I don’t hate formulaic movies as long as it’s enjoyable. It’s always a safe bet for directors and producers to rake some money. But when it’s half baked and confused, it derails the movie like it does to Velayutham.
Velayudham is inspired (almost a remake) of Telugu movie Azad (2000). Incidentally Nagarjuna starred Azad was inspired by 1989 Amitabh flick, Main Azad Hoon. The inspiration doesn’t stop there. Main Azad Hoon takes the story line from 1941 Frank Capra classic, Meet John Doe. What do you reckon? An Amitabh Bachchan film taking so much time to come to Tamil movies. I will give you a special trivia at the end.
Velayudham is a fictional do-gooder created by Bharathi (Genelia), a freelance journalist to fight the terrorists, who are trying create problems in Chennai. She creates the character when her friends’ killers end up in a freak accident. On the other hand, Velayudham (Vijay), a milkman from a small village comes to Chennai along with his sister (Saranya Mohan), Uncle (MS Bhaskar) and fiancee (Hansika Motwani) to get his hard earned money from a chit fund he invested in. Without his knowledge, he does a few accidental heroics leading to people believing him as the do-gooder Velayudham. Realising the folly, Bharathi confronts him and asks him to take the mantle of eradicating the baddies. He initially wades off but when he sees that his money looted by the chit fund owners, he becomes the Velayudham that every one wants. The story of how Velayudham and Bharathi team up to expose the real culprits and stop the terrorists is told in the terrible second half of the movie.
The biggest problem of Velayudham is the stark difference between the two halves. You will hate the second as much as you love the first one. After a very long time, you can see Vijay in his own comic self and with Saranya Mohan for company and they create ruckus on screen. The build up to the arrival of Velayudham is carefully done but what hurts the movie is the lack of sustenance in pace. Unwanted songs at wrong moments in the movie, needless love track between Genelia and Vijay and even more the silly cat fight track between Hansika and Genelia. The CGI work is pedestrian, camera work by Priyan passes through and could have used VT Vijayan’s editing in the second half. Vijay Antony’s songs are amateurish except for the lovely tune of Mulachu Moonu ilaye. It would be great if he stays away from singing, the opening song was crappy. Hansika doesn’t have much to do except for her hip line shows (boy, she has become sexier, hasn’t she?) and Genelia doesn’t even remotely look like strong headed journalist. Sandhanam is an unexpected dud.
Initially, I thought Raja has taken an original plot but he chose to do a remake this time too. Usually his xerox machines works very fine but somehow he tried the formulaic second half that wrecked the movie, very badly. This time around he has xeroxed a few more things like the attire and jumping sequences from Assassin’s Creed (Ubisoft is planning to sue them), Tron setting for the Maayam Seidhayo song and some more Hollywood movies for his fight sequences. Raja fails miserably in translating the persona of Vijay on to the screen. The bad screenplay and the lingering confusion on how to move the story is evident in the second half. Horrible casting of the villain roles is one another reason for the bad show. Thankfully Vijay doesn’t have any punch dialogues (except for one) to mouth but even the tiny little characters give out punch dialogues in random.
We all know that Velayudham is mass masala flick but it’s doesn’t sustain your interest till the last. The directors don’t understand the fact that people want interesting movies and not combo offer of songs and fights. What could have been a perfect mass masala entertainer becomes just another fizzled out cracker from Vijay’s stable. Can we have a Velayudham to stop such directors?
A painful 1/5 just for the first half comic brilliance of Vijay and Saranya Mohan
P.S: The useless trivia I promised – Main Azaad Hoon was unofficially remade in Tamil during the early 90s. I don’t know the name of the movie but it had Murali in the lead. The character was called Kalki. If anyone of you can trace the movie, contact me (I am doing my research too)