Star Cast: Silambarasan TR, Radhikaa Sarathkumar, Siddhi Idnani, Neeraj Madhav, and ensemble.
Director: Gautham Vasudev Menon.
What’s Good: A coming-of-age drama where the man becomes a Gangster but not a hero in a layered approach where there is always a story within the story and never bland. Also, AR Rahman!
What’s Bad: The attempt to make it more public pleaser of a product by stretching the masala part and diluting the entire metaphor.
Loo Break: The movie is too long, so you will have to either use the interval or test the limit of your bladder.
Watch or Not?: Please watch. It is an earnest attempt at creating a drama that is three-dimensional and is about the guns and glory without a quintessential hero.
Language: Tamil (with subtitles).
Available on: In Theatres Near You.
Runtime: 165 Minutes
Muthu, a young BSc graduate from a very small town in the South of India is now working in a field due to a lack of opportunities. Destiny brings him to Mumbai where he climbs the ladder with only snakes in every corner to come out as a full-blown gangster.
Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu Movie Review: Script Analysis
Gangster dramas as a genre is one of the most sacred ones since the beginning of cinema. The question around the stories involved is always whether the person has a chance to walk away and live a life of dignity? And what will it look like? Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu is the case study and an immersive one of that same thought but with 10 strong folds that create a narrative much bigger than just one genre.
At the heart of is a boy and his coming of age story after he comes out of the marginalised life he lived for 20 odd years back in his village. He comes to Mumbai, where he falls in the hands of the underworld and only drowns deeper into the blood every time he tries to come out of it. Of course this is something we must have seen, but what writer Jeyamohan introduces is an antithesis to the staple character. He created Sreedharan (Neeraj) who lands in the maximum city the same day as Muthu but somehow manages to not let the blood touch him and even survive. They are literally opposites of each other and even in terms of their fates.
For Muthu, Jeyamohan creates a story where his fate has been decided by a gun. He craves power and like an astrologer once predicts about him, he chooses gun over lots of money. The prediction says he will be a murderer one day and that is what follows. Through Muthu and the likes of him that are on different stages of the underworld, Menon and the writer create a claustrophobic world over stuffed in a cramped room above a shady eatery. The world remains the same even when top-class luxury is added to it. The journey begins from the boy falling on thorns and ends with him tackling them but with a lot of blood on his hands.
What the writing fails to get a grip of is the love story. Muthu falls in love with Paavi. But the makers use this angle in the most unconnected way, to an extent where it completely looks Inconsequential. But one can feel at the cost of that one part of the story, Jeyamohan blends the gangster drama and coming of age so well that it looks effortless. Everytime there is a massive update in the two, he brings in the love angle as a breather.
Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu Movie Review: Star Performance
Silambarasan understands Muthu completely. He understands the rage and where it is coming from and why it is so wild. He plays Muthu with so much clueless gaze that we as a viewer are clueless as to what is served next. It helps. Silambarasan sees a 180 degree transformation and it is through his appearance we learn it. But does the man beneath the new attire change? Watch the film.
Neeraj Madhav as Sreedharan, though gets a limited screentime manages to create so much curiosity around himself. He is the stark opposite of Muthu and that brings a massive humiliation to him. Madhav brings out the vulnerability of his character so well that he brings the most emotional depth in his part of the story.
Rest everyone is in their top forms and I have no words left to describe the magic Radhikaa Sarathkumar does every single time.
Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu Movie Review: Direction, Music
Gautham Vasudev Menon in his direction wants to address the humiliation of the marginalized, immigrants, and naive people through his direction. He chooses claustrophobia as his weapon and creates tight frames with cramped rooms and only introduces limited light that makes you feel the lack of it. His attempt is that to make you feel everything that Muthu goes through. His inner dilemma of being powerless and giving up power when it is just a step away. Or his physical pain when he is wounded by thorns and is in pain everytime anyone or anything touches his multiple wounds.
What doesn’t feel right is the way he chooses to end the movie. The introduction to part 2 feels rushed and random. It creates no impact and feels like bonus content we royally ignore. Also Menon is very self indulgent and his indulgence in some scenes do lead to them being stretched a lot many times.
DOP Siddhartha Nuni captures this world like Anurag Kashyap’s perspective in the Bombay Velvet. It is authentic and balanced. The art department with Nuni’s skills create a world that is breathing and one can imagine themselves in there without much effort. The handheld camera that follows Muthu into every combat and important sequences is so well used to capture the chaos and jiffy that it feels like you are present during the fight.
AR Rahman is in all his glory here. The man creates themes for every character and uses them at situation you least expect but makes the maximum impact. In his album he composes two songs about lovers talking to each other in poetry and they have completely different vibes but both land so well. The choreography that choses long shots rather than cuts adds more flavour. This Rahman album is here to stay.
Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu Movie Review: The Last Word
Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu is a great step towards creating a dreadful character with his humane side and not just another Hero who doesn’t seem real at all. GVM scales the heights that a man can go to fight his fate and what destiny has for him, and he succeeds so well. Go for this one because there is a lot of effort put in towards the right direction.
Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu Trailer
Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu releases on 15 September 2022.
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