I watched the much anticipated "controversial" Tamil movie, Komban, few hours ago. Unlike what some caste based group like Puthiya Tamilagam tried portraying, there is actually nothing controversial about this movie.
Prior to its release in Tamil Nadu, Dr.Krishnasamy of the Pallar caste dominated Puthiya Tamilagam, filed a petition in the court seeking to ban this movie. Dr.Krishnasamy claimed that this movie will cause caste clashes to happen.
However, after watching this movie, I can boldly say that the protest is not based on any truth. It is clear that the protest was probably motivated by personal hatred. It was the same Dr.Krishnasamy who protested more than a decade ago and caused Kamal Hassan's Sandiyar to be renamed as Virumandi.
There was also a protest by a lawyer named Mr.J.Anthony Livingston. He claimed that the movie insults the Nadar community. However, this is not true as there is no reference to the Nadars in the movie. Furthermore, actor Sarathkumar who is also the president of the Nadigar Sangam, has spoken against the protest. Sarathkumar is also from the Nadar community.
For a start, let me just frankly clarify to all that Komban is about the Mukkulathor community of Ramanathapuram (Ramnad) district. It has the similar social atmosphere of Thevar Magan and Paruthi Veeran. This can be easily understood when one watches the movie although there is no mention of any caste name in their script.
Furthermore, the names of the regions mentioned as Vellanadu, Semmanadu and Aappanadu; the kinship terminologies such as Aiyah, Chinnaiyah, Mathani; names like Muthaiyah, Niraikulathan, Kombayyan, Doraipandi; worship of Karupusamy; use of weapons like Valari; phrases like "Vecha kudumi, adicha mottai" and "Kadichittu vaadanu sonna, kavvittu varanom, athanda unmaiyana Mara-payyen"; blowing of the conch and absence of Brahmin priest in the wedding scene just adds to the Mukkulathor-ism in the movie.
So it is not a secret that Komban has a caste flavor in it. Should this be a movie shot in Coimbatore and emphasizes on local culture, then it will be based on the local Vellala Gounder caste. Karthi's other recent movie, Madras, is based on the political aspirations of the Parayar community.
This is not something bad at all as the movie makers only intend to create the right social atmosphere for their story line. Most importantly, it did not insult any particular caste.
There may be caste flavor in such movies, but there is no casteism in a bad light. So why should we even protest about it? As viewers, we should have the maturity to accept it. This is not a culture shock for us Tamils.
Komban is based on the life of the people in three divisions of Ramnad named Vellanadu, Semmanadu and Aappanadu. These Nadus are usually old divisions of the kingdom which once existed. There are several Nadus like this in Tamil Nadu especially in the south.
Karthi plays the role of Kombayya Pandian. A no-nonsense, carefree butcher from Aappanadu. Tambi Ramiah acts as his maternal uncle, Rajakili. Kovai Sarala as Karthi's mother. Rajkiran as his father in law, Muthaiah, from Semmanadu. Lakshmi Menon as Pazhani, his wife; Karunas as Muniandi, his elder cousin; and Veluchamy Ramamoorthy (Mathayanaikootam) as his Chinnaiah named Doraipandi.
There is a power struggle in the local panchayat of these three Nadus. This is where the villain Kundan plays an important role. He, his sons, son-in-law and henchmen are the local mafia. They decide on the entire panchayat system and kills anyone who questions their authority.
Our hero Komban has a rough start with Muthaiah. He disrespects his father in law and during an argument, even hits him. Komban then realizes his mistake, promises his wife that he will tone down his temperament and work for the better. Things then get better between Komban and Muthaiah.
Fate some how adds a twist and causes Komban to cross swords with Kundan and his gang. The movie is then all about how Komban overcomes Kundan and saves his family especially his father in law from being killed by Kundan.
Like all other good Tamil movies, the hero defeats the villain and saves his family.
Komban is basically the more decent version of Paruthi Veeran with a happy ending.
The presence of Thambi Ramaiah and Kovai Sarala in the movie brings in humor. Karunas, though a comedian, played a serious role. Rajkiran was as usual superb in his fatherly role. Lakshmi Menon too did well as a typical yet confident village girl. Can't think of anyone else to act in her role. Veluchamy who acted as Veera Thevar in Mathayanaikootam did well in this movie. However, he played a lesser serious and more joyful role.
If you are someone who does not like excessive fight scenes, then this movie is not for you. There will be a fight scene probably once almost every 15 minutes right from the start till the end of the movie. However, this is something which I expected.
As what one of my friends said "Namba padam, appadithaan irukom"
Other than that, the movie also emphasized on the importance of clan ties, family responsibilities, the importance of patience, and putting aside ego to seek forgiveness. The last reminded me of Kamal's message in Virumandi.
The entire movie was shot in villages in Ramanathapuram district except for one song which was shot in a village nearby Chennai. Sceneries were fine and suited the village theme.
I will say that GV Prakash did fairly good for the music and songs. My favourite is Kambikara Vetti.
Overall, I was entertained by this movie and will surely recommend others to watch it. I will give it a 3.7 out of 5.