would be the cameraman who was all over Nayan’s body. Both, the first and second half are a drag with nothing interesting other than the village buffoons trying to get a glimpse of the SS. Ballu’s ultra weak characterization is a major draw back.

Nayan is the same; the same i-really-wanna-be-a-bad-girl expressions, but who in the audience is looking at her face? Mamta Mohandas clearly is in the pits of her career to have accepted such a bekar role for a couple of minutes. Prabhu is painfully obese. In fact, our Union Minister for Health A Ramdoss can use Prabhu for a National Public Health Campaign to show how one will eventually look like with a junkie-sedentary lifestyle. Prabhu basically plays Rajni’s security head for a few minutes [read watchman]. The rest of the comedy gang is routine. Rajnikanth is his usual self. Poor chap, what could he do having being caught with his own philosphy?—with no story, even the superstar can do nothing. The biggest drawback for the film is SP Balasubramanium’s dubbing for Rajni. Honestly, it was terrible. Through out the film, I felt like I was hearing Kamal Hasan speaking through Rajni!…freaky stuff! Rajni does answer some questions for us, but you don’t have to watch the film for this. He basically says that he goes to Himalayas for peace of mind, which is a constant compared to happiness, which is fickle. He only talks about political entry for movie-box-office punch, how can someone take it seriously? and he does have a positive word for Kamal Hasaan where he says that Kamal is a hardworking actor and deserves his fame.

A couple of songs are good. Cinema Cinema, which is a tribute to all the technicians and behind-the-scenes guys, is badly done. Alas, the makers did not put in enough enthusiasm into making the song as the singer has into singing it. Meena is fine, but with all that smooth make-up she doesn’t look as poor as the director would want us to believe. It is Jagapati Babu as Ballu, who really lives it up in spite of a weak characterization and out-of-focus story.

Mr. Inkenti’s Movienomics Verdict: Thumbs Down!



  1. Balasubramaniam N said


    Today i saw the film, it was not upto the mark what everyone expect from a Rajini’s Film. Even though he appears only for few minutes, the director might have done other things in a better manner. All the characters in film stands without balance. Comedy also not so entertaining. For an Emotional movie like this, most of the time the director’s choice for Music would be ILLAYARAJA(Who might have given the BEST in BGM). But here G.V Prakash Kumar Fails. Even in the Climax, Scenes were not so touching. Totally film is not good…


  2. Loosu said

    you need your brain checked son
    go n watch the movie again

  3. pavan(sai) said

    ya it’s true movie was faild.A couple of songs are good. Cinema Cinema, which is a tribute to all the technicians and behind-the-scenes guys, is badly done. vasu taking is not good.rajni avrg%

  4. media boy said

    i’m so lucky my local theatre plays flicks like this one, gonna see it for sure

  5. sri said

    Meena is worst in the movie. who wrote this stupid review.Only because of rajini the movie is good. I saw the movie thrice only for rajini apperance. Comedy is good. Songs are very good . Dont criticise GV prakash he is a new generation music director and has given right music. Only problem with the movie is to much of dragging scenes.and the movie is worth watching twice maximum.

    kuselan movie is not bad or its not good its inbetween.

    3 and a half star for kuselan. Kuselan is far better than chandramukhi.Chandramukhi is only masala with confusing climax.

  6. kishen said

    hey, who the hell gave tat stupid comment ? meena’s acting was simply superb. she gets under the skin of her character well. don’t you give the comment on meena. the film was ok. it is gd. but i feel tat p.vasu should go more deeply in friendship. throughout the film is juz gd.

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