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Star Movie Review: Kavin uplifts this well-intentioned film with sweet surprises that keeps you at bay

Star Movie Review: It's a film that works magic in parts. There is brutal honesty through which it is said, but misses something magical that makes you want to root for protagonist in his pursuit

2.5/5rating
Star Movie Review: Kavin uplifts this well-intentioned film with sweet surprises that keeps you at bay
Star

Last Updated: 09.25 AM, May 10, 2024

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Star Movie Story

Star traverses through the journey of Kalai (Kavin), a boy from the middle-class family, and whose only aspiration is to make it into the film industry as an actor. His father Pandian (Lal), a still photographer stands as a pillar of support for his dreams as Kalai goes lengths to achieve this. Will Kalai achieve his ambitions and see himself on the silver screens?

Star Movie Review

To start with, the phrase “The universe always falls in love with the stubborn heart” is a reminder that comes through the film, as if it is the running theme of Star. The film takes this as the central soul to show how the setbacks that Kalai has to face at every step, almost practically making it difficult for him to face the camera, forget to show his hand in acting chops he has got. Kalai, whose trials and tribulations, are not as an actor, but to get to the stage of one, is what Star is all about. Perhaps, the only time, we see the challenge he faces as an actor is during his childhood, where he must convince that he is Bharathiyar despite not sporting the iconic moustache.

Star is a film that talks much about what is happening in the offscreen life of Kalai. It is almost like a character study we are shown of the protagonist, a boy who can get tickets to famous films and sells them to his schoolmates during school days, is called one of the most handsome boys and can get his way during his college days. Kavin plays this part to the perfection, adding the much-need charm. His father, who was an aspiring actor himself, takes any given chance to emote as one, even if it at the principal’s office. This poignantly shows how an artist never dies, even if the stage fails him. Constantly mocked for overacting by Kalai, there is a tender relationship of father-son built in the film. Star constructs a detailed world of Kalai, a father who is in pursuit of his son’s passion and mother Kamala (Geetha Kailasam), who reflects the reality of middle-class family. However, at one funeral scene, we see a beautiful confluence of acting by senior artists when Kalai receives good news, and family secretly is in joy, while ruing at the funeral at same time.

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Star works wonders in parts because Elan knows where to tuck in easter eggs and surprises to win the claps of cinema halls. There is a cool recreation of Padayappa scene, a telephone booth dialogue between a father and son that inevitably reminds us of Vaaranam Aayiram not to forget the College Superstars song that takes us to quick flashback to Yethe Yethe song. Throw in a special cameo, and a caught-you-by-surprise background score, Star makes a perfect recipe of nostalgic moments. Yuvan Shankar Raja scores at his best and keeps the film alive through the pain in his voice. But…yes there is a but, when it fails in telling Kalai’s ode to cinema.

At any point, we are never told why and what attracted Kalai to this art of acting. Even as we are shown him taking part in competitions and possessing a charismatic presence of an actor, what is that in Kalai that attracted him to aspiring into becoming one? Why, despite shedding enough stardust quality, Kalai is unable to make it, and when he eventually does, what are the challenges he faces? We are never told Kalai’s hardships he goes as an actor, because Star purely concentrates on personal conflicts he has to face. Barring one scene at an acting class, Kalai’s tryst with acting is not shown, instead navigates on how his personal life gets stirred away from the art form. 

Like in one scene between Kalai and his girlfriend Meera (Preity Mukhundhan) when she expresses her pain over their relationship to which Kalai questions if her hardships got to do with his failures, she leaves with no answer. It is both confusing and unsettling to empathise what these characters say emotionally. As much as we are shown Pandian constantly taking any chance to emote and act, even if there are no cameras, symbolising him to be the stubborn heart, Kalai’s journey is limited to his personal conflicts rather than ode to acting. We are not shown the ground reality that Kalai goes through professionally to be an actor, but we see Kavin excelling in showing the pain Kalai goes through, especially in a beautiful lengthy shot set during the end of film.

There is a climax that you may not want to miss, for one, its technical prowess, and two, the performative nature of Kavin. If you get, you get one minute detail that it tucks it. But either way, it is one sequence to watch out for. If Kalai indeed becomes an actor or not, is something that you need to know watching the film, but Star undoubtedly serving as an acting portfolio for Kavin, Lal and Geetha Kailasam, who magically make you find their characters both relatable and grounded.

Star Movie Verdict

Star is a film that works magic in parts. There is a brutal honesty through which the film is said, but misses something magical that makes you want to root the protagonist in his pursuit of being an actor. Had the film shown Kalai’s relationship with the craft and his professional difficulties in pursing it, Star would have been undoubtedly that one film which could have broken Tamil cinema’s dry spell. Nevertheless, the film still creates some magic and belief.

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