Kamal Haasan’s ‘Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu’

Kamal is back as a cop – reminds me that the last memorable outing as a cop was in Kuruthipunal. Gautham Menon helms another cop story after the successful Kaakha Kaakha.

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Top Cop in Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu  Image Courtesy – apunbindaas.blogspot.com

It’s a commercial movie – Kamal gets a grand entry scene, storyline is about gory murder and the need to avenge his personal loss that takes Kamal to New York. Songs are average though couple are hummable – interestingly there is no comedy track to lighten things up. Kamal downplays the role of a middle-aged cop who is angst driven and coping with personal baggage. He meets Jyothika in an offbeat role; distinctly at odds with her bubbly image.To begin with it is fairly serious movie and there aren’t many fun moments. Kamal plays the role of DCP Raghavan , a widower grieving his wife’s brutal death due to his run ins with the bad elements. He gets called in by his senior, Prakash Raj, to investigate into his daughter’s whereabouts (she has been missing from the previous day and her severed finger was found strung up at the door of their residence. It is gory and it becomes worse as we go along).

Kamal manages to locate the mutilated body that has been buried by her tormentors. Prakash Raj is distraught and departs to New York with his wife so that he can come to terms with their trauma. He beseeches Kamal to find the perpetrators of such a ghastly crime. Kamal assures him that he will do the needful. Soon he learns that Prakash Raj and his wife too have been brutally murdered in New York and he moves on to investigate the crime while liaising with the New York Police Department.

At his hotel he finds Aradhana (Jyothika), depressed and reclusive. She attempts a suicide and he rescues her. Gradually they establish a cautious friendship – Jyothika explains about her abusive husband who is seeking a divorce while Kamal explains his lightning courtship and marriage with Kayalvizhi (Kamalinee Mukherjee). (A lovely back number that shows their loving relationship – ‘Partha Mudhal Naale‘).

Gautham Menon scores big in depicting the relationship with oodles of realism – it helps that Kamal underplays himself and gets the nuances of an angst ridden middle-aged cop perfect. Even Jyothika is convincing in a sober role and she brings out the vulnerabilities of a young woman who is at crossroads in her life. The story moves at a sedate pace but we can see progress as the couple move about in New York sharing meals and company. We even have a nice song for the period – Manjal Veyil Malaiyile. It depicts scenes from New York in the evenings and by the end of it Kamal and Jyothika appear to be set as a couple in the eyes of the viewer. (We get Kamal taking ‘selfies’ before they became a craze, Gautham Menon appears himself in the background following the couple, you get to see American kids doing their cool dance moves).

The police investigation is a professional piece – it shows possibly how cops actually go about their job. The way Kamal zooms in on the culprits is mostly credible – of course he strikes luck in finding the bodies the second time round as well. Yet it is totally de-glam and ‘get-your-hands-dirty’ routine. Kamal doesn’t look like any superstar in this one – in fact if he had been one the mystery would be over by intermission time instead of him lying wounded in the hospital.

Well Kamal and Jyothika return to India – she joining him on the trip back home is a sign of certainty in the minds of the viewer that they will get hitched. Things turn out to be more complicated – Jyothika has a 11-month daughter and is not yet ready for a relationship although Kamal proposes to her in the immigration check queue at the Airport. (Interestingly Kamal confronts her about the suicide when she first mentions about the child – one admires such intelligence in story-telling so that the viewer is not taken for granted).

The second-half is a bit less appealing – it is random violence by the protagonists who just turn up everywhere to leave a trail of bodies. This is the weakest area of the script – the psychopaths make no sense and are just mindlessly deranged caricatures. And the way they go about causing mayhem too lacks credibility.

Things finally get sorted out between Kamal and Jyothika and they are headed for happier times. Its climax time now and we can predict what will happen. But even the climax is not conventional – Kamal ends up killing both the ruffians without much ado. We are left to find him scramble to rescue Jyothika who has been buried alive by the goons. Surely not the best of climaxes but it does become am ‘all-is-well-that-ends-well’ story.

The production values are top-notch – Gautham Menon’s movies always have that classy feel to them with visuals and choreography being the best in class. Kamal scores a big win in the movie and it is a treat to watch him play the role with such maturity and elan. Definitely worth a watch and I don’t mind watching it again as a re-run of the Telly but for the climax piece that didn’t quite live up to the billing.

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