Inter-religious love stories in Tamil cinema are a mixed bag. Bharathirajaa gave us a youthful and carefree outing in ‘Alaigal Oivathillai’ while Raja Paarvai had an equally spunky Nancy who falls for a blind violinist Ragu. I guess the cult movie for my generation was K Balachander’s ‘Ek Duje Ke Liye’. Mostly the star-crossed lovers rebel for a lost cause and the movies have tragic endings.
VTV is a classy movie but the vital soul is missing – there is no real spunkiness shown by the pair particularly the heroine. She is forever caught in two minds and the so-called ‘love’ is just an episode in her life that she manages well without having to stake her future. That this is regarded to be a pragmatic approach and lauded indirectly is to my mind, a reflection of the cold-hearted calculations that have replaced ones emotions.
VTV promos were great and catchy – the absence of any details about the cast and crew and their release being timed around the Valentine Day gave great salience to the product in the mind of its youthful audience. And it was a slick product as well – cinematography, music, romance and the comic track all seem to be in place. The production values are always tops when Gautham Menon helms a film.
The first half is so engaging that what follows can be regarded to be a sad disappointment. We meet Simbu, an aspiring film director, who falls for Trisha at first sight. Trisha is well sorted – a modern girl who seems to be doing well professionally and has great regard for her family. Simbu is foot loose and fanciful as his dream seems unrealistic to everyone. The courtship scenes are picture perfect and a novel approach to standard situational scenes is rather refreshing.
VTV Ganesh in his comic act and as a foil to Simbu is a discovery. Scenes of Kerala backwaters are lovely and enthralling. By mid-way all the familiar devices have kicked in – Simbu has fought and beaten Trisha’s brother (our hero just has to do this one-act of lunacy to prove that he is macho), there is extreme parental opposition to the match from Trisha’s family and the resolution is an urgently arranged marriage for her. We have seen all this before so many times and can see where the story is headed now. We wait for the dénouement – unfortunately it never comes.
The momentous scene is at the proposed wedding where Trisha runs away at the last moment (reminded me of Nancy in Raja Paarvai) and then even meets Simbu. This is more like it and finally some spunkiness is being shown by the lead characters. But it fades away the way it came.
The second half stretches and becomes a drag. The climax was beyond my comprehension the first time I saw it. It took a while to discover that the ‘movie-within-a-movie’ was just a gimmick and the real end is a sad one for the lead pair. The confounding logic offered to us as an explanation just cut no ice – isn’t love supposed to an unmanageable torrent of emotion and isn’t it supposed to last forever?
Apparently not since arranged marriages, a well-considered union of two people apparently suited on multiple filters of religion,social status, financial status and family connections is indeed the more realistic option. Muddled message delivered by the mature heroine who struck as being wimpy to me – it is so sad that it took the hero two years and the audience well over an hour to discover the final message. I was disappointed since I have enjoyed the director’s earlier movies like Minnale, Kaakha Kaakha, Vaaranam Aayiram – a meek surrender to circumstances was just not his style in those movies.
‘Will you cross the skies?’ is rather silly question to ask – the heroine would refuse to meet the hero after his toils as he would reach only when she is busy having dinner with her family.