“Velaikkaran”… A first-half sprint, a second-half stumble

Posted on December 22, 2017

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Spoilers ahead…

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

The opening credits of Velaikkaran (The Worker) play over images of… workers: a tailor, a mechanic, a bus driver. But even earlier, we’ve had a hint about the film’s concerns, when a bunch of boys from a slum run past an expensive car and one of them puts a scratch on its side with a sharp instrument. Why? Because he’ll never be able to afford one. But isn’t just poor=good, rich=bad. The scratch transforms into a line on a sales chart, and we are now in a corporate meeting, with the likes of the owner of that car. The addressing of class in Tamil films is nothing new — and we know slum-resident Arivu (Sivakarthikeyan) is going to run a scratch across these rich men’s lives — but the dignity in this film is. It wants to be a crowd-pleaser, but with class.

Which means that — despite the glimpse of a Baasha poster early on — Arivu doesn’t get “mass” moments and ginormous action scenes. Which means he gets to display his “heroism” in a (dare I use this word in the context of a big-star vehicle?) brainier way. Which means the heroine (Mrinalini, played by a glamorous Nayanthara with a look that says, “I can’t be rescuing little girls in borewells all the time, okay?”) is from a Brahmin family, and yet, not caricatured with a set of easy stereotypes. Which means that whatever magic potion Mohan Raja began to take during the making of Thani Oruvan, he’s clearly ordered himself a vatful. The first half is surprisingly innovative.

Continued at the link above.

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Posted in: Cinema: Tamil