I live in the city of Chennai where sometimes the dark clouds come together as if it’s going to pour down like a waterfall but it will end up as a dry day. Inappropriate example? I don’t think so. Vaanam was like the Chennai Clouds. Vaanam is a remake of a Telugu hit Vedham directed by Krish. It has Silambarasan, Bharath, Anushka, Prakash Raj, Saranya, Jasmin Bhasin and Santhanam in the lead with Yuvan Shankar Raja music , Nirav Shah’s cinematography and Antony’s editing. The movie is produced by VTV Ganesh (also does a cameo) and interestingly the production company is called “VTV Productions”.
Vaanam has a parallel narration where the life of 5 different people collide on a New Year’s day. Cable Raja (Silambarasan) along with Santhanam collects cable money in his locality wants to take his girl friend Priya (Jasmin Bhasin) to a New Year’s party and he wants to make quick money in a day for that. Bharath (Bharath) comes from Army martyrs family aspires to become a rock star travels with his team from Bangalore to Chennai on road. They meet with different people and end up in a hospital due to an accident. Saroja (Anuskha) is a commercial sex worker, who moves from the clutches of her agent to make an independent sex work business of her own ends up in the hospital as her transgender friend gets stabbed. Revathy (Saranya) comes to the same hospital to sell her kidney so that she can save her child from a money lender. Silambarasan steals the money from them and then gives back to them when he realizes his mistake. Rahim (Prakash Raj) comes from Coimbatore searching for his brother who left the family after a communal incident. He ends up in the same hospital, when he is shot by the police. A terrorist attack ensues in the same hospital and how the lives of these people takes a sharp turn is shown in an not so impressive way.
The biggest strength of Vaanam is the screenplay and the sharp dialogues. The deft screenplay never loses pace and the casting is impeccable. One of the well written movies in the recent past with respect to the dialogues. For instance, Anushka joking that the freshness is the most important thing in sex work and Simbu’s revelation to his girl friend are simply superb. The movie is sprinkled with such gems and it does prick you at the right moments. Even the scenes have been taken directly from different social problems like the Ram Sena attack on young people, stereotyping of Muslims as terrorists and kidney selling scam. The other biggest asset is the non-heroism of the lead characters. There are no sky high jumps from Simbu nor punch dialogues. He just proves why he is a better actor when he is with a good director. The emotions he portray during the stealing scene are fantastic. Bharath, on the other hand excels with his restrained acting. Anushka cake walks her role while Prakash Raj and Saranya prove once again why they are the best when it comes to character roles. The transgender character and Saranya’s father in law sticks to your heart. Santhanam gives a laugh riot with his timing and his exchanges with Ganesh can’t be ignored. Yuvan’s Evan di Unna Pethan will become the new anthem of young boys (much against the displeasure of girls and their fathers) while Who am I is from a completely different genre. But best of the lot is Vaanam and squeezes your heart with wonderful lyrics.
With such wonderful performances Vaanam should have been a classic, but there are a few nuances which were not taken care. The terrorist attack is not elaborate and needs a little bit of detail. The reasons behind the attack and the sudden turn of events seems to be forced rather progressive. May be due to censorship issues, it should have been curtailed. Yuvan’s back ground score picks up only in the last half hour and he sounds lame during the first half. The unwanted songs (No money, No honey), extended sequences of Simbu chase and unestablished portrayals gives a less impressive fare. This kind of a movie needs to create a impact and when I come out of the theaters I should talk about it to my friends. If you ask me whether I did with Vaanam, I should say I didn’t but I wish I did.
A 3/5 for one of the well written movies with good performances