Monday, November 28, 2011

Mayakkam enna movie review

Depicting the multi-layers of human relationships and its ramifications comes very naturally to Selvaraghavan and when he has a National Award Winner for histrionics as brother to translate his vision onto the big canvas, what more can one ask for? The combo has proved themselves in the past and reiterates the theory in Mayakkam Enna too.

Mayakkam Enna is about a man who rediscovers himself in the journey of life and the crucial role of a woman in it. The premise remains Selva’s comfort zone and the director has played it with aplomb.

Firstly Selvaraghavan should be lauded for taking on a fairly bold subject and not bowing down to any commercial element in the form of inane comedy or such unnecessary detour. It needs immense courage and conviction and hats off Selva! And to weave a story about normal people and to tunnel into the innermost recesses of a tortured soul is a child’s play for him and he has reveled in it.

Dhanush’s biggest advantage is, the moment he appears on screen, you immediately invest your emotions with him and start caring for him (character) unmindful of its color. And in Selva’s films, it definitely goes a few notches high. The scene where he expresses his anger, irritation and edginess to his friend on being rejected by the ace photographer is just one small sample of this malleable actor’s prowess and Mayakkam Enna is sated with such performances.

Richa Gangopadhyay- Is she a debutante? Hard to believe! She is the perfect foil for Dhanush. Mayakkam Enna’s finest moments belong to the scene where Richa reveals her impotent anger at Dhanush on losing her baby. There is not a single dialogue in this powerful scene and you only have Richa’s emotive actions. It’s surely a masterpiece that would make your eyes go moist.

It is not an exaggerated statement to say that G V Prakash’s RR is exceedingly brilliant bringing out the finer feelings so beautifully and Selva has utilized GV’s music alone to convey his thoughts instead of dialogues in many sequences. After Ilayaraja’s RR, it is GV’s RR that is going to be well spoken for a long time. And of course, Oda Oda and Adida Avlai are situational and hence enjoyable.

Selva’s narration is also aided well by the lyrically inclined work of lensman Ramji and the frames are a poem by themselves.  When the protagonist is a wildlife photographer, there is always an additional advantage and Ramji delivers the best. Kola Bhaskar’s editing enhances the brilliance of the film.

Richa’s character in the first half is likely to be misunderstood as someone very frivolous but the second half has made her highly respectful and strong and her characterization is sure to find patrons in women audience.

On the downside, Mayakkam Enna is very languorously narrated with a lazy rhythm which may not go well with the mainstream audience. The characters of an attention seeking or a weak hero and a strong heroine may be viewed as Selvaraghavan’s clichés.

To sum it all, Mayakkam Enna is emotionally rich and is an inebriating experience by itself.

Desi Boys Movie Review

Desi Boyz is a very important movie for several people, Akshay Kumar hasn’t had a proper hit in a while, John Abraham's last film proved that he single handedly can’t pull in the audience to watch his movie And its the debut film for one of the greatest entertainer David Dhawan's son Rahul Dhawan. And with Ra One destroyed after the record setting first week and Rockstar's below average second week it’s indeed a very important release for Bollywood. Can Akshay Kumar and John Abraham create the same magic which they did six years ago with 'Garam Masala'?. Even in this movie they have a time of their lives enjoying with a lot of women, just that this time, the situation forces them. But they do not really complain till it threatens to take away what or who they love the most.

Desi Boyz is set in the background of the 2009 recession which starts taking its toll on the employment scenario in UK. Nick Mathur (John Abraham) is a successful investment banker who shares his house, salary and beer with his childhood friend Jerry Patel (Akshay Kumar). Jerry is the perfect bachelor- happy-go-lucky, college drop-out, under qualified for any job and most often unemployed. He sponges off his best friend to lead a life of comfort and to support his dead sister’s child Veer. However, soon their lives take a hit when Nick loses his job. The never ending expenses to sustain their love and loved ones force them to take on the less respected job of male escorts under the banner of Desi Boyz.

Will this job sustain them for long? What if their loved ones get to know of this? Well, things take a sudden turn when they are exposed and their profession threatens to take away Nick’s fiancé (Deepika Padukone) and Veer.

First time director, Rahul Dhawan does follow in his father’s footsteps. The film is a decent entertainer with humor sprinkled throughout. The first half is well paced with many developments that keep us engaged. All the scenes with the child are emotionally strong. The second half, on the other hand, has quite a few loopholes. With no money, Akshay Kumar going back to college and John spending time in wooing Deepika rather than looking for a job dilute the film. The court room scene is bizarre, especially when Sunjay Dutt hands over his visiting card to the judge. These gaps take out the punch from the film, not to mention the ending.

On the positive side, the second half brings more laughs with the short and sweet performances by Omi Vaidya and Bharati Archekar. The latter brings in nostalgia as we are reminded of Radhika in 'Wagle ki Duniya', a famous TV serial of the late 80s. Akshay and John look fit and put up a decent performance, but nothing outstanding. Deepika does well. Chitrangadha Siingh as the second female lead sizzles on screen and plays her role commendably. Anupam Kher and the kid who plays Veer, deliver their parts effortlessly.  Sanjay Dutt in his cameo appearance could have been better.

N Nataraj Subramaniam wields the camera beautifully. The introductory shots establishing the situation in London are very well taken. Technically, in terms of editing, the film is good, though the graphics were not very impressive. Art work is commendable.

Pritam scores with his already hit title track. The other songs are decent too. But sadly the choreography does not match the energy of the songs. Especially, the steps for a song like Desi Boyz could have been much livelier.

Overall, Desi Boyz is a one time watch, a decent entertainer. And with no other major releases this week, you can watch it this weekend though Rockstar would be my suggestion if you have not already seen it.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Damn 999 movie review

Disaster movies are quite a rare genre in Indian Cinema but a genre that is heavily liked by Indians with the super success of Independence day, Armageddon, Day After Tomorrow and the recent record breaking 2012 standing testimony to the fact. Dam999 is supposed to be based on a dam disaster in China but setting it in Kerala, the statement it wants to make is quite clear. Unfortunately Sohan Roy puts too many sub plots that the main plot looks rather lost in the crowd.

An impending horror and 9 different people having different problems face the same incident differently. Every single person takes one of the navarasa's to give us an array of emotions. Unfortunately the movie was supposed to be about a dam disaster and we have come in for some stereoscopic graphic fun. Finally the Dam does break but is it a bit too late?

Sohan Roy could have made a better movie on a subject which is very relevant today especially in the south. I guess he wanted to convey his take on several subjects through his movies and instead of making several movies on each he made one movie with every single subject thrown in. Be it the Navarasa angle, talking about superstitions, about Ayurveda, about astrology, about politics, about culture, about mother nature..  etc he just loves to preach. If only someone had preached him about film making we could have had a better experience. The movie didn’t need to be a 3D stereoscopic movie in the first place and you didn't need so many characters for a disaster movie. And at the end of it all not even a single character stays fresh in your memory. The swat style rescue effort will definitely evoke some laughter from the audience but its unintentional humour. After some 1 ½ hour of talking finally the dam breaks and then you are shown some badly worked on graphics which will make you feel cheated. By the way its a half English, little bit of Hindi and tamil and the movie is based on Kerala.

So many in the cast and none impresses. The only three who come close to impressing you are Ashish Vidyarthi, Rajit Kapoor and Vimala Raman, in the same order, but they too suffer from bad characterization. The rest of the cast are too theatrical or just sing out their amateurish dialogues with minimal to no emotion.

Technically the movie is decent for the budget they have used, Ajayan Vincent’s cinematography is decent – it has a too blue tinted camera work which did look cool at the start but over the passage of time it tires you.  Editing, by Suresh Pai, misses the mark thanks mainly to the haphazard screenplay. Art work by Thotta Tharani is spectacular, the sets done by him will amaze you. Ousephachan’s music is decent but none mention worthy.

Overall it’s a lost cause.  It’s a disastrous disaster movie which will find few to no takers at the boxoffice.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

vithagan movie review

Vithagan has garnered interest for quite a few reasons, one of them being Parthiban’s 50th film. Of course, the actor has not made much ado about this fact as he candidly admitted that for audience, these landmarks and statistics are immaterial and a wholesome entertainer is what they expect. Vithagan has also aroused interest because of Parthiban who is known for his intelligent and creative brainwaves which is evident from the tagline of the film in English that states ‘With the gun’ and also a novel post card appeal to viewers along with the movie ticket.

The film deals with the life of a cop and many dons and baddies who traverse his path and the events that happen when cupid strikes him. Parthiban is the Vithagan of the film having shouldered the responsibility of story, screenplay, dialogues, and direction in addition to penning the lyrics. In all these assignments, Parthiban the lyricist and the dialogue writer comes out with honors.

If it is a Parthiban film there would not be dearth of witty one-liners and clever dialogues and Vithagan also abounds in these sectors. For a film to totally engage the audience, it is imperative that every department works in sync and sadly it is not the case in Vithagan. The first half makes you sit up and take note as the content is arresting. Director Parthiban moves his film forward in an exciting manner. There are quite a few smart frames and the one just before the interval when Parthiban throws a wedge to keep his boss’s chair stationery but it lands with a gap wherein a title card ‘gap’ appears to indicate interval is just a sample. 

Parthiban’s dialogues as always are full of clever pun and wit. To a remark from Poorna who points out that he laughs, Parthiban’s retort, “Naan ippadi daan kovapaduven’ is smart. The scene at a hotel involving the old crony of villain who insists that he pays the bill is hilarious although it has no relevance to the story whatsoever.

Second half is a complete antithesis of first half which is replete with logical loopholes, ambiguous characterization, many mindless killings sans rhyme or reason and distorted screen play. The film wobbles on to a goal less destination and you wonder what the director has in mind. Parthiban is shown to be very powerful and clever but it is perplexing as to why he takes such a long time to attack the villain. Law and order has taken leave in Vithagan where everybody roams with powerful firearms as toys and no questions asked.

Parthiban is shown as an honest and clever cop who basically covers his tracks intelligently in the 1st half and in just one single shot, he does a total volte face and is shown to be making a very foolish mistake. From then on the viewer is left in confusion about his character as his ideologies are thrown to wind. Milind Soman who features in 2nd half looks as dashing as ever but there is nothing special in him to validate his presence as anybody could have done his role. Poorna looks ravishing and her costumes (Nalini Sriram) are trendy and chic. Romance does not seem to go well with Parthiban as much as action, comedy or taunt does.

Under Joshua Sridhar’s music, some songs are hummable and the picturization in a few numbers is praiseworthy. White women dancing in black saris in the melodious ‘kkudhe’ number is an interesting conceptualization. In the ‘thanana thanthanana number, the flowers in the love struck Poorna’s sari turning into actual flowers shows the aesthetic taste of the director.      

Toting up, Vithagan is like an inclined see-saw with the first half on top and second half in the ground.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thambhi vettothi sundaram movie review

Thambi Vettothi Sundaram, a story that has been publicized as one that reflects the true picture of the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border made it to theatres on that fancy date 11-11-11. It has been a while since we saw Karan on screen, same holds true for Saravanan who is sparsely seen after his Paruthiveeran heroics. Not surprisingly, the most popular face in contemporary months in this film is Anjali; just goes to show the kind of performances she has turned in over her past few films.

Thambi Vettothi Sundaram is set in Kaliyakkavila, a town set on the state border. This place has a very unique distinction; almost everyone here is educated and quite peculiarly, almost every second person is involved in some kind of illegal business ranging from smuggling to the brewing of illegal liquor and other such activities. This place is certainly an antithesis for all those who believe that education is the one solution to all social evils. Here, people seem to be corrupt in spite of education. Sundaram (Karan) is one from the town, well educated, but not yet initiated into any subversive acts. He has no idea to drift off onto the wrong side of the law, but the place and people are such that he finds it near impossible to follow a straightforward means of livelihood. He is confused, vexed, angry and then finds someone (Saravanan) who seems to understand his troubles; they form a jolly good duo. So, who is Saravanan, what does the duo end up doing, do they cleanse society, do they join the fray, do they make enemies? And, in the midst of this, there is a love story as an admiring Anjali falls for Karan; not without good reason!

The debutante Vadivudaiyan has done a fair job in sketching characters and writing a script that is packed to the brim with characters, events and twists all interconnected in multiple ways. But, he stretches his yarn too hard and too long. It does not snap, yes, but it is strained to the hilt and you feel it while watching the film. It is serious and grim right from the start, perhaps necessitated by the story, but in a movie that runs for over 150 minutes, the mood weighs down the audience considerably. He has put in place a graph that does not remain without a spike in it for too long, but some of them feel artificially inserted. The final portions become especially wearisome as people from all sides are baying for each other’s blood. And, your sympathies are undecided because almost everyone in this town has a shady dealing or two. Instead of finishing things with a gripping and short climax, the director has opted for some strong medicine and stretched it to a culmination that looks a bit more dramatic than is called for. In the end, what the director wants to convey is clear. It is the society (that is each one of us) that is responsible one way or the other for breeding criminals, mostly out of promising young people. And, the age old wisdom of ‘crime never pays’, if it does, it is only short term! Good things to say, but they could have been said without making the audience feel stretched weary. It is interesting to note that the team has decided to do away completely with any traces of comedy that so often form integral parts of Karan starrers; a brave move which would have been lauded much more if the product delivered was of a higher standard.

There is not much in the characters to challenge the actors. Karan goes through his role with the experience of a seasoned performer. For most parts, he has to look angry, disappointed and disillusioned in turns, except in the romantic scenes; he does them well. Saravanan is asked to do what comes to him best and he delivers that without any problems, but he could do with something that challenges him more. Anjali has quite a bit of footage considering that it is a crime, punishment and revenge driven story. She looks good and emotes well as we have known her to. Her presence in the ‘Kolaikaara’ song is really wonderful. In fact, the song is one of the highlights of the film with all departments, art, camera, music, choreography and the actors making it a very good experience. The other actors in the movie have little else to do but appear angry and vengeful.

The dialogues and the dialect could have been taken care of in a much better way. After having been publicised as a Tamil Nadu-Kerala border story, one does expect a Malayalam-Tamil hybrid to come through in the dialogues; that does not happen. The Malayalam slang is limited to one or two words which often open sentences, afterwards, it is all normal Tamil which you would hear anywhere in the state. It is like using the phrase ‘yelle’ in every sentence to masquerade normal Tamil as the Tirunelveli dialect.

Technically, Thambi Vettothi Sundaram passes muster. The camerawork is adequate while Vidyasagar’s music makes an impression.

Overall, Thambi Vettothi Sundaram is a film that is loyal to its story; there are absolutely no diversions. But, is that enough for a good viewing experience? The grim and serious nature gets to you after a while and the happenings one after the other seem to lose sheen and credibility as we go deeper into the film. Thambi Vettothi Sundaram could have been much better, only if it had been packaged a bit more cleverly.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Naan sivanagiren movie review

There seems to be quite a fancy going around with the date 11.11.11. And, that too with it being a Friday, quite a few movies tried to make this dramatic release date a publicity tool. Was Naan Sivanagiren also trying to do the same? We cannot be sure. The makers have tried to produce a suspense thriller with a message! After watching this movie, one has to say that trying to convey a ‘message’ at the end of a movie has become a sort of a cliché in recent times. Even films that offer nothing substantial in terms of content try to squeeze something at the end that passes off as a message; as if that would absolve them of making a sorry movie to start with.
Naan Sivanagiren deals with the skewed mindset of a youngster who became so because of many distasteful experiences in his childhood. The movie starts off with showing many random murders all over Chennai city. They all seem to bear a resemblance, but the police are nowhere close to finding the killer. And, a new ACP is deputed to handle the sensational serial murders in town. Who is behind these murders, what is the motive and was the culprit nabbed?
The concept of one wronged person taking it upon himself to punish all others who are committing sins is something that is often seen in Tamil cinema. It is a case where you can no longer avenge on your own and therefore select similar cases and intervene in them, thus seeking a personal and sadistic satisfaction. Here, the modus and the motive are the ones that should hold the audiences’ attention. But, sadly the director has not been able to establish an intelligent modus, nor does the lengthy flashback, giving us the reason for such disturbed behaviour, earn the person any sympathy. What drags the movie further down is the arrival of the heroine who takes pity on the protagonist far too soon for the audience to digest. Their relationship is not sketched well. Finally, if the police investigation following the killer had been shown in an interesting manner, things could have been better. But, it all falls flat as the police is not required to investigate anything; everything seems to be handed to it on a platter; even the killer’s identity. These are too serendipitous to accept.
Finally, we can undeniably see shades of some super hit thrillers of the past which includes Sigappu Rojakkal. If you look closely, you will also be able to notice similarities with many other films.
Everything about the film is on a mediocre level. The story and screenplay are complete let downs. The camera work is highly inconsistent and the music is just passable. It is one of those movies which make you restless right from the start to finish.
The only bright spot you can take away from this movie is the performance of Uday Karthik, the lead protagonist. He shows the ability to adapt to the character. The heroine Varsha and Adithya as the ACP are disappointments.
And, finally the movie tries to finish by delivering a message on work life balance. It must be said here that movies must earn the right to spread messages through their overall quality.
Naan Sivanagiren is a movie that is mediocre throughout. You can evidently see attempts at recreating the magic of some of yesteryear’s thrillers. But, this is not even a patch on any of them.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Rockstar movie review

Now that SRK's latest has fizzled out, the stage is set for RK to come and flaunt his box office power. Ranbir Kapoor has a healthy success rate and he does boast of a good opening weekend pull for his movies. Added to RK's star status, director, Imtiaz Ali also has followers after giving hits like Jab we met and Love Aaj Kal. So the stage is set for this Rockstar to impress, only to add in Rahman and we expect nothing short of magic. And the director has fulfilled it, well – partly!
The movie is about Janardhan (Ranbir) a wannabe musician who just doesn’t know how to crack into the music field. Something is missing and he finally figures out that all great artists have one thing in common – pain. And he decides that if he had a heart break he can achieve greatness. He proposes to the most popular girl in college expecting her to turndown the offer and he can become big but things don't go as planned. He does become a famous Rockstar when he is in love but is just not ready to let go. What happens next is for everyone to experience and enjoy and mere words cannot do justice to the magic Imitiaz has in store for the audience.
The movie is an experience one should not miss but at the same time this is not a movie for everyone. It will test your patience and some people might feel lost with the complicated non-linear way of storytelling. But if you can get through the pace 'Rockstar' is surely a treat to watch. Imitiaz Ali's first movie was about the protagonist running away from responsibilities, the second is running away for love, the third being running away from love only to talk about the protagonist running toward his dream in his fourth venture. He keeps on impressing you and this movie seems quite away form his comfort zone and yet he has come out with a spectacular display of his talents as a master storyteller. The scenes in the dargha, just after Nargis says no to Ranbir when he first proposes and the scene in which Jordan (Janardhan changes his name to Jordan) sings with several prostitutes 'Duniya ne humko diya kya' and the scene after that proves again and again that we are seeing a master at work.
But Rockstar would not have been this impactful if not for Ranbir, he has proved his mettle in Wake up Sid, Rocket Singh but he encompasses to greater height in this movie. Future of Hindi cinema is indeed in good hands. Nargis Fakhri looks fresh and impresses at the start but once the story starts demanding emotions she is just not able to cope. Unfortunately the whole movie also depends on how Nargis carries off her role and that is one of the biggest drawbacks for Rockstar. But she does share scintillating chemistry with Ranbir. It was emotional to see Shammi Kapoor the last time on the big screen and it was also heartening to hear in a Chennai theatre several claps alongside mine when he first came on screen. A legend of the highest order. Aditi Rao Hydari suffers due to an undeveloped characterization but still impresses in the few scenes she gets. Kumud Mishra is splendid. Piyush Mishra just blows you away, as always, a rare gem indeed. Shernaz Patel enacts her part with conviction. The rest of the cast too has handled their role with complete understanding.
Technically the movie is superior, with spectacular cinematography by Anil Mehta – his work in the Dargha alone can stand testimony of his expertise. Editing by Aarti Bajaj, is haphazard mainly due to the complex screenplay but overall its a neat job. The movie could have done away with at least 15 minutes but that’s just me. Art direction is exceptional as well. But one man just out shines the rest and takes all the credit and its none other than Rahman who has provided with one of his best album. This can very well be in his top ten lists which is no mean achievement. 'Naadan Parindey' and 'Jo bhi Mein' will keep on echoing in your mind long after the show is over. It’s Magic! Pure Magic!!

Imitiaz Ali does try to make that lasting impact movie (eg. Ek Dhuuje Ke liye' or 'Tere Bin') but Nargis just spoils the fun. But people who love music will love this extraordinary journey of a musician, and even if you don’t you will fall for Ranbir or Rahman or both.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Miley na miley hum movie review

Bollywood seems to be running out of stories. We’ve seen it before and we see it again in Miley Na Miley Hum.

The film revolves around Chirag (Chirag Paswan) the only son of Siddharth (Kabir Bedi) and Shalini (Poonam Dhillon). His parents separated when he was a child due to their individual passions, tennis and business. So naturally, he grows up wanting to unite them. Meanwhile, his parents have found the girl of their choice for Chirag- the typically modern Kamiah (Sagarika Ghatge) and the equally typical Punjaban Manjeet (Neeru Bajwa), his father’s best friend’s daughter. To escape from the situation, Chirag pretends to be in love with Super Model Anishka (Kangna Ranaut) who is unaware of Chirag’s existence. Yet, Chirag manages to strike a deal with her to make her pose as his girlfriend. And the rest is pretty obvious.

Chirag Paswan is a decent find. His performance is passable considering that this is his first time on-screen. However, he has a long way to go. Kangna continues to be an average actor. She fails to impress. Kabir Bedi and Poonam Dhillon deliver their roles well. The others in the film are passable.

The film does not stand strong in the acting department, nor in the story. Tanveer Khan has tried certain novelties in terms of the treatment that bring moments of relief in an otherwise predictable story. The characterization could have been better defined to keep the audience engaged. The film is well paced and the writer- director avoids the usual teary-eyed melodrama that is considered an integral part of such films. However, he does fail to make the romance between Chirag and Kangna click.

Technically, cinematography by Baba Azmi is beautiful, especially the vineyards that Siddharth (Kabir Bedi) owns. Sajid- Wajid’s tracks make for a good listen but they don’t stand out.

Overall, the film is an attempt at romance and thriller, but lacks the energy to keep the audience watching.

Monday, November 14, 2011

velayudham movie review

Vijay is back to what he does best; mass entertainers, and what better time to unveil a mass entertainer than Diwali. With the music already a rage, the excitement was palpable as fans headed in droves to theatres on the festival of lights.

Velayudham is seen in many ways as a comeback to triumphant ways for Vijay. Yes, Kaavalan was a respite, but it is Velayudham that will more or less decide whether the tried and tested formula that have been followed for Vijay starrers for almost a decade can still hold the audience.

Lets make things clear first, Velayudham holds no surprises in the premise or the central conflict. It is not only something that is seen in a large percentage of commercial entertainers, it is also along lines that are very similar to quite a few earlier Vijay films. But, Vijay films have always been about his presence making things much more exciting than they appear to be in the script.

Velayudham deals with ‘one man saving the society from evil forces’ premise. Yes, we have seen it many times before. Here, the story is about how and why the man rises, how Velu becomes Velayudham. Once he has risen there is no looking back as he hunts down one bad man after the other, but that also earns him enemies who are nothing short of bloodsucking vampires. How does that affect his personal life and how he puts an end to what he began?

As you might guess, the seat of action is Chennai, cinema’s chosen city to portray all corrupt people in Tamil Nadu and the messiah is one who arrives from the village knowing nothing about the notoriety of the big bad city. Of course, he soon finds out and decides that it is better to react than be subdued. And, there is a generous dose of brother-sister sentiment thrown in.

Déjà vu anyone! Well, don’t mind that because Raja has woven a script that makes you forget all this and concentrate only on the screen. The first half is really a joyride, especially for Vijay fans as he is introduced as the fun loving, mischievous young man who will  go to any lengths to make his sister (Saranya Mohan) happy. Vijay is an absolute livewire, be it in the electric dance sequences or the enjoyable comic exchanges, first involving Parotta Suri and M.S.Bhaskar and later with the extremely effective Santhanam. Of course, the director has not failed to keep pushing the central plot ahead steadily to leave the interval intriguingly poised. The second half arrives with more of action than anything else. Yes, there is place for a bit of romance and also some cleverly placed comedy sequences late into the half, but on the whole action does dominate. Again, as we have seen repeatedly with commercial films, it is the overdose of the action element, especially projecting the hero as an unassailable superhuman that makes viewing a bit difficult. Velayudham too falls prey to the same errors, though not to the irrecoverable extent that many other movies have fallen. Raja intersperses high octane action with a couple of well placed songs (Molachu Moonu and Rathathin Ratham) and a very sentimental pre-climax portion to keep the audience from feeling action weary. But, the dominant feeling as the end credits start to roll is that a racy and intelligent climax (not that the one now is non-inttelligent) instead of the hero’s mass appeal and a preachy message would have made the movie much better.

Raja has done a fine job of mixing all the elements that go towards making a mass hero film, though he has lost the balance a bit in the last hour. His adeptness at placing comedy, romance, sentiment and the mandatory 5 songs into a script that has an alter-ego(istic) superhero should be commended. Nothing looks out of place, as we enjoy Santhanam’s wisecracks, Vijay’s dances and the brother-sister sequences. It is a while since we have seen Vijay excel in an emotionally heavy scene, Raja gets it out of the actor, in Velayudham. Also, placing 5 songs in a movie with none of them sticking out like a sore thumb is quite an achievement; though we should say that Vijay’s presence is a major factor in ensuring this.

Everyone in front of the camera has done a fine job. Vijay is sprightly, energetic and every bit the way we love to see him. He has experimented a bit with his look in the songs and they have come out well. Hansika is there in many scenes, but for most parts is a silent spectator, being called upon once in a while, mostly for glamour. She does not look out of place as a village girl, but the makers’ claim that she would remind  us of Khushboo is an overstatement. Genelia gets quite a significant part and looks convincing. A laugh is guaranteed every time Santhanam is on screen. Saranya Mohan too deserves a round of applause for being good enough to make the audience feel the depth of the siblings’ bond.

During most of the talkie portions, the camera strictly adheres to the requirements. Some well shot scenes within a train are worth mentioning. But, it is in the songs that the lens turns on the magic. At least a couple of them are visual treats. The capture of landscape for Molachu Moonu is delectable. Action too has been designed well. Though the movie is of the superhero type, the fights have not been taken to those levels; keeping them down to plausible levels (by commercial cinema standards). Dialogues too deliver the occasional punch and there is one particular reference to the rather benign ways of India.

Velayudham is a regular commercial entertainer which shows one man rising for the masses to right the wrongs in society. Yes, we have seen this kind of movie many times. But, a deftly written script keeps us engaged on screen for most parts until Raja gives into the temptations of adding extra mass appeal to a film that is already built around it. There are many scenes that instantly remind us of films seen earlier, but Viijay’s presence makes up for these glitches. There are also a few instances where the dialogues have political overtones (or are we imagining things, given the nature of the season). If the director had steered clear of these elements and concentrated on building a solid last hour which did not rely too heavily on the leading man’s charisma to carry it off, Velayudham would have been an even better end product.