Vaamanan gained some notoriety when its hero Jai, promoted to solo hero status after acting in multi-hero films like Chennai 600028 and Subramanyapuram, singled it out as the only one, out of the 3 or 4 he was acting in, that had a chance of becoming a hit. But the film doesn't seem deserving of such confidence on Jai's part. A thriller that tackles the familiar theme of an innocent man caught up in situations beyond his control, it does have smarts and suspense but the uneven pace and the lack of originality come in the way of it being a total success.
Anbuchezhian(Sampath), a politician, kills a competitor for the CM's post but unknown to him, the deed iscaptured on tape, which is now in the hands of an ad-film director Vinodh. When he comes to know of the tape, Anbu is desperate to get it back and goes after Vinodh and his friend Pooja(Lakshmi Rai), a model. Meanwhile Anand(Jai) arrives in Chennai with dreams of becoming an actor and stays with his friend Chandru(Santhanam), a cameraman at a news channel. Anand falls for Divya(Priya) and begins to woo her. He also becomes friends with John(Rahman), who as it turns out, breaks into people's homes for fun.
Vaamanan starts off looking a lot like the recent Muthirai as a political assasination is captured on tape and it becomes obvious that the innocent hero is somehow going to become caught up in the consequences. But unlike Muthirai, it has more on its agenda. While its main storyline is the same, it beefs it up with some additional tracks, giving us the impression that it has a lot more going on.
With Sampath's search for the tape, Jai's mentor/student relationship with Rahman, Jai's romance and the activities of the gang from Bihar, there is so much going on that it sometimes feels like the director has bitten off more than he can chew. Coincidences seem to be the director's primary weapon to move the tracks forward and so a high tolerance for suspension of disbelief is required to buy into the proceedings. The switches between the tracks are also quite abrupt and though we know that they will eventually be connected, none of the tracks earn our involvement because of this.
It is tough to believe but the movie lets its pace lag even with so many things going on. With comedy and romance taking centerstage and the storylines in the tracks not moving forward much, the film slows down considerably in the middle. It comes back to life once Jai's troubles increase. There is a nice surprise and the individual tracks finally show signs of coming together.
While some of the film's earlier plot developments had made us doubt if the director had been inspired by Enemy of the State, the climax clears our doubts as the film resorts to the same MO as the Hollywood blockbuster to allow Jai to extricate himself from the predicament he is stuck in. So, while it is a smart - even if convenient - resolution brought about by an intelligent screenplay, the fact that it is copied takes most of the shine off.
Jai looks a lot like Vijay (something that he seems determined to exploit, like at his audition for a producer) but sounds a lot like Simbhu, which makes for an odd mix. This is the first time that the spotlight is squarely on him and he understandably seems a little rough around the edges. Priya does a neat job though her character comes off looking somewhat flaky in the second half. Lakshmi Rai makes a grand entrance, walking out of the ocean in a bikini, but isn't required to do much after that. Urvasi is hilarious as Priya's naive mom and her cooking audition sequence with Santhanam is really funny. Yuvan's soundtrack has been utilized in a predictable fashion with Edho Seigiraal... taking the top spot. Too many visual flourishes damage Lucky Star... but that trend is not followed for the other numbers.