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Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu (2006)
VV - The Definitive Review
Expectations were between mediocre and high after viewing Minnale (which was good) and Kaake Kaake (which was bad although many don't think so). This movie is highly reflective of the amount of experience that Gautham Menon has gathered from his past projects, which he uses to bring a highly polished and refined viewing experience with perhaps a little excess of shock value. But from this trend, he is no doubt going to be one of the best directors/writers in the Indian cinema.
VV starts off with the line "Another day in a police officers life" and you thus expect it to be some clichéd formula of the tough cop chasing the local rowdies as usual. Indeed, thats how the first few minutes of the movie are - with Kamal beating up some local thugs with style. His acting and expression however, give the same old scenes a fresh feel. After that is the excellent title song ironically titled Kaarka Kaarka, which kind feels ripped off but is still excellent when used in the movie and the action scenes. It fits in perfectly.
You would probably imagine that this movie is a Kaaka Kaaka clone/money-spinner with a better actor and indeed, there is a strong resemblance to that movie in many scenes. But a high degree of polishing, refinement and a better cast make it a completely different experience. Needless to say, Kamal Hassan's acting is as excellent as expected.
The first part of this movie starts off as a murder mystery and a series of gory, and I mean extremely gory by Indian movie standards, murders and an investigation into this, despite no clues about the possible suspects. Then all of a sudden, Prakash Raj (who I am becoming less and less a fan of due to his banal and repetitive acting style) out of the blue, remembers an incident about the suspects and these guys indeed turn out to be the villains at the end. This is the first major flaw in storytelling. The only excuse used here was that the Police never collected any details about these guys and hence, are now back to square one. You've all probably seen similar Murder mysteries in Hollywood but nothing similar can easily be found in Indian Cinema.
Instead of keeping the murder mystery till the very end with a "whodunit?" flavor and the villain turning out to be the "least expected" guy, Gautham has tried an alternative approach and the bad guys are quickly introduced before the second half of the movie. Most people complain that the second half of the movie really dragged. While the villains turned out to be excellent and disturbing actors in their roles, they dominate and escape Kamal Hassan and the Police a bit too frequently and too easily and that also feels a bit dumb.
Romance is thrown in as expected and fills gaps here and there. Due to high degree of polishing, it is somewhat better than whats seen in most other Tamil Movies. It is highly predictable that jyothika would get kidnapped by the villains and thats exactly what happens. To pursue his romantic life in the middle of a crisis and in full exposure of the bad guys, is once again devoid of any logic which further weakens the second half. The latter could have used some better writing, devoid of any romance and used some twists and more action. The ending is quite sudden and disappointing and there's no great twist.
This movie is much more than "Another day in the life of...." but falls short of logic in a few scenes and eventually gets predictable. The gore is very realistic and used to full effect although some people may end up being more disturbed rather than appreciative. Foul language (for realism's sake) is also extensive in this movie. The screenplay is brilliant as is the cinematography. The New York sequences have been brilliantly done and that scene with the bodies in New York was truly unbelievably well done.
By both Tamil and Indian Cinema standards, it could very well be a landmark film and a ground breaker but it is not without many flaws. For a Tamil movie with absolutely no comedy or comic relief, it keeps you engrossed till the very end. Perhaps Gautham should team up with Shankar in the future to make an explosive combination of Gautham's realism plus Shankar's creativity.
The U/A rating of VV is not justified through extensive gore, foul language and many scenes of rape. This may attract families to the cinema and impressionable little kids may get disturbed. Were the CBFC on crack as usual?