Director - Babu Sivan
Producer - AVM Productions
Cast - Vijay, Anushka, Salim Ghouse, Srihari, Srinath, Sukumari, Satyan, Shayaji Shinde
Music - Vijay Antony
Cinematography - Gopinath
Editing - VT Vijayan
Story, Screenplay, Dialogues - Babu Sivan Action - Kanal Kannan
Art Direction - Milan
Release Date - 18th December 2009
A Vijay film, or for that matter, any Tamil mass hero film, would have a certain template on to which different ideas are placed. I will try to write down that template (30 steps to make a Tamil mass movie) before getting into the actual review of the film. So beware, this post will be quite long.. :P
1. A villain/group of villains are shown doing some socially unacceptable activity.
2. One or many of the natives of the our hero praises him endlessly giving a build up that he'll soon take care of the problem.
3. Introduction of hero with stunt scene where he deals with the above mentioned villains.
4. Justice is done towards the poor whom the hero has no relation with. They also sing praises about the hero and say that he is their God.
5. Hero introduction song where the hero sings about himself and his commitment to society.
6. Some comedy involving the hero's family.
7. Time for introducing the heroine - they meet either in a bus, train, railway station or kovil thiruvizha. Most probably by accidentally bumping into each other. Hero is immediately smitten by her.
8. Hero moves to city (not to fight evil, but eventually ends up doing that), surprised to find heroine there also.
9. Hero goes to college. Gives advice to his teacher itself.
10. Some more comedy scenes involving hero and heroine where the heroine keeps fighting with the good-natured hero.
11. The intermediate villains of the movie are introduced with their horrifying activities, which the hero is not aware of, at a different part of the city.
12. Heroine shows first sign of her liking towards hero. First folk song.
13. More comedy involving hero and heroine.
14. Hero unknowingly insults the ego of the violent villain. Villain becomes angry and wants to kill him the next time he sees him.
15. Hero's friend gets into trouble with the villain. Hero stands up for him/her.
16. Hero fights the villain without knowing the villain's strength.
17. Villain's ego is hurt and he hatches a plan to do away with hero. Almost succeeds with it until the hero escapes and turns into revenge mode just before the interval.
18. Hero meets bigger villain (the main one), if any.
19. Hero starts keeping 'aappu' for the villain, with a touch of comedy.
20. Heroine pops out of nowhere suddenly, has one scene with the hero and then proceeds to a romantic duet in foreign location.
21. Again, fights and aappu continues.
22. Song showing hero's growth and might.
23. Heroine is hurt, kidnapped or a rape attempt happens on her. Hero comes right in time to save her.
24. 'Kuthu paattu' with folk dance.
25. If there is any best friend of the hero, he is either killed or tortured like hell.
26. Hero's fury comes out in full form. He gets into the final showdown with the villain.
27. Hero is badly attacked and hurt.
28. Either mom, sister or heroine give strength to the hero to get up and fight again. If none of these happen, then there is always a chance of divine intervention.
29. Hero either kills the villain and walks away scot free or surrenders the villain to law.
30. Hero and heroine walk away with the director's name appearing on the last card with the audio of the kuthu paattu/hero's power song.
(If a star comedian is hired, there will be a separate comedy track featuring him, with its own story, which has no relation with the main plot).
So that was a Tamil mass movie in 30 steps. The screenplay order is ready for any director who attempts this genre. The tough task is, making an interesting potboiler out of this oft-repeated format. Sometimes people create the most paisa-vasool entertainers out of this format and sometimes the most terrible and outrageous films you can imagine. It all depends on how the director handles the movie. And thankfully, Babu Sivan has not messed up this formula in Vettaikkaran. So its time to rejoice for Vijay fans, as he gives them a decent entertainer with good proportions of the required masala. There is no separate comedy track in this movie and Vijay does most of the comic scenes in the himself, relieving us from those inane comedy tracks by either Vadivel, Vivek or Santhanam. All the elements in a usual Vijay movie, except the mandatory comic track is present and is done neatly as well. But if worked out well, this film could have been an awesome entertainer like Pokkiri or Gilli. But it stops at being just okay, because of the screenplay in the second half.
The story is about 'Police' Ravi who aspired to be a great police officer like Devaraj IPS (Sri Hari) and follows the same path that his idol went through. After some fooling around in his village, he goes to the city to join the same college where Devaraj studied, drive an auto to make money for his fees and join the police after that, exactly how Devaraj did when he was younger. He meets a beautiful girl Susila (Anushka) on his way to Chennai and is immediately smitten by her. After fighting with him initially, she also has the same feelings for him quite soon. In an attempt to impress her, Ravi does some traffic control and unknowingly insults the villain Chella (a long haired goon whose name I didnt get). Chella is the ruler of Chennai and his speciality is that he gets any girl whom he lays his eyes on (how innovative!!). So one day, he happens to see the cleavage of Ravi's friend Uma by mistake and decides that he has to get her immediately. So takes away all the belongings of Uma's dad (who is also the owner of Ravi's auto) and threatens him that if he doesnt send his girl to Chella, he'll never get his belongings back. Hearing this, Ravi gets enraged and takes Uma to Chella and then beats up everyone who comes forward. Chella is beaten to pulp by Ravi and Chella's people ask the policeman Kattabomman (Shayaji Shinde) to frame Ravi in an encounter case and kill him. Ravi is beaten up badly in the police cells before he is framed in a case and is supposed to be killed instead of some other criminal. Susi asks Devaraj's help but he behaves rudely to her and asks her to get out from there. Ravi narrowly escapes from the encounter killing and goes to Devaraj's house to shout at him. But Devaraj tells him about the atrocities done to him by Chella's father Vedanayakam (Salim Ghouse) which is why he is in such a condition. Ravi decides to stand up against Vedanayakam along with the help of Devaraj and a bunch of friends from his village. The rest of the story is about Ravi's fight against Vedanayakam.
The first half goes smoothly with lots of comedy and songs and one impressive fight sequence. But it is the second half which is in trouble. After the introduction of the bigger villain Vedanayakam, you expect much more fireworks, but everything is so rushed after that. Vijay suddenly starts appearing in designer wear and luxury cars and all that, in the course of a song praising him. For quite some time after that, the movie strikingly resembles the second half of Rajnikanth's Sivaji. A scene at a minister's office, ends up looking like a poor replica of a similar scene in Sivaji. A detective agency pops out of nowhere (I should be kicked for trying to find logic in such a film, but still, some establishing scenes should have been done before something like that). Anushka appears twice or thrice in the second half. First for a romantic song, and then for her to be kidnapped by villain and saved by hero following a 'kuthu paattu'. All in all, the director does not go completely overboard like Vijay's recent movies and manages to keep things under control.
Vijay is at ease doing the same things he has been doing in all his movies. He dances, fights, says punch dialogues and does comedy, all with comfortable ease. It was a great relief to see him doing comedy himself instead of separate comedy tracks by professional comedians. Anushka is nothing more than eye candy. She looks hot in the songs and cute in the scenes. But she couldnt dance properly in sync with the Tamil folk beats, especially in the last 'kuthu paattu' and her dance looked very awkward in that song in which she was wearing very skimpy clothes. Sri Hari as Devaraj is loud and annoying. Sukumari gives a delightful presence. Salim Ghouse as Vedachalam sends a chill down your spine with his cold-bloodedness. He was the best among the whole cast in the movie. The very sight of him in movies used to scare me as a child (Thaazhvaram, Thiruda Thiruda), and now I realized that he still has that effect on me. Shayaji Shinde who is usually very over-the-top and annoying in Tamil films, is quite good in this movie as a villainous cop with a comic touch.
Songs by Vijay Antony are already chartbusters and the audience response to the first two songs were unbelievable. The theatre went into a frenzy when Vijay's son Sanjay was introduced in the 'Naan adicha thaanga maatte' song along with Vijay. From that short bit, we know that he will surely step into his father's shoes when he's big enough. All the other songs are also equally good. Vijay's ridiculous wig in the 'Chinna Thamarai' song was really funny and could have been avoided. Gopinath's camera and VT Vijayan's editing go with the mood of the film. Kanal Kannan gives some neat stunt sequences where the stunts are not as over-the-top as usual Tamil movies. He packs a solid punch in many of the action scenes.
I wasnt bored or irritated at any point and the movie was fairly engaging till its end, even though I had become sick of Vijay's usual masala flicks after seeingKuruvi and Villu. It is high time the actor changed his track rather than doing the same thing again and again. It would be nice to see him in movies likeKhushi or Sachin once in a while. Babu Sivan makes an okay debut as a director, but as a writer he still needs to go a long way. All in all, the package works in many parts and Vettaikkaran is quite entertaining, provided you go in expecting nothing more than the 30 points I have mentioned above. :P
Rating - 3/5