Sachein is a good change of pace for Vijay( and viewers), from his recent line of action- and violence-packed masala films like Thiruppaachi, Madurey and Gilli. Since the actor has reiterated his belief, in numerous interviews, that only masala films will be successful in the current atmosphere, his selection of a 'soft' movie(atleast in story if not in execution) itself is a welcome step. But still, it is quite obvious that the director has struggled to tailor it to Vijay's current image.
Having decided on acting in a romantic movie, Vijay has naturally selected a story similar to the story in Kushi, his last big hit in the romantic genre. Vijay selecting Kushi as the scale for this movie is understandable considering its success but at several places, Sachein seems like an exact replica of Kushi. From its core problem of ego separating two lovers to the presence of the 'other woman' who stokes jealousy in the girl's mind, Sachein follows the exact same storyline.
Since its a love story, a large part of Sachein's success depends on its lead characters and the director has been successful in their characterization. Sachein, with his easy-going nature, is a loveable guy and it is easy to accept Genelia's feelings for him. His playfulness and frank nature make us smile more than a few times and he has some good observations, which manage to not sound preachy like Vijay's comments in some previous films, on love. Genelia's Shalini is also a three-dimensional character rather than a cardboard cutout. Her anger at Vijay pooh-poohing her looks and her ego are all believable and make the character quite human.
Naturally, the movie is most engaging when focussing on its two leads. Their initial fights as Vijay irritates Genelia are fun and enjoyable and its nice seeing Genelia's attitude towards Vijay undergo a gradual change. There are also a couple of nice touches like Genelia not believing Vijay's story about her father's accident and a similar scenario being repeated later with the roles reversed. The point where Vijay reveals his love to Genelia is a surprise and the way it is handled is also nice.
Director John doesn't seem to have concerned himself with anything other than the characters and their issues. Even the main characters float around with no information on any aspect of their life other than what we see onscreen. Though they are college students, there is not a single scene of Vijay or Genelia attending a class and we never see Vijay's place of residence. Bipasha appears suddenly, rolls around with Vijay, appears to be trying to seduce him and then exits with a lame-ass excuse.
The songs and the fights are clearly designed to ensure that Vijay's fan's don't walk out. Barring one song, the rest are of the duppanguthu variety and don't gel in what is essentially a soft romance. The fights too are inserted awkwardly (but admittedly, they, especially the second fight, have been choreographed and picturized well). There are quite a few movie in-jokes about Kushi, Mouna Raagam, etc. Depressingly, there are also several double entendre dialogs (many of which have been censored) spoken by everybody, including Vijay (tellingly, the film earns a UA certificate even after the silenced lines).
Vijay himself seems to have enjoyed the break from kambus and aruvaals. He looks young enough to pass as a college student(something you couldn't say about Ajith in Ji) and is quite charming. But there are a few times when I felt his expressions and mannerisms go a little too far. Genelia is pretty and has an expressive face too. She just needs to cut down on her "Shut up"s. Vadivelu is inserted into the movie using the cliched excuse of an eternally-failing college student. Though he has definitely grown on me with some recent performances in movies like Giri and Chandramukhi, his track here is rarely funny. Songs are all catchy even if not memorable.