“Vanamagan”… An amiably silly comic adventure turns into tiresome drama

Posted on June 24, 2017


Spoilers ahead…

Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/vanamagan-movie-review

In the opening scene of Vanamagan (Son of the Forest), an Andamanese tribal named Jara (Jayam Ravi) is captured. He speaks to a fellow-captive in a language specially created for the film, but you wonder why they bothered. Couldn’t they have just dug into the vast repertoire of the music director, Harris Jayaraj (this is his 50th outing), whose specialty is phonetic invention? Go to a remote corner of the world and say, “Hasili fisili, nani koni, danga maari, askku laska,” and the indigenous people would likely reply, “And a good day to you too!” Harris’s special contribution to this film’s background score is a vigorous chant that goes, “Hey… zulu… zambala gimbala go.” No, that’s your mother!

Is this chant offensive, in the sense that it puts quotation marks around a tribal civilisation? Then what would you say about the heroine’s (Kavya, played by Sayyeshaa) attempts to “tame” Jara using show-dog training tactics? But no! At least in the early portions, director AL Vijay is after nothing more than an amiably silly, kid-friendly evening at the movies. The real problem with Vanamagan is that it’s not kid-friendly enough. After a point, it begins to bemoan what we are doing to our planet in the name of development. It’s hard to take eco messages seriously in a movie where the hero and heroine wear matching leaf dresses and dance.

Continued at the link above.

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Posted in: Cinema: Tamil