Kanchana 3 Review: Raghava Lawrence Stays Faithful To The Franchise, Yet Entertains Us
It was in 2005 when the genres of horror and comedy were married to perfection in Rajinikanth’s Chandramukhi. Since then, the South Indian film industries have raised the bar higher with their experiments in this zone. Only two years into the biggest horror-comedy hit, critical and commercial, dancer-actor-filmmaker Raghava Lawrence brought Muni to us. It was gruesome in its action, gave goosebumps in its scares and made us giggle with its comedy. That set the base for what has become a recurring hit — the Muni film franchise. Earlier this April, the filmmaker brought back the popular action-comedy-horror film, titled Kanchana 3.
With Kanchana 3, Raghava Lawrence stays faithful to his franchise and still manages to entertain us. He does not cross his own boundaries, but definitely makes an attempt at setting the bar higher. The film begins with a young ghost-fearing and godman Raghava going on a trip to his maternal grandparent’s house to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. His only motivation to be there is his mardals, played by Vedika, Oviya and Nikki Tamboli, in the old house. Of course, he invites the ‘ghosts’ himself unknowingly, and becomes their shelter until revenge has been taken. The film is clearly divided into two parts.
The first half is mainly for the horror and comedy in Raghava’s life and the people around him staying in the haunting old villa. The second half is a dedicated drama to build up the back story of the ‘ghosts’ – Kaali and Rosy. Raghava’s life is not new to us so, let’s talk about the latter half. Kaali is a kind man, who has lived the whole of his life for others. Because his mother always told him to do good for others and it would come back to him. She ran an orphanage and was ‘amma’ to the whole colony. On her demise, people start to look up at Kaali as their protector and provider.
A young Kaali, who has anger issues, turns into a new person over night and does what is to be done. His only companion is Rosy, a fellow orphan who grew up with Kaali. She doesn’t do much, other than following him and looking after the responsibilities in his absence. The end goal for Kaali seems to be feeding the children well – since the same thing has been focused on thrice in film. Then we have Bhavani, played by Kabir Singh Duhan, who wants to donate money to Kaali’s orphanage but at a cost. Kaali denies the offer and their rivalry begins.
The second half has all the action sequence, making it action-heavy if you will. Bhavani wants to kill Kaali but Kaali ends up killing him – it’s too heroic and too stereotypical. This is what the masses keep hooting and whistling at. But Bhavani’s death irks his elder brother, Minister Shankar played by model-actor Tarun Arora. He waits for the right moment and kills Kaali and Rosy – they die and this is where the film begins, technically – but not really. The transitions are sturdy, therefore lesser effective.
Jumping back into the first half – you know you are here for Raghava’s mischiefs and his extremist ways of staying safe from the ghosts. The filmmaker knows you are expecting his Hanuman-printed blanket and shoes framing his bed. He gives you that. This time Raghava sleeps in a bed that’s shaped like a shoe – “extra protection”, he justifies. The filmmaker also knows that you expect Raghava to jump on to his mother’s side every time there is something scary. And so, he makes it a gimmick. The comedy works on dialogue delivery and acting, not on background music. It becomes repetitive but remains funny nonetheless. Most of the scares in the film are predictable and hence, fall flat quite a few times.
Although Kaali is the poster boy for the film, Kovai Sarala and Devadarshini should’ve taken the page, rightfully. They do their part convincingly, as usual. But when they make you laugh… you laugh out loud. Sriman is great addition between the two ladies. The scenes featuring the three of them are the ones that stand out. They define the madness and how! But the star of the first half is Yuvasri Lakshmi who plays Papa. Youngest of the lot and somehow, this teenager is the wisest in the madhouse. She gets enough to showcase her talent but we wish there was a little more of her.
An addition to the story are the Russian exorcists. We see them twice – introduction and climax. Chop out of their scenes and the film remains the same. In the climax, they try to exorcise Kaali out of Raghava’s body – apparently, the villain had foreseen such a circumstance. *Wait, what?!* Just before the climax, during the last fight, Raghava sets up his bar for action, visually. It’s dramatic and gore-y but works to keep you rooting for righteousness. This is where cinematographer DOP Sarvesh Murari shines with his frames. Also during the climax, we see inter-cuts between Raghava, Rosy’s grey-haired ghost and silver-haired Kaali. It’s repeated in the same scene to a point where you start to question its meaning!
Much like Ganga, the former release in the franchise, the ghosts do not fret exposing their stories and identities to the humans. Kaali’s anger is displayed through Raghava is justified. But Rosy lived a simple life, why would she “dress up” when in Raghava’s body? When Kaali gets his silver-hair and white lungi, why does Rosy get an old frock and stereotypical long hair? On another note, much like other films, even here you get your money’s worth. And that’s simply packed in the songs. Aurally, the songs are decent. The Telugu lyrics, particularly, work no magic. But! But! But! Take a look at Raghava dancing and you’ll be smiling throughout.