Connecting the Swamis

Arvind Swami is on a roll now. One of the biggest hits of 2015 is Thani Oruvan and he is undoubtedly one of the trivial reason for it’s success. Though his comeback film Kadal, a multi-starer, was quite a ride down a rough sea (Pun intended), his portions were a delight to watch. On the other hand, his role in a famous multi-starer, Minsara Kanavu is definitely a major turning point for his career. This post tries to build a connecting plot between both these films and thereby tries to prove that both the stories are from the same universe (something often seen in Hollywood flicks) and a continuing timeline in the process. Obviously, it’s a work of fiction and if any errors are found please do comment and communicate.

Thomas, a well mannered NRI business man comes back to India to take care of dad’s businesses only to fall for his childhood friend, Priya. Not knowing how to take things forward, Thomas lands at Deva’s place for help, who’s known to have his way around a girl’s heart. Fate plays it’s role and Priya ends up loving Deva, who, not able to muster the truth, falls for her too. At the end when Priya understands the truth, gets torn apart and decides to vow for nun trainee. Thomas realises what has happened, convinces her out and ends up getting her married off to Deva. Thomas then becomes a priest himself. This is the story of Minsara Kanavu.

Kadal, apart from the story angle of the lead Thomas, sees Sam, a young student who has come to a preaching school in the aim of becoming a priest. He catches Bergmans, a fellow student, committing a sin and gets him out of the school. Bergmans, without knowing that the fault is his, vows revenge. Moving forward a couple of years, Sam ends up in a village as a priest and befriends the rudely rebellious Thomas, only to bring him into his way of righteousness. Fate plays again as Sam meets a heavily wounded Bergmans, treats him and promises to bring his lover, Celine back to him. Villagers assume that Celine has an affair with Sam and to his horror, she lies that the assumptions of the villagers are true. This shocks Sam who ends up getting a 4 year jail imprisonment only to return back to see Thomas as a henchman controlled by Bergmans. At the end, Sam and Thomas together take care of Bergmans and it’s the usual good triumphs over the evil ending.

What if both these stories are interconnected? What if they follow the same timeline? Let’s explore the astounding similarities and possibilities that happen between these two stories and the questions unanswered are filled with plain, good ol fiction.

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After realising that it’s a dead end for his love, Thomas decides to take the path of god and become a priest. He has had it with his exuberant lifestyle and wants to become a common man. This is shown at the end credits of Minsara Kanavu where Thomas’s father, heartbroken, gives away his money as charity. Thomas gets himself to the school where he meets Bergmans. The opening shot of Kadal shows a pastor who enrols Thomas, asking him why he has left behind a posh life for such a position. Thomas replies with a weak smile. He wants to loose the tag that he has around himself and he has gone to the extent of changing his name as Sam. This, he hopes, will cover his past and give a new future. Post the scuffle with Bergmans, Thomas/Sam goes on to become a father. After a while, he returns back home where he serves as the father in a church. Priya and Deva, now married, comes to see Thomas/Sam with their daughter. He waves them a goodbye as he sees Priya into her eyes. Her eyes convey a sorry, a sorry for a mistake that never was hers. He replies back with his eyes saying it’s all over now and he’s glad that she’s happy. Post a short tenure here, he’s sent back to a village to serve as a priest in a local church. This is when Sam comes to the location where the story of Kadal unravels. Sporting a French beard, that was the same in the case of Minsara Kanavu‘s last shot, he finds the dilapidated church and runs into a young kid. Figuring out the sad history behind him and most importantly, his name, Sam decides to take him under his wings. Thomas, the kid’s name is the same one his own father named him, the same name he later rechristened into Sam. He smirks thinking how his past won’t let go of him and he just have to live with it.

Closing shot of Minsara Kanavu and opening shot of Kadal
Closing shot of Minsara Kanavu and opening shot of Kadal

Fast forward a decade, Thomas has grown into an adult and Sam is happy with his simple yet fulfilling life in the village. This peace isn’t for long when his path crosses with Bergmans again. Critically injured, Bergmans asks Sam to get him his lover. Sam, who doesn’t know about the evil lurking in front of him, goes in search of Celine. He knows the pain of love as he has seen his share with Priya. He frantically searches for her and brings her back to Bergmans, a move that will end up negatively for Sam.

It’s pretty fascinating to see how both the stories overlap almost perfectly. Kadal is directed by Mani Ratnam and cinematography is by Rajiv Menon. Ironically, Minsara Kanavu is Rajiv Menon’s directorial debut. Both the films have the legendary A.R.Rahman composing the tracks. The history behind the trio Mani Ratnam, Arvind Swami and Rajiv Menon doesn’t end there. Rajiv was Mani’s first choice for the lead role of Roja. Following Rajiv’s decline of the offer, the role went to Arvind Swami, which happens to be Arvind’s first lead role after a shot in front of the lens as a character artist in Thalapathi, which also happens to be Mani’s film.

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