Kurangu Pedal review: A long and heartwarming ride

Filmmaker Kamalakannan deserves credit for weaving a story around a simple thread while showcasing the innocence of a bunch of young boys.

ByS Subhakeerthana

Published:May 04, 2024

Kurangu Pedal is directed by Kamalakannan (1)

Kurangu Pedal (Tamil)

03-05-2024, Family Drama , 1 hour 59 minutes U
  • Main Cast:Kaali Venkat, VR Ragavan, Santhosh Velumurugan, Prasanna Balachander, Sai Ganesh and Jenson Diwakar
  • Director:Kamalakannan
  • Producer:Sivakarthikeyan
  • Music Director:Ghibran
  • Cinematography:Sumee Baskaran



Kurangu Pedal, directed by Kamalakannan of Madhubana Kadai (2012) and Vattam (2022) fame, will immerse you in an emotionally charged cinematic experience, in case, you still harbour fond memories of your early years spent in your grandparents’ hamlet.

The film is inspired by Rasi Azhagappan’s short story — “Cycle”.

It is one of the three Tamil films selected for the Indian Panorama section of the 53rd International Film Festival of India (Goa) in 2022.


A still from Kurangu Pedal

A still from ‘Kurangu Pedal’. (Supplied)

Kurangu Pedal opens with an unusual list of statutory warnings — “Playing (games) is healthy”, “Playing (games) makes one happy”, “Engaging in games is good for our lives, home, and country”, and “It is unfair for teachers to use PT period to teach math to students”.

Since it’s a children’s movie, you don’t find the typical disclaimers, including those about drinking and smoking.

Five main characters played by young boys take the narration forward. But the main thread revolves around a naughty one, who learns how to ride a bicycle, despite his father’s disapproval.

The majority of the movie is set in the villages of Komarapalayam, Kaveripatti, and Katheri.

The story takes place in the sand, greenery, and rising hills. Little misunderstandings between father and son where the father plays both hero and villain simultaneously, are relatable to everyone. Isn’t that the way it operates in the actual world?

Another segment about a cycle shop and its proprietor made me think of Sivaji Ganesan’s role in K Bhagyaraj’s Dhavani Kanavugal (1984). For obvious reasons, both of the characters were referred to as “military”. We, eventually, get to know the old man’s influence and authority over significant decisions made in the village.

The gifted cast, including Kaali Venkat, exudes lots of energy. Each character is flawed, and insecure, and fights an internal battle.

Kurangu Pedal explores not only the journeys of boys, but also the relationship between a father and son, and how they understand each other’s love.

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Kurangu Pedal is more than a children’s film

Child artistes in a still from the Tamil film Kurangu Pedal

Child artistes in a still from the Tamil film ‘Kurangu Pedal’. (Supplied)

Kurangu Pedal appears like a children’s film on the surface but you realise there is a deeper reason why people connect to the premise.

The beauty of the movie lies in its layers. It is sprinkled with several layers that are peeled one after the other through the course of its almost two-hour duration.

Kids see the world objectively, without any bias or hatred. They are selfless givers with a heart of gold.

They quarrel and fight, yet their unpleasant emotions are fleeting. There is no end to their universe’s love, compassion, and joy.

Kurangu Pedal beautifully conveys all of these, through the eyes of children, who both receive and perceive things, in their purest form.

This boy lays his hands on kesari, tomato kuzhambu, and fluffy spongy idlis. His eyes beam with excitement and he savours what is on his plate without any fuss.

Kurangu Pedal is delightful to watch because of these endearing moments. The narrative emphasises the idea that despite having little, kids were nonetheless content, say, decades ago.

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Kamalakannan’s latest outing makes us nostalgic

Kurangu Pedal relies heavily on nostalgia

‘Kurangu Pedal’ relies heavily on nostalgia. (X)

Children running wild, climbing trees, chasing butterflies, digging bugs, and playing with mud…

Director Kamalakannan tries to cash in on the “nostalgia” aspect, right in time for the ongoing summer holidays.

Kurangu Pedal is almost a perfect movie for children, and of course, that means adults will like it, too.

The film reminded me of the good old days when kids just played/acted like kids and didn’t behave like adults, like how they usually show in Tamil cinema.

As much as it is about childhood friendships and disappointments, Kurangu Pedal is about human quirks.

Films like these are refreshing to watch as they teach life’s lessons using small day-to-day incidents.

But hey, I can see why Sivakarthikeyan chose to back this tiny gem.

Many shows, stages, and interviews have revealed his gratitude for his cop father, G Doss, who had a significant influence on his upbringing.

As an actor, although Sivakarthikeyan has a “mass image”, and does commercial outings, as a producer, he tries his best and makes offbeat and good cinema.

Final take

As I walked out of the theatre, I remembered a wonderful song by Louis Armstrong.

“I hear babies cry. I watch them grow. They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know. And I think to myself ‘What a wonderful world’.” Indeed, it is!

(Views expressed here are personal.)