Kadaisi Vivasayi (2022) – A Quiet Natured Existence

This was a movie that I liked a lot. It probably won’t be for everyone, there isn’t any mass moments and the stars that do their cameos filter through the narrative without much fanfare. It is a quiet film, yet it keeps you engaged from start to finish, soon enough entangling you with the emotions of the people you come to see through this film.


Mayandi is the last farmer in his rural village in the countryside when he is arrested with the presumption he killed the peacock and two peahens he found and buried. The case goes to the local court, but the fields need to be looked at as the village deity needs the grains of the plants as an offering. On the side we have Ramaiah who became mad and Thadikozhanthai who is now owns an elephant.

This is a movie that has clearly been a passion project for writer-director-producer-cinematographer M. Manikandan. Every frame is taken care of with as much love as Mayandi takes care of his fields. There are gorgeous shots of the rural nature, still images, quiet moments that stay with you. Every frame lives and breathes, but it doesn’t draw attention to itself. In fact, the whole film is very understated and realistic.

This film is also the best possible case for more respect for agricultural farmers and their methods that are slowly dying out thanks to technology or landowners taking more land for themselves. The film does touch on these kinds of themes, but once more it is very understated, though the music does beat you up a bit about it. Having personally worked at a farm for a week (school project) and knowing the family who lived there since I was little, many of the same facts rang true, even if the landscape was different. There is this calming quiet in the countryside, where the birds sing and the wind rushes through he fields. Those scenes brought back memories of the many summers of my own childhood and it did give me comfort in it. Farming is hard work, always has been, yet there is idyll there in between the work and in the work itself.

This is a film starring non-actors and it works in the film’s favour by bringing authenticity and pathos to the very real world. The late Nallandi as Mayandi made his first and last screen appearance in this film as the quiet, hard of hearing and old farmer. He reminded me so much of one of the farmers in the farm which I mentioned before. Same manners, same quietness, same inner emotions that aren’t expressed melodramatically. Nallandi’s performance is as natural as the world he lives in. All the people surrounding him too feel nature both in front of the camera, as well as within this world.

As the judge on the case we have Dr. Raichal Rabecca Philip as Magistrate Mangaiyarkarasi who gives the film its warm moments and berates the police officers in a way that just makes you smile. Her competence makes the police look ever more incompetent. She has a heart and I am glad that there isn’t a clear villain here, except maybe progress and capital and the market etc, but only flawed people who make mistakes.

On the star cameo side we have the very best at understatement with Vijay Sethupadi as Ramaiah, a man who picks fights, is highly spiritual and brings a kind of added mysticism into the film. He blends into this world without much of a fuss, and I am glad he pushed for this film to be shown. It is after all a very un-star role, but he pulls it off with his usual quietness, shyness and conviction. Then we have Yogi Babu as Thadikozhanthai, he filters into the film in the second half, but is soon gone too. The film takes good care in not being too focused on them, except to add length more themes into the film. They stay as canoes without much fuss, which I highly appreciated, since the main story is engaging on its own.

The music is by Santhosh Narayanan, once more weaving his mastery of folk music throughout the film. Though they beat up with the message of the movie quite early on. They are enjoyable, understated and rooted in the land as much as the film itself is. The background music by Richard Harvey adds much to the film as well, breathing in and out as easily as the wind itself.

So, to end on a note, this film really is for a select audience, but its heart is very much for everyone. Its understated tone, the landscape and the village become all too familiar to us in the two and a half hours it runs. Personally, it hit a nostalgic spot from my childhood, but I know it won’t do the same for everyone. It did make me cry at the end with its emotions. In a way, its silences add to the emotion present, and those emotions stay with you afterwards.

Thank you for reading!

2 thoughts on “Kadaisi Vivasayi (2022) – A Quiet Natured Existence

  1. Oh, wow! I am always fascinated by these films featuring non-actors, wondering how the filmmakers find them. A pity that the gentleman has since passed away.

    The situation for small-time farmers is about the same everywhere, I fear. My mother’s family are sharecroppers while my dad’s family are freeholders. They still work their ranch, but almost all of the neighbors have died out or been bought out by multinationals. I feel a lot of guilt for having left, but none of my cousins stayed on their ancestral farms either ) :


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