‘Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu’ film evaluation: Simbu and Gautham Menon are very good on this very peculiar gangster drama

Simbu is as invisible as Gautham Menon in ‘Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu’ and this can be a welcome departure for them. But, one thing feels incomplete

Simbu is as invisible as Gautham Menon in ‘Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu’ and this can be a welcome departure for them. But, one thing feels incomplete

The dying embers of a forest fireplace find yourself elsewhere as a flame-throwing machine.

A minimum of this appears to be the lyrical concept that should have ignited a spark in Gautham Menon to adapt Jeyamohan’s brief story, now as Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu ( VTK). A minimum of that’s how VTK opens, with Muthu (Silambarasan) being the ember in a dying fireplace who will get thrown out of it, as if to suggest that he’s a survivor. Or slightly, he’s a ball of fireside himself. The latter sounds extra plausible.

Let’s get this out of the best way: Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu isn’t your common gangster movie. In actual fact, it doesn’t even declare to belong to the gangster style. As an alternative, we get a pleasant procedural drama that’s each a blessing and a curse. Extra about that later. And Gautham Menon anyway isn’t all for telling the story of a gangster; he appears content material with the journey itself. He appears all for capturing the lifetime of Muthu in actual time. By doing so, Gautham creates a temper piece with house and leisure that makes it arduous to inform whether or not I loved it to its entirety or if one thing felt misplaced in translation. However what I can confidently say is that the world VTK tries to assemble within the first half is beautiful — each by way of writing and course. 

Gautham normally has this urgency to get into the protagonist’s head and ‘narrate’ his story, however that has been course-corrected. He has been utilizing voice-over as a tool to additional the narrative. To refill screenplay gaps. In VTK, the narrative itself is procedural in nature. Subsequently, there isn’t any urgency to hurry over the story, no urgency for rapid pay-offs. In different phrases, it may be argued that Muthu’s story could be informed solely this fashion. Once you adapt a literary piece of textual content for display screen, there’s a tendency to trim reams of pages which may take up the majority of the screentime. Some filmmakers would possibly present this gradual development of life in montages or transition results; Gautham himself has performed it. 

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Think about this: for Muthu to go away his village in Naduvakurichi, Tirunelveli, to work as a migrant labourer in Chembur, Mumbai, just about takes about half an hour. And the subsequent 40-odd minutes is devoted to the everydayness of Muthu’s life; the folks he meets, the tales he listens to. It could possibly be mentioned that a few of these bits felt by-product and repetitive. Maybe that was the purpose. To point out the ordinariness of their lives, similar to Vasantha Balan’s Angadi Theru

Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu

Forged: Silambarasan, Siddhi Idnani, Raadhika Sarathkumar and Neeraj Madhav

Director: Gautham Vasudev Menon

Storyline: The journey of Muthu by way of his childhood as a gangster in Mumbai

In Mumbai, Muthu works at a parotta store run by a Tamil. His co-workers are all from completely different villages from Tamil Nadu however with very comparable tales. They’re all invisible folks that make a metropolis look seen. However Muthu doesn’t know that the store is an underbelly of the underworld. His superboss is Gaarji, a gangster from Tirunelveli, who has a beef with Kutty Bhai (Siddique), a Malayali gangster. Muthu and his associates virtually reside twin lives. They watch for the order to execute and every time they do it, loss of life performs its course and a brand new occupant arrives on the scene.

We get this terrific line from Muthu’s buddy Saravanan (Appukutty): “They’re like huge machines and we’re similar to screws on them, not figuring out something in regards to the machine.” Come to think about it, the “machine analogy” will get fully-realised within the interval block when Muthu is pressured to take a pistol to defend. As if to recommend that: “He’s now not a screw however a machine. Relatively, a bullet.”

The strategy of VTK is sluggish growth and you may’t assist however get partially soaked in it. Gautham appears to actually respect Jeyamohan’s writing and that exhibits all by way of the primary half. In actual fact, the movie ended for me on the intermission. It felt full. It felt like VTK had made its level already. 

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The purpose it was making an attempt to make till now could be traced in Thamarai’s stunning line within the music ‘Marakuma Nenjam’: “Adangadha rattinaththil yerikitu mela mela mela poghum. Adhil ninnu keezha paartha pullipilliya thaane thonum. Adhu pola bodha unda engum.”

This “adangatha rattinam” turns into a metaphor on Muthu when he will get sucked into the circle of violence. And how he falls into the pit is the place a lot of the meat is. Proper up up to now, VTK was straight up my alley. Up until now, it felt in contrast to something we now have seen in a Gautham Menon movie. And the second the second half begins, it heads in direction of a slippery slope and again into the Gautham Menon zone. However that’s not the principle problem.

The issue with VTK is… it’s simply too peculiar for an expansive gangster saga. Written by Jeyamohan and Gautham Menon for the display screen, VTK’s screenplay wanted higher dramatic factors. This isn’t to be mistaken with “mass” moments. Please, no. Examine the intermission scene of VTK with what Vetri Maaran did in Vada Chennai and you’ll realise the place I’m going with this. The staging ought to have been performed in such a means that we really feel participative and never distant from the character. Right here, we simply observe Muthu taking on the revolver. It does nothing. However you get the concept of the second half. It’s in Thamarai’s lyrics once more: “Engu thodangum. Engu mudiyum. Aatrin payanam.” The selection that Muthu has made is “aatrin payanam”. He doesn’t know the place it can finish, so will we. Once more, VTK is just too peculiar. Too by-product.

There are, however, positives. That is Simbu’s greatest appearing in ages for the straightforward cause that we, fortunately, don’t see Simbu within the movie. The actor is actually outstanding as Muthu, particularly within the Mumbai portion. Put him in a body crowded with folks and it’s very doubtless chances are you’ll not even discover him. That’s how a lot we don’t see Simbu on this movie. He even will get the Tirunveli dialect proper and there appears to be a aware effort to make sure that the character doesn’t slip into conversational Tamil. Early on, when somebody asks Muthu to put on slippers, he says, “pirakku pottukaren” versus the standard “apprum”.

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Simbu is as invisible in VTK as Gautham Menon. It is a welcome departure for the filmmaker who has usually come beneath fireplace for making the identical movies once more. Gautham too has tried doing one thing completely different this time — actually! There are just a few lengthy photographs that merely didn’t work for me. However my favorite shot is when Muthu goes to a textile store the place he meets Pallavi (Siddhi Idnani, in a badly-acted and bad-written romance) for the primary time. We see them having a chat till cinematographer Siddhartha Nuni turns the digital camera away — it’s a mirrored image in a mirror. Gautham does this once more in a later scene for the alternative impact, as if to close Muthu’s advances.

The filmmaker has additionally taken just a few criticisms of his earlier movies — with regard to normalising stalking —  for the higher. So, when Muthu stalks Pallavi, she shoots him down. Not precisely that however we at the least get to listen to the girl say, “That is incorrect” and never fall for his charms. Likewise, in a later scene, when Muthu throws a wad of money in entrance of Pallavi’s father, asking for his approval to marry her, we get to see Pallavi calling this behaviour out. For, solely a scene earlier, we see Muthu saving Pallavi from her boss’ sexual harassment.

The largest constructive has acquired to be how well-rounded the screenplay construction is: the place it begins is the place the movie additionally ends. Which is why I’m not precisely positive what to make of the final 10 minutes that teases for a second installment. For me, the movie ended throughout the intermission.

Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu is at present working in theatres

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