Readers Write In #472: Vikram- Lucifer- Pettai: The curious case of The Fanboy Movies. And How Vettayadu Vilayadu is the OG one for me

Posted on July 16, 2022


By Sai Rajasekar

Its absolutely great to see Vikram setting the box office and now OTT on fire. After everything Kamal Hassan has done for movies all this time, its something that was long overdue. He could have easily taken the “parallel cinema” route and made the indie festival kind and gotten more acclaim. But the fact that he decided to fight it out in the commercial format despite the Rajini onslaught initially & Ajith-Vijay later on shows his mettle. That meant he made one for him and one for the crowd- the odds were still okay as we got to see Kamal on the bog screen.

So while watching Vikram, I admired it for its undiluted genre narrative and brilliant set pieces. But the question remained- but hang on where is Kamal in the whole proceedings?

Lets look at Pettai, the other successful fanboy movie. Its an absolute carnival movie for Rajini fans. You can count the scenes where Rajini is not there and it brings us the fun side of Rajini through effective winking, But why Karthik Subbaraj is a genius is in where he doesn’t stop at just winking and builds on the Rajini verse. The “soozhchi” and “Raja Thandiram” arc towards the climax is something where we haven’t seen Rajini enter. The moral compass of the Rajini character post Annamalai didn’t deviate much. Here we see him siting Bali to deceive the Vijay Sethupathi character. And boy o boy was it fun. You got the gate opening entry, the dance, the fight, the interval reveal- it was the whole package.

Lucifer again is 180 minutes soaked in pure “Lalisms”. The mundu wearing Stephen Nedumpally in Lal’s trademark slanting swag is what the doctor ordered and what Murali Gopi & Prithviraj Sukumaran gave us. The call back to Spadikam, Irupatham Nootandu and Shaji Kailas movies of the 90s landed really well. But Murali and Prithviraj bring something of their own as well. -Stephen throughout the movie is restrained and doesn’t utter the page long dialogues associated with the genre and bring in the illumanti angle as well. So again it pushes the Lal fandom to new spaces.

Vikram is a curious case where if the screenplay writer’s name is not revealed, one might guess its written by Kamal himself. There’s a lot of Kamal philosophy which sits really well within the Lokesh Universe and that’s excellent writing but it doesn’t expand beyond it. Its good as an idea to show Kamal as just a ghost in the entire first half. But the three way tussle means actor lays low to the screenplay which is a good thing but is it a fanboy sambhavam?. Hmm. Not so “Yen Kannu Venumnu Kettiyame”. Now that’s a fanboy sambhavam and the OG great GVM got it way back.

It might not have the winking of Kuruthi Punal, Vetrivizha, Alavandhaan etc and thankfully the derivative stuff of Nolan that Vikram has but Raghavan is one Kamal performance for the ages.

“Karka Karka” is textbook hero entry song, the procedural scenes of the investigation, the hospital scene after his wife gets killed- the classic Kamal nostril affair and even a Kamal character going on first date. Even the Chennai slang of Kamal’s feels authentic here and gets done with it in a scene.

What’s even more interesting is barring Vishwaroopam, these two are the movies which worked critically and commercially and both were Kamal came in just as an actor.

So Vikram raking in the moolah is a good thing. Maybe we will finally get to see Kamal with a Vetri Maaran, a Pa. Ranjith(fingers crossed), or even one with Manikandan These are the stuff that true blue fanboys wait for..