Director Suseenthiran (Susienthiran this time) is one who delivers a gem of a film and follows it with a dud. I really liked his earlier films like Vennila Kabbadi Kuzhu (Part 1), Azhagarsaamiyin Kuthirai and Jeeva. Naan Mahaan Alla and Pandiya Naadu were unbelievably good. But when it comes to the duds, they were equally bad. I still cant believe he also directed films like Rajapattai. Kennedy Club falls somewhere towards the duds.
Kennedy Club (Kabbadi Coaching) is run and managed by a retired aged military officer Savarimuthu (Bharathiraja) using the funds he collects from his well-wishers. His dream is to coach the young girls who are from very poor families and help them make a career out of the sport. He suffers an attack and request one of his old students Muruganandam (SasiKumar) to continue the coaching and get them to play at national level.
The team faces the same struggles which every such films portray - there are some rowdy elements in the village who tease the girls when they play, some guys who use the playground for drinking followed by a silly fight where the hero defeats everyone with a corn. We have few scenes to establish the poor background of the players. This is followed by national level issues like North-South conflicts, cash for selection and obviously a bad selector (luckily he is not shown as a womanizer) who is biased to north teams.
The coach Muruganandam also has a cliché flashback as to why he stopped playing – a talented player tainted and rejected from the team because he played to win against the wish of his coach. I keep wondering why all coaches in Indian films should have a failed history! Infact the coach in one scene, claims that every genuine player who does not get a chance will atleast end up as a coach or do something in the ground in the interest of the game and will not quit (Unfortunately, this is true in many cases). For a change, towards the end we have a conflict between the senior coach and the junior coach, which also becomes irritating after a point.
Sasikumar is at his fittest best with a trimmed beard (it seems like we can never get out of the Shahrukh Khan image as a coach) and smiling face. He does his best to fit in to the character, however the role lacks the punch. Bharathiraja is good in some scenes but the poor lip sync spoils several scenes. The scenes where he slaps a girl and the coach in another instance stands out like a sore thumb. Out of the other actors, the guy who comes as the “puthu mappillai” was a big relief in between and scores well in the two scenes he got. A real talent to watch out for. The girl who plays the role of Bharathiraja’s daughter (Meenakshi) is a good find too. The background songs by D Imman is a big strength for the film. Nothing much to talk about the cinematography or editing.
The scenes involving the kabbadi matches are choreographed well but it becomes very repetitive and we get a feeling like watching a match in TV, where as we should have been emotionally connected with each player. Blame it on the script which does not have any scenes to connect the audience to each players and their belief or dreams (the twins being the exception). Overall, Kennedy Club is a repeat of several films we have seen based on sports in recent times. With no interesting twists or gripping narration, it fails to keep you entertained.
Rating – 2/5