As a movie buff, I had my doubts on how the director duo Pushkar-Gayathri would balance the star power of two stars – Vijay Sethupathi and Madhavan in an equal manner. I got that cleared way earlier than I expected when the Statutory Warnings were played. The English lines were read out by Maddy while the Tamil ones were by Sethupathi. That was the first of many moments that blew me away as I sunk into my seat with a tub of popcorn.
Going with the title, the film is indeed a modern take on the famous Vikram-Vedhalam stories. The director duo subtly puts this across in a couple of instances. There’s one scene where Maddy is taking Sethupathi to put an end to his menace in a jeep when the latter, from the back seat, leans on Maddy as if he’s on him from the back. In an another following scene, during a face off, Sethupathi literally gets on Maddy’s back in order to choke him down. Not to mention the umpteen questions (or say riddles) that are asked by Vedha to Vikram. Vedhalam on Vikram’s back references any one?
The film is gritty and raw but also has its share of love, emotions, and bonding. There’s a surprisingly sweet siblings relationship, an unconventional love story that features Kathir and Varu, a modern take on relationships by Maddy and Shraddha and of course, Sethupathi’s ‘love’ for what he does. “The profession didn’t choose me, it was I who chose it,” he says. The characterizations are strong and it’s something the script demands as it’s not the usual good-versus-bad storyline. Attention to details dictates the film and how they all tie up as the film progresses shows the marks of a class film-maker (makers – in this case). “The devil is in the details,” says Maddy and that’s what puts the pedal to the metal during the climax that comes in as a shocker with twists. That said, twists aren’t what this film bank on to be a sure shot success.
The makers also get away convincingly with things that are shown in the as-a-matter-of-fact fashion. Be it the Vikram and his girl falling for each other over their mutual love for whiskey on the rocks, a relationship where the guy is younger, use of substances and pre-marital sex. Moreover, they respect the maturity of the audience and don’t spoon-feed the facts after the knots are unraveled. And I don’t remember the last time there were ‘chapters’ in Tamil cinema and ironically, the names of these chapters are also film titles (guilty pleasures in finding them).
Getting to the technical aspects, the colours and shots definitely need a word of mention. The drone shots of the city are a pleasure to our vision too. The music is one of the biggest majors of this flick. CS Sam’s score is phenomenal and the tracks ‘Yaanji’ and ‘Tassakku’ are my favourites. The BGM too carries a cool factor and the laid-back feel of the film means that the music doesn’t try to make it feel like an edge-of-the-seat kinda thriller.
Be it the life of a gangster or a cop, the scenes look realistic and believable. The trauma of encounter specialists and softer side of an otherwise dreaded gangster is shown in this cleverly written film. Overall, Vikram Vedha is an intelligent film with the right pick of cast and crew who’ve strived enough to makes it one of this year’s best, if not the best!
My rating: 4/5