Thursday, December 14, 2006

Veyyil


After Kaadhal and Imsai Arasan 23aam Pulikesi, Shankar’s S Films has deservedly earned a reputation for delivering quality films that come as breaths of fresh air in the Tamil cinema market. Naturally, its next production Veyyil comes with high expectations. While the film is neither as gripping as Kaadhal nor as path-breaking as Imsai Arasan, it keeps S Films’ reputation intact by being a realistic, emotional film about two brothers whose lives traverse radically different paths.

When Murugesan, an avid MGR fan, gets caught bunking school and going to the movies, his father punishes him severely. He runs away and though his intended destination is Chennai, he ends up working as a projectionist in another village. A grown-up Murugesan(Pasupathy) falls in love with Thangam(Priyanka), the daughter of a hotel owner, and all is well. Meanwhile, his brother Kadhir(Bharath), who has started an advertising agency, is leading a happy life, landing accounts of growing importance and establishing a love-hate relationship with Meenakshi(Bhavana). But Murugesan’s life suddenly takes a turn for the worse and he decides to return to his family.

The film’s barebones story actually has a lot of similarities with Vijay’s Sivakasi (the first shot when Pasupathy returns to Virudhunagar is filmed in exactly the same way!), which goes to show how much a director’s vision and handling decides the quality of the end product. With the same theme of a runaway son returning home to his family, director Vasanthabalan fashions a character-driven film about the son’s desire to fit in and the family’s problems in accepting him.

Like Autograph and Azhagi, Veyyil follows starts off portraying a fun-filled rural life. With the wonderfully picturized Veyyilodu Vilaiyaadi…, it shows the children’s life filled with fun, films and first loves and is sure to make one nostalgic thinking of those years (the song sequence and its lead-in, a pambaram game, show that the director has a nice sense of style. Unfortunately, the growing emphasis on emotions restricts the opportunities for more such stylistic touches in the rest of the film). Films play a major part in Pasupathy’s life once he runs away. The theater is his world and the projection room, his house. His romance with Priyanka has a number of interesting vignettes revolving around films (like her appearance covered in film rolls after he disrobes her). And its nice the way Vasanthabalan uses movies and their stars to indicate the passage of time.

My biggest problem with the segment where Pasupathy grows up is that it is redundant when you look at the big picture (pun intended!). It stands completely alone with none of the happenings there, affecting him after his homecoming. He learns nothing that helps him later and none of the characters reappear in his life. It works fine as an independent segment but in a film, we expect, if not every scene, atleast a segment as big as this to have an impact on the movie as a whole. And that doesn’t happen here.

Emotions take centrestage once Pasupathy returns home. What makes the proceedings interesting is the fact that each person in the family reacts to him differently. Their reactions are guided by how they felt when Pasupathy ran away. Bharath’s affection is a result of his guilt (as revealed by the number of times he tries to tell Pasupathy that he was not the one who told on him), their father’s anger is a result of the troubles he went through as a result of Pasupathy running away and their sisters’ indifference is natural considering they never knew Pasupathy. And the result of their reactions is not always expected. For instance, it is ironic that it is Bharath’s genuine affection that stifles Pasupathy (like in his new job) while his father’s anger and sisters’ indifference probably keeps him going since they give him something (like earning their love) to work towards.

Since the movie is a flashback and we’ve been following the growing enmity between Bharath and his competitor, the story becomes quite predictable towards the end. But the way some of the scenes have been picturized(like some of Pasupathy’s wishes coming true but not in the way he would have wanted) make them surprisingly emotional.

Pasupathy proves once again that he a reliable character actor. His face isn’t too suited for romance and some of his expressions with Priyanka seem a little comical. But he is perfect as he yearns for love and affection from his family. He is able to look realistic even in some of the overly sentimental scenes. Bharath is full of energy and makes us laugh with his short temper while Bhavana looks cute and fits the timid role perfectly. Their romance offers the only light moments in the emotional second half. Shreya Reddy earns our sympathy with the way her life has turned out(especially since the girl who plays her in her younger days has a very alluring face and smile) though her character reminds us of the role Nandita Das played in Azhagi.

Kaadhal Neruppin… is superbly picturized. Vasanthabalan proves that a song sequence can be visually arresting without resorting to foreign locales, expensive sets or a large number of group dancers. The narrow streets of Virudhunagar, with some everyday characters providing the backdrop, proves to be a great setting for the song. Uruguthe Maruguthe… also impresses with some romantic, unhurried picturization. Ooraan Thottathila... reminds us of Annaathe Aaduraar... and the puliyaattam in the middle of the song doesn't help either. But it does help Bharath show off some of his dancing prowess.

17 Comments:

At 11:24 PM, Blogger srivatsan said...

BB,

Anandha Vikatan this week confirmed what was lacking in the film. Emotions don't sink!. Though director must be appreciated for the effort, You'd have to be a Sean Penn (or) Cheran (or) Vintage Kamal (Salangai Oli, Mahanadi) to make ppl cry.

Cheran is the best when it comes to nailing emotions to ppl, TT still stands as a classic example. One other thing is Cheran's movie will have is a lot other touch points to our life (I felt it in more than 4-5 scenes of Thavamai..that I faced this some time!!)

Anyway good change from Masala craps churned out till day for this year. For his first film you can take out mistakes!

 
At 12:21 AM, Anonymous S.Ganesh Kumar said...

Balaji;
did you see my latest post-here?.I'll be a bit cautious in the case of Veyyil.For;you've given 3.5 for Kadhal(It deserves only 2 stars);only because of one small twist in the climax and Pulikesi gets 3 not 3.5 as it has some big flaws.(Boring 1st 30 min.)

 
At 12:44 AM, Blogger Bart said...

Balaji, the first half Pasupathi's growing up segment is only to show that though he thinks that he has turned out to be a worthy son to his parents (he says this to the senior operator), he turns out to be a loser in the end there too. His romantic personal life inclusive.
Yes, the second half has situations where Pasupathi is put deliberately in situations where he has to earn sympathy but it does not translate to the same emotions in us. Mainly bcoz he doesn't try to make himself useful to the family or anyone. I think this is what Srivatsan also is pointing out.

 
At 2:23 AM, Blogger srivatsan said...

BB,

Unga star rating guess (2.75?) :-)
It's not a 2 movie and 3 movie either 2.5 for the movie and 0.25 for keeping out punch dialogues and sticking to reality

:-))

 
At 2:56 AM, Blogger Simply Senthil said...

Balaji,

I had the same feeling too. Something is missing in the movie. Srivatsan pointed it out. Anyway, this movie is lot better than the most of the craps released this year.

My review here

 
At 9:53 AM, Anonymous ram said...

I get a sense of curious dissatisfaction from the review...I meant, what you felt abt the movie, sollaren...looks like you expected "just a lil'l more" out of it...am I right? or am I reading between the lines when there's no necessity to do so?!

anyways, inge naallaiku screening...

 
At 11:19 AM, Anonymous Sandya said...

Actually, Balaji, I'm pleasantly surprised at your review. I thought you would've been bowled over but what people are calling the 'movie of the year.' Very surprised, indeed!.. But then again, I was surprised even more at your review of Pudhupettai, after everybody trashed that film.

Bottom line: You never fail to surprise any of us in blog world with your reviews! :-)

 
At 9:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

pros:
1. realistic
2. pasupathy's acting

cons:
1. very slow moving and predictable unlike Kadhal
2. bhavana totally wasted
3. the first half of the movie doesn't relate much to the main plot

sad to say..."veyyil" doesn't live up to the expectations....

//balaji, very eager to see ur star rating for this movie..

 
At 12:29 AM, Blogger srivatsan said...

good and unbiased review again, keep it up!

 
At 12:36 PM, Blogger rajesh said...

The movie was far better than the current series of gangster movies and self-assumed intellectual movies like Vallavan or Varalaaru.

Bharath plays the role of a village guy with elan in the past few movies.This character seemed to be just a continuation of his performance in Emtan Magan.The kunkumam on his forehead and the thaayathu kairu on his hand were all carried over from the earlier mentioned movie.I think he should think of some variations in future lest he gets dubbed as an also-ran in tamil movies.

Pasupathy has great acting potential.This movie seemed to be a continuation of his 'Maja' portrayal,with light shades of being th main hero.

The members of the family didn't really gel well with the movie.Had the father been Naasar/Raj Kiran or even probably Vijayakumar and the mother been Charanya ,the characters would have been etched much better.The sisters too didnt make much of an impact with no real identities provided to them in the story.

The part with Shreya Reddy could have been better portrayed like that of Jaya Bhaduri is SHolay where the final scene hits everyone really hard upon finding the hero dead.

Having said all these things,I still feel the movie was good and completely different than the run of the mill crap that get released these days.

-Raapi

 
At 8:03 AM, Blogger Karthik said...

My comment on the 'coming soon' post of Veyil is perhaps inappropriate. It fits better here. Sorry for the repetition!

Lemme open a can of worms here...was Murugesan really a loser? I don't think so. I actually feel its only a sham perpetrated by the director and producer to portray this as a loser's story. A more real loser is probably the hero in VZ Durai's 'Mugavari'. Here, Murugesan is more of an incapable nut than a loser. Tamil cinema has seen better acts in terms of lead guys losing their beloved or their jobs. Now, why don't I think he was a loser? Wont that be a plot blunder if the movie is being portrayed a loser's story? Have put in my thoughts in my blog. Would be delighted to know what you think.

http://itwofs.com/milliblog/2006/12/25/veyil-tamil-vasanthabalan/

Karthik

 
At 7:28 PM, Blogger Ravages said...

I admit, I didn't watch the second half of the film. That was because the first half was unbearably boring, cliched, dragging, and plain incompetent (blurry, out of focus, grainy camera work doesn't help when the film drags)

I am not sure if the second half redeems the first. What say you? Should I sit through and watch it again?

 
At 12:00 AM, Blogger Sam said...

Veyil. I saw the film on its 10th day. My comment was, "A Tamizh movie presented in Hollywood way. Its a welcome change.". Now it proved it is. Cannes has selected it over TT and Paruthi. The movie is very realistic except its happening years (if you look close). I don't know what Anantha Vikatan said but its a Kamal Haasan's koththadimai(slave) magazine and I don't care about the crap magaz. They would have praised the movie, if made by Kamal).

 
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At 9:16 AM, Blogger Rajesh said...

Veyyil is a touching film.
Work from home

 

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