Monday, January 12, 2009

Villu


After turning director, Prabhu Deva helmed a couple of love stories in Telugu. But when he moved to Tamil, he changed tracks, opting to direct Vijay in Pokkiri, a remake of the Telugu blockbuster of the same name. The film was a huge success in Tamil too and the duo has joined hands again for Villu. Apart from the actor-director team, the film has a couple of more things in common with Pokkiri, as it has the same villain and is also being released for Pongal. But the similarities end there. Where Pokkiri was a fast-paced action film, Villu is an old-fashioned, amateurish revenge flick. Pokkiri was no classic but next to Villu, it sure looks like one.


After dealing with Raka, one of the kingpins of a network of arms and drug dealers, Pugazh(Vijay) makes his way to a wedding, where he impresses Janavi(Nayanthara), the bride's friend. Turns out his romancing Janavi was only to get to her dad JD(Prakashraj), another important man in the arms and drug network. Pugazh and Janavi travel to Munich to meet JD and Pugazh runs into Shaan, the third key player in the network.

After some initial action, the film settles down as Vijay romances Nayanthara and irritates Vadivelu. The comedy is of the familiar variety and mostly involves Vadivelu getting hurt in a variety of ways as he is electrocuted, scalded, pushed into a well and ridden down a flight of stairs. But many of the gags do work and make us laugh. He is out of the picture once the action moves to Munich but Prabhu Deva, to give the action-heavy second half some relief, brings him back for two scenes. The two sequences - one of which sees him fight a CGI cow in a scene from Kung-Pow Chicken and the other sees him dance to a few recent, popular film songs - are plain intolerable and make us forget the laughs earlier.

The romance is even less of a success than the comedy. Though there are scenes(like the one where Nayanthara shouts at Vijay but an enamored Vijay hears the words coming out of her mouth in a musical fashion) that remind us that Prabhu first honed his directorial skills in a very sweet love story(the Telugu original of Something Something Unakkum Enakkum), the track skirts vulgarity at many moments and consists of cliched elements like Nayanthara hiring goondas to beat up Vijay and Vijay saving the bride from some troublesome relatives who want to stop the wedding.

There is a lot of technology in use once Vijay goes up against the bad guys in Munich. So we get blu-ray discs to store the villain's information(though Sriman and Anandraj, who are obviously not early adopters, still refer to them as CDs) and a hideout with palm print and voice recognition technology (though there seems to be no point to showing us all this security without a heist sequence to show how someone beats it) that somehow leads to a tunnel that's straight out of Resident Evil. We also get a peek into the future with the world's first wireless DVD-reader, which is apparently in Prakashraj's sunglasses as he scans a DVD by just looking at it! A well-staged stunt sequence in a plane that is actually thrilling manages to sneak into the movie but the rest of the proceedings are amateurish and silly.

There are a couple of surprises in the plot but once Vijay's past and mission are revealed (via a flashback that proves that Vijay and Prabhu Deva might have taken the phrase 'one man army' a little too literally), it is clear that all the aforementioned technology simply hides the oldest story in the book. As Vijay's mission nears closure, all the technology and style so far give way to really old-fashioned sentiments. As we are forced to endure spiteful villagers, crying wives, weird punishments and melodramatic surprises, we begin to wonder if the movie has suddenly been hijacked by the likes of P.Vasu, Perarasu and Hari.

Vijay does what's expected of him, dancing and fighting with energy. He's cut down on the finger-swishing and punch dialogs, a welcome change and trades those in for some designer wear and stylish looks. Nayan continues her recent tradition of mistaking innerwear for outerwear but is adequate for the little that is needed from a heroine in a Vijay movie. Prakashraj plays another routine villain. Even the token melodious number in earlier Vijay movies like Kuruvi has been dropped as Devi Sriprasad delivers a soundtrack filled with fast numbers that Vijay can shake a leg too. Jalsa... is the only number that sounds good while Nee Kobappattaal... has some nice lyrics and a somewhat interesting picturization with multiple Vijays on screen. Hey Rama Rama... finds Kushboo shaking a leg with Vijay and Prabhu Deva too making his expected appearance for a beat-filled interlude.

37 Comments:

At 11:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice review Balaji,though I thoroughly enjoyed this masala fare.Me thinks its definitely better than Vijay's earlier ATM and Kuruvi and hence will be lapped up by his fans :-)

One small correction though.Pokkiri music was scored by Mani Sharma and not DSP.

-Jey

 
At 12:14 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

jey, i thot it was worse than ATM and about on par with 'kuruvi'. thanx for the correction. have fixed it :)

 
At 3:22 AM, Blogger Rubygal said...

Balaji sir, thanx for the review..at least I know what to expect when I watch d movie.. Anyway, why do feel that this movie is worst then ATM and on par with Kuruvi.. I honestly feel that watching Kuruvi was a total waste of money and time..it was a total let down for me.. Obviously I enjoyed Pokiri more than ATM and Kuruvi.. I am sure Prabu Deva sir wouldn't have compromise with this movie in any way..coz then it would be a total let down for him too..but I guess I have to watch the movie to actually know for sure..

 
At 7:46 AM, Blogger skanda said...

i dunt know which film is even worst. "kuruvi" or "villu", both are so terrible,didint expect the second half to be so boring, the songs were so irritating and pop out without any relevance whatsoever...once again got fooled by Sify's review, they call this a james bond flick??? OMG, what a torture!!!

 
At 8:04 AM, Blogger Bart said...

Bb, am happy that this movie released earlier in US :) I can avoid this one for sure..

 
At 8:49 AM, Blogger Filbert said...

Vijay movie, horrible, whats new!! Seriously, if one were to read Sify's 'review', you would think that they just watched the next best thing that happened to Tamil cinema :)

Choreographers/ Editors/ Cinematographers turned directors should stick to their chosen professions, I guess!

 
At 1:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kung-Pow chicken?? you mean Kung-fu hustle?!!

Sanjay

 
At 2:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i knew that prabhu deva is out of his mind when he roped in the atrociously fatty kushboo for an item number.

 
At 2:56 PM, Blogger Villain said...

"Pokkiri was no classic but next to Villu, it sure looks like one."

--- classic

 
At 3:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

bb..i think you meant kung-pow: enter the fist.

 
At 9:48 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

rubygal, i thot ATM tried to offer something a little different from usual vijay movies. and i felt the 1st half here was better than kuruvi's while the 2nd half was worse. so i put it in par with that one :)

skanda, yep the 2nd half was real torture :)

bart, lucky u :)

filbert, i know! i guess that was the only way they could get vijay to come in for a chat :)

sanjay, i luv 'kung-fu hustle' and wouldn't confuse any scene in it. anon is right, i meant 'kung-pow: enter the fist' :)

anon, i'll admit to being pretty surprised at that choice too :)

villain, thanx :)

anon, yes i did. thanx :)

 
At 11:03 PM, Blogger Srivatsan Sridharan said...

BB,

Enna koduma ithu . Heard movie was worst :). You did not review Poo or did you?

 
At 10:18 AM, Blogger Swaps said...

"Nayan continues her recent tradition of mistaking innerwear for outerwear but is adequate for the little that is needed from a heroine in a Vijay movie"- Superb comment.....
Was planning to watch it, thank you for the warning...
Swaps

 
At 1:01 PM, Blogger skanda said...

Just watched it for Vadivelu's comedy, it was kinda funny but have seen the track in a telugu movie before...One aspect tat was really disapointing is the romance aspect which is clinched, crude and totally tasteless, and this is coming from Prabhu deva who created nice romance in his earlier films. Prabu Deva's heart is surely not in his right place while directing this movie...

 
At 2:12 PM, Anonymous ram said...

the "Villu" screening in Memphis (where my parents live) was canceled due to "bad reviews!"
assuming that that was the real reason, its quite astonishing how "bad reviews" could make ppl wary of even a masala movie...usually masala movies are critic-proof, I thought...but guess not for something really bad as "Villu" is...havent watched it as yet...dont plan on it either!

 
At 5:00 PM, Blogger skanda said...

Ram, in malaysia, this is the first time a Vijay didint run to full house, infact throught the screennd, didint hear much claps and whistles, which is kinda suprising for a first day show where the 'fans' first see the film. Guess some of the were pretty bored at the way the film was executed. somehow the film looks like the combination of "Aadhi" and "Pokiri",

 
At 5:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

8$ for vijay movie(looks like these guys learned their lesson with 11$ tix).
1.5$ is more than enough for a vijay movie. For 8$, you can eat kung paw chicken.

 
At 8:43 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

srivatsan, no i didn't. but planning to soon :)

swaps, thanx. and u're welcome :)

skanda, but 'pokkiri's romance wasn't all that great right?
and it wasn't a full house here on opening night either :)

ram, wow, thats new :)

anon, it was $12 here :(

 
At 9:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

“Vijay is so punctual. Always on time and professional in his approach. It was wonderful working with him. As for my role, I can’t divulge much. But there’s a lot to the character I play, unlike in my previous films.”

- Nayanthara

 
At 10:16 PM, Anonymous ram said...

"As for my role, I can’t divulge much."

satyaraj would say, "sollumbadiya oru eelavengaayam-um illingela ammani?! adhukutheyn indha rangeuku paetti edukaravan vaettiya uruvi padikravan kalutha nerikriyaakum!"

 
At 10:17 PM, Anonymous ram said...

skanda, what u said abt the reaction of the people in the theater is what vijay has to worry about > the reviews!

 
At 10:33 PM, Blogger Escape.... Great Escape said...

Vijay was called a "Watchman" in the theaters. I prefer SareeMan.. because of his intro sequence. This was Vijay's "Jee"

 
At 2:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i actually quite liked the movie...much better than ATM and certainly Kuruvi...prob not quite as good as Pokkiri..but still worth a watch.

 
At 5:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ram, She cant divulge. She can only reveal:-)

 
At 11:27 AM, Blogger Kay said...

BB,

I havent seen the movie yet. I was very disappointed with Kuruvi and was pinning all my hopes on Villu. Guess I will have to wait for Vettaikaran this Nov... Vijay is one of my favourite heroes and it depresses me that he continues to choose such tasteless roles. Surya is proving to be a much more sensible actor with his choices. But Surya is a good actor while Vijay is just action and style. He cannot do emotional scenes at all and kind of overacts sometimes..

Sorry for the vent, but was eagerly awaiting Villu. I am going to watch it on DVD and not spend 12$ + gas$ + samosa$. What a letdown! Kavuthitaan!

 
At 1:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Ram, She cant divulge. She can only reveal:-)"

...her "inner" as opposed to "outer"...as bb so succinctly pointed out in his review :)

 
At 1:21 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

anon, "there’s a lot to the character I play" - had a good laugh on reading that :)

ram, appo padatha pakravana? :)

escape, sareeman... good one :)

anon, "prob not quite as good as Pokkiri" - thats the only part of ur comment i can agree with :)

anon, good one :)

kay, 'kuruvi' and 'villu' were from directors who have given him 2 of his best movies. 'vettaikkaaran' director has no such claims. so i'll be approaching it with a lot less expectations :)

anon, nowadays she doesn't have any "outer" to reveal :)

 
At 5:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just finished watching Villu. A very different attempt I must say:

1. How many leading stars have we seen in watchman getup with gramathu thalaivar's mustache( dad Vijay )?

2. How many movies are there where the director is willing to rope in an elephantine mom of two for an item number * 2 thumbs up for his unbiased size preference *

3. How many movies go with this saying " she has no outer beauty so she got to reveal her inner beauty " ? Thus the justification of Nayan's casual bra-wear.

4. How many movies are out there which show not one but at least three guys who could not identify the look alike of the son and dad?

5. How many movies are there which show the hero to be less attractive than a group of dogs ( one of the songs ) ? * standing ovation *

 
At 11:30 PM, Anonymous another anon said...

Anon,
"2. How many movies are there where the director is willing to rope in an elephantine mom of two for an item number * 2 thumbs up for his unbiased size preference "
Who is this elephantien mom?

 
At 4:35 AM, Anonymous V said...

I am glad anytime a Vijay movie, especially one like Villu, bombs. For too long him and his dad providing the patronage have pushed theaters into running his films well beyond expiry date. And his built-up public image of being a very silent and humble guy annoys me to a large extent. It is sad that our B and C center audiences have to put up with dhanush and Vijay's crap for Pongal.

 
At 8:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm..really surprising that so many here have commented even without watching the movie,really strange.

@V //For too long him and his dad providing the patronage have pushed theaters into running his films well beyond expiry date//
I think that this is taking it too far.Request you to leave out Rajini&Kamal and answer the following queries:
1>Who is the highest paid actor in TamilNadu?
2>Whoz the only hero whose movies are bought on MG basis by the distributors?
3>Who creates a mass hysteria on the day of movie release,no I am not talking about TN but,in a neighbouring state?
Do you really believe all this is possible by self patronage?Sorry Balaji for taking up your space,but couldnt resist this one.
-Jey

 
At 9:28 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

anon, LOL @ 1st 4 comments. what song/scene is #5 from? :)

another anon, kushboo. she shows for vijay's intro song :)

V, I'd agree with u on 'kuruvi' :)

Jey, if u see the comments for the reviews of some of the prev Vijay movies, u'll see that this discussion is really mild. so have no problems with ur comment :)

 
At 6:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure of the song, but here is the still..second last

http://www.chennai365.com/general/villu-movie-photo-gallery-more/

 
At 4:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its a remake of some Bobby Deol film. Can't remember the title though. but the story is real similar.

 
At 11:58 PM, Anonymous another anon said...

"she shows for vijay's intro song :)
"
I thought onyl Nayan showed. Khushboovuma? Although she is the pioneer who started the "north indian heroine shows it all" in Tamil, this is too much at this stage of her 'evolution'.

Anon, reading the review, it seems like Soldier, Soldier, Meethi baatein bolkar, dil ko chura le gaya(sing tht in anu malik accent)

 
At 11:55 AM, Blogger Orange Fronkey said...

Poor prabu deva... he should have picked someone else to act in the movie.. i actualy think that he had alot on his plate as he lost his oldest son just recently... but i guess he was sick for a while so that could be one of the contribution in "heart not in the right place"

 
At 12:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Orange Fronkey,

Let's not justify Prabhu Deva's direction. It doesn't make sense when the movie has lots of holes.

 

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