Dec 25, 2009

Vettaikaran

Just like the protagonist of the movie District-9 realizes to his horror that he is slowly transforming into an alien, I have been discovering my tolerance bordering on penchant for Vijay’s movies. I really wanted to see Vettaikaran at Sathyam because I have never seen a Vijay movie in theater (just one of the several justifications I had to give to people to have them accompany me to the movie).

I heard of several bad reviews about the movie, mostly hearsay. So I had rock-bottom expectations when I went for the movie but I actually ended up liking the movie. I am not sure if going with a low expectation helped or maybe it was because that idiot Prabudeva was not the Director again.

Ravi (Vijay) is struggling to pass Plus-Two examinations while he aspires to become an IPS officer on the footsteps of the famous encounter specialist Devaraj. The movie opens with a scene on a Chennai suburban train (any movie that starts off with a scene on the Chennai trains have to be good, no?) when Devaraj shoots a thug named Sura-Baskar. This sets off a series of events which are revealed later.

Ravi hails from Thoothukudi and finally passes +2 exams after 4 attempts. He then leaves for Chennai to pursue his education in the same college in which Devaraj studied. He wants to model every aspect of his life after Devaraj and was looking to drive an auto for living. The first day of his college makes him an instant good friend of Uma whose father (played by Maanicka Vinayagam) rents out vehicles. Ravi gets an auto from him out of which he makes his living and pays for his education. Chella is a local goon and is the son of Vedhanayagam, played by Salim Ghouse (Sakkara Gounder of Chinna Gounder fame). Chella sets his eyes on Uma, while indulging in his spree of coercing women who catch his attention to come to him. This forces Uma’s father to flee from the city along with his daughter. On hearing this, an infuriated Ravi, goes to Chella’s place and thrashes Chella and his men in the first fight of the movie. Incidentally, this comes only after an hour and a half of the movie has elapsed!

The movie picks up pace after that. Ravi has to face-off with Vedhanayagam which forms the rest of the movie. It is revealed that Vedhanayagam had killed Devaraj’s wife and son and also blinded him rendering him harmless. Ravi gets the help of Devaraj and some of his friends from his town join hands and he creates a mini-empire for himself which usurps Vedhanayagam’s power regime. An emasculated Vedhanayagan tries to regain control leading to the climax in which Ravi has Vedhanayagam killed, not by his own hands but by that of Devaraj and has the blame subtly forced on to one of Vedhanayagam’s henchmen. The movie closes with Ravi telling Devaraj that he has realized that he does not need to become an IPS officer to do what he always wanted to do because everybody has a bit of policeman inside them and they only have to make sure that inner self is allowed to function. Salim's acting is a relief from the stereotypical villainy of Prakash Raj in recent Vijay movies. The absence of Nayanthara and Trisha (and Vadivelu) also raises the bar.

As far as Direction goes, this is by far the best Vijay movie in recent times (which includes trash like Kuruvi, Pokkiri, Villu etc.). Notably, there is neither an formulaic intro song nor an intro fight. The inherent idiosyncracies, the drawling dialogues rendered by Vijay (that was most likely introduced to him by Prabudeva), the notorious ‘ennungna?’ are all absent in this movie.The fact that Vijay breaks down and cries when his close friend is tortured to death when the easier alternative would have been to give a close-up of is reddening eyes and sparks emanating from his footsteps are some of the deft handling by the Director that makes this movie different and tolerable. One could draw parallels to previous movies such as Baasha, Bheema to name a few but it is ok. In order to fully justify the movie experience I have to state that this movie is far better than Kandaswamy & Aadhavan. The only similarity with the other two movie stops with Vettaikaran stretching to slightly longer than 3hours. This could have been avoided by trimming a few dragging scenes towards the climax.

The soundtracks are decent in the movie. The song ‘Naan Adicha’ is not a great number but the visuals and the context justifies the song. ‘Puli Urumudhu’ is a typical hero-worshipping song sans any frills because everybody would already have a clear imagination of how the song would look. The BGMs were also good, especially the music bit from the song ‘Karigalan’ which is used often as a romantic interlude and the hero’s run-ins with his lady love (played by Anushka Shetty). Nothing much to be said about Anushka’s role except that her ‘nothing is impossible’ dressing beliefs in Telugu movies are left unexplored by the Director & Costume Designer until the final duet song ‘En Uchimandai’. Sound editing was below average as well. The DTS mixing has been grossly underutilized by the editor who has decided that increasing the volume up a few notches would be a good substitute for using the different audio channels. This results in a really noisy climax where one loses count of the number of gunshots and glasses breaking.

The editing was below average, expected for a movie like this, but that does not mean two ‘dreamy’ duet songs have to be immediately followed by scene in which villains with mutilated faces open their eyes in hospital (ably aided by a close-up shot and a crashing metallic BGM). Some comedy scenes were totally artificial (such as supposedly humorous scene with Delhi Ganesh, who plays Ravi’s father) and some blended well with the movie. Fortunately, there was no distracting separate comedy track that includes a Vadivelu or Vivek who end up taking up half hour of the screen time for themselves.

Overall, if you do not expect much other than average entertainment this is a movie worth seeing. And for Vijay, whose career badly needed a jumpstart after the recent failures, this would be a good break.

P.S.: Now that a movie with low expectations has fared better, I am trying to see Avatar that is being over-hyped in all channels. Since I am prejudiced already against the movie, let me see how it fares.

6 comments:

Deepak G December 26, 2009 at 12:31:00 AM EST  

me going today...letz c how much i like it

I December 26, 2009 at 10:55:00 AM EST  

Watching Vijay movies inculcates tolerance towards life.

Sreekrishnan December 28, 2009 at 3:17:00 AM EST  

i was going to write the same comment as above... the fact that you had the patience to write the lengthy post even after watching the movie ...

Deepak G December 29, 2009 at 9:19:00 AM EST  

hmmm i think u got a bit biased cos tat fellow was also a auto driver in the movie :)

Mambalam Mani December 30, 2009 at 11:49:00 AM EST  

Vidungapa. Sun TV la 24 hours trailer pottu, pottu saavadichu apdi enadhaan iruku poi paakalaamnu paathen. Thookathula kooda Vijay vandhu "Unakelaam nimmadhiyaana thookam kedayaadhu. vera, vera, vera..." nu ore nightmare! :D

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