VAZHAKU EN 18/9 FILM REVIEW
Vazhaku En 18/9 (2012)
There are countless of film makers in the industry who add commercial values to different degrees of extent which includes exaggerating reality. But there are only few gems in the list who show reality as it is and Balaji Sakthivel is one if the prominent gem. If ‘Samurai’ was thought provoking, ‘Kadhal’ was hard hitting. If ‘Kaloori’ was soulful, ‘Vazhaku En 18/9’ is a perfect combination of all these aspects.
*First of all, I would not call this a review as I felt very inferior to review a film with such a calibre; therefore, I will be expressing my appreciation to this quality cinema.
Quick Synopsis: The film starts off with the investigation of an attempt murder case. Vel is brought into the custody for investigation by police inspector Mathuravan (Kumaravel). Vel (Sri) is a fun loving youngster who works in a platform food store. The film then travels in a flashback mode, revealing that Vel falls in love with a village girl named Jothi (Urmila) who works as a maid at a flat. And there lives a modern plus 2 school girl, Aarthy who is often approached by a different school guy, Dinesh (Mithun). These two love stories are shown in parallel and how it intersects at the crucial moments forms the crux of Vazhaku En 18/9.
Story - Screenplay
The main strength of the film is its brilliant screenplay which engages the minute it starts by opening with the climax. It evokes a curiosity immediately and by the time it hits the second half, the audience are soaked in with its slow but steady pace of events. The writer has once again proved his forte in doing ‘cinema verite’ (parallel storytelling).
The characters are well etched out by Balaji and it certainly elevates the film further. Balaji Sakthivel has used certain interesting characters to showcase the shocking truth of society. Be it prostitution, MMS scandals, corruption, politics or poverty, Balaji have nailed the truth intact, leaving the audience to a tremor. He has tastefully handled them without being very preachy. The beautiful nature of sacrifice and the wait for love for a life time has been shown in screen at its best. Mark my words, ‘at its best’.
Moreover, the writer have also cancelled out cliché characters and complicated each character’s skin showing that no character in reality is perfect or pure. The triviality in teenagers on love is nicely shown on screen.
The small details such as the street prostitute character and the struggling street play actor, gives an example of how the writer have tried to collate the civilian stories we witness among our society. The back story about Jothi’s father which motivates her actions at the climax is a small but a crucial detail. These are just examples of how a screenplay can have so much of details without looking messy.
Once again, Balaji have proved that he is a brilliant writer with an eye for detail.
Casting & Performance
The casting for Balaji Sakthivel’s films are always fresh and he always choose actors rather than celebrities which have been always his strength. All the four debutants have given their best by living in their characters.
Sri as Vel is the real show stealer with such a convincing play of a simple fun loving poor youngster. Right from his body language to dialogue delivery, he impresses. Especially in the climax, he steals the show.
Urmila as Jothi, is a silent killer who have acted out with her eyes most of the time. As an acting student, she proves her finesse. She is certainly a promising young talent.
Manisha as Aarthy plays her role of a school girl well. She balances well the innocence and the curiosity of the teenage well.
Mithun as Dinesh is very much convincing as an innocent looking perverted youngster. His transition between the good and the bad in certain scenes are commendable.
Other than these 4 main debutants, there is a whole list of debutants who played the roles of, Dinesh’s politician mother, the prostitute, the blind man, struggling stage play actor and the police inspector Mathuravan. They have all done a great job and as it is a character driven film, the casting was very important. Without disappointment, they have all given their best.
‘Vazhaku En 18/9’ have been a soulful experience, not only because of its screenplay, direction and acting, but also the strong support from the technical team to bring out the realistic romantic crime thriller on screen impact fully.
First to be mentioned, will no doubt be the man behind the lens, Vijay Milton. He has brought out the dryness of the film with earthy tones. The body mount used at many parts looks experimental but interesting.
With a simple DSLR camera, he has brought out that realism of the content well which is certainly praiseworthy.
Guitarist R. Prasana’s music debut is above average with composing just what is required for the film without overdoing in any aspects. All the songs come in with just vocals suits the genuine flow of content. Special mention to certain experimental details in the BGMs such as the cute theme music he gave for the stage play actor.
In overall, kudos to the technical team, for supporting the maker execute his honest script.
‘Vazhaku En 18/9’ is a film straight from heart done with a sharp eye of society. Balaji Sakthivel’s brave attempt and Lingusamy’s strong believe in this non-commercial product is laudable.
This film is a certain milestone in Tamil cinema with such simplicity and novelty in it. The main of the film was to spread awareness and it has done it with a big impact. Both parents and teenagers will find this film disturbingly thoughtful.
The maker’s soul and anger on the society is evident in the film throughout. He also has handled love in a different yet lifelike way. The last scene and shot of the film will never be able to be forgotten by the audience for at least for two nights.
In overall, a huge salute to the whole team of Vazhaku En 18/9.
My thought – A Film Straight from the heart
Personal Experience: 4.5/5