Film Review Tamil

Venghai

I was desperately trying to count the number of ‘aruvals’ (sickles), that all the good guys and bad guys are brandishing in the film, but after a point I simply gave up. So, if you are up to one semi urban/rural garma garam racy pacy chaat masala, action thriller chase aruval commercial film, which will numb you to such an extent, that you will even find it difficult to get up or even realize that the film is over, well this is the film for you. Lie back, enjoy and look at the hard work, the director and his team has put in to make the right impact every time one aruval goes ‘woosh’. Just listen to the sound effects track, listen to the background score, see all the plot points, so that you stay dumb and don’t get up and leave in the middle and most importantly look at the hard work the cameraman and his team has done, in providing so many variations and angles to every situation. It must have been a feast for the editor VT Vijayan, to put these permutations and combinations together. It doesn’t matter, if the style is dated, values are old world, and even if the entire film looks like a trailer of rural action movie, done some 20 years back. The coup is that the director has cleverly shifted the by now established Tamil film identity of sickle wielding men of Madurai district clans to sickle wielding men of Sivagangai district clans. It may have nothing to do with Madurai belonging to the political mafia of DMK party and Sivagangai belonging to the political mafia of Tamil Nadu Congress (well, at least around the last elections held few months back).

In between all these aruvals swooshing, Hari has managed to weave in an interesting father-son relationship between Dhanush and Raj Kiran. Both are excellent actors and this is the strength of the film. Raj Kiran, in fact, specializes in these kind of roles and in this film he is ably assisted by Urvashi playing his wife. Not only that, the director has also woven in a neat love story blooming between Dhanush and Tamannaah. Of course, when the villain, Prakash Raj, the corrupt politician is out to destroy his sworn enemy, Raj Kiran, naturally, Dhanush as his son has to take up the aruval.

So we have Veera Pandi (Raj Kiran), an influential man from a village in Sivaganga district. He has earned a name by doing good things for his village people. At the same time, he is ruthless when punishing wrong doers. Rajalingam (Prakash Raj) is a local politician, who has come up in life using Veera Pandi’s good will and support. But he becomes a corrupt politician, cheating the public. This angers Veera Pandi who opposes him and Rajalingam becomes determined now to eliminate Veera Pandi. This creates a climate of violence. Selvam (Dhanush) is the loving son of Veera Pandi, who wants to support his father in such difficult times. But Veera Pandi does not want to put his son at physical risk in the potent violence of village matters. He sends Selvam off to work with a relative in Trichi. But Rajalingam decides to eliminate Selvam in Trichi to weaken Veera Pandi. Selvam falls in love with Radhika (Tamannaah), who happens to be his school friend. Rajalingam’s goons and Selvam clash in Radhika’s college. Selvam who loves his father deeply, eventually becomes his father’s chief defender, in his fight/war with Rajalingam.

For Dhanush, this film comes immediately after his National Award announcement for Best Actor in Aadukalam. He is a great versatile actor and having chosen to do a film like this, he has really given his best. His action sequences, his relation with his father, which is the fulcrum of the film, his love story – all the tracks work well enough.

The director seems to suggest that in the rural set up, the ‘war’ between Veera Pandi, his son and his villagers and one side and Rajalingam and his goons on the other side happens completely outside the parameters of the State and police. It reminded me of the reports of the last days of the Eelam war. The film also reminded me of Nayakan in some scenes of Raj Kiran and also of The Godfather. But overall, Venghai lacks finesse, cinematic intellect, grace and maturity in handling violence and conflicts of interest. It’s simply too formulaic and yes, too bland.

Still, after watching the film, I became very curious about the director of the film. Director Hari, who hails from Katchanavilai near Nazerath in Tuticorin District, Tamil Nadu. He has struggled in the industry, initially working as assistant director, to many well known directors, literally climbing up the ladder slowly and he has managed to direct almost 10 films within the span of last 10 years, all in the same action masala genre. He has by now specialized in a certain brand of action films and even believes that this is the staple diet for ‘common man’ largely catering to B and C centers and to B, C, A and A+ categories in metro cites. No doubt, he is hard working, has a flair for doing such action films which have proved to be successful, heroes are lining up to him to bolster their images (Suriya is all set to do his fourth film film with him following Aaru, Vel and Singam) and widen their mass appeal. So we are destined to see many more such works from him, which are completely conservative, manipulative of the audience, maintaining various stereotypical status quos using hard hitting violence and other commercial items.

Score35%

Tamil, Action, Drama, Color

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