VIKRAM VEDHA (2017)
Critic - No.120
Casts: R.Madhavan, Vijay Sethupathi, Kathir, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Shraddha Srinath, Prem
Music: Sam C.S
Genre: Crime / Mystery / Thriller
‘Vikram Vedha’ is a cat and mouse chase of conscience between a loyal police officer and dreaded gangster.
Pushkar-Gayathri is a director duo that sparked off the new age film making through their whacky treatment in ‘Oram Po’ back in 2007. I believe that they gave two films that had all the potential to become a game changer in Kollywood. However, the reception for new age films was relatively lower during 2007-2010, a time where masala biggies were dominating. Cut to 2017, the duo strikes back with an exciting combination and concept that has made the right noise this time from the very first announcement.
The film opens up with an animated depiction of Vikramathithiyan and Vedalam tales that blends into the opening title. From then, the mood is set right that we are going to witness a modern adaptation of the folk tale. From the first frame, the director duo captures our attention with the first shoot out sequence. The aim of the protagonist is fixed and never changes till the end – "catch Vedha". The layers that piles up on are what takes our breath away with some detailed twists and turns that comes every 10 minutes.
The film has a neat analogy of conscience that gets played with both characters intelligently. Despite killing 18 people in encounters, Vikram embraces his peace to have killed only the evil ones. When Vedha comes in and plays with that conscience, Vikram questions himself that leads to more revelations. Pushkar-Gayathri intelligently piles up on this mind play that not only the characters go through but also the audiences. Kudos to the small symbolic details they have taken to show the transitions of good and evil. One example is the way Vikram’s shirt change colour from white to shades of black as the film progresses.
Madhavan looks perfect for the role and essays his complex character with tons of experience. He underplays most of the part. Vijay Sethupathi cake walks his role with such finesse and undoubtedly becomes the most likable character of the film. He has three look portraying three stages of life. He shows the transition not only in looks but also in postures and dialogue delivery. That is the amount of detailing the film has.
Among the other characters Kathir (Kirumi fame) looks confident and natural. Shraddha as Madhavan’s wife, essays an interesting role that clashes with Vikram due to her profession. Other supporting actors who have given top class performances are Prem (as Simon), Amarendran (as Sankar) and Vivek Prasanna (as Ravi). Without these excellent supporting actors, the film would have been diluted.
Besides all these positives, the main positive factor that makes this film an worthy experience is Sam C.S.’s BGM and main theme that trigger Goosebumps at many significant parts of the film. While ‘Yaanji’ becomes the crowd favourite, ‘Karuppu Vellai’ theme music rings in our ears even after we leave the cinema hall. This composer is someone to look out for. P.S.Vinod’s raw cinematography is commendable with interesting shade progression in line with the narrative needs. The meticulous sound editing makes the film more intimate, especially during the painstaking action sequences choreographed by Dhilip Subbrayan.
On the flipside, the film takes its time to set off especially in the first half that floats around to set up Vikram’s character. In addition, the tiff between him and his lawyer wife is an excellent angle that looks a little under explored as the film proceeds. Even though the chapter type of tale presentation by Vijay Sethupathi stays true to the inter-textual source of Vikramadhithiyan and Vedalam tales, it looks a little disjointed.
However, with such an intense and thought provoking story that keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish, these are factors that never distracts you from appreciating this quality cinema. Certainly the best of Kollywood in 2017 so far. Awaiting more from this bold, dazzling director duo!
Threaded on a thin line of good and evil, 'Vikram Vedha' is an engrossing, intelligent thriller packed with solid performances, arresting music and nail biting suspense.
CELLULOID METER- 4/5 :