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Evasive to logic, entertainment

If ever a Hari movie, the director of the movies Saamy, Vel and Singam to name a few, were to be shrunk into a bullet-box, it would read as follows: a setting in south Tamil Nadu, with the plot centering on a single town; loud dialogues; knives, machetes, bombs; and melodrama and violence, with the latter in copious amounts. The said characteristics fit the description of his latest movie, Vengai (tiger), to the-T.

Selvam’s (Dhanush) efforts to capture the culprits behind blowing up a railway track, sets the tone for Vengai, which is largely set in Sivaganga and Trichy. Selvam’s father Veerapandi (Rajkiran), a dispenser of justice to the locals, has connections with rowdies in different districts; he convinces 50,000 persons to vote for Rajalingam (Prakash Raj, in familiar territory as villain); and government officials report to him for scrutiny of deals done by Rajalingam (who says we need RTI?) – all for public good. Rajalingam simmers with discontent when his attempts to earn the extra buck illegally get thwarted.

Meanwhile, Selvam is sent to Trichy to seek better employment, where he meets Radhika (Tamanna) inside a bus (think Run, Parthean Rasithaen), who we are told was his childhood sweetheart. She loves him, she loves him not, he loves her, he loves her not, when the director finally decides, after fatiguing the audience, that the two must unite; a twist, however, is introduced, the ending to which the viewer can spot a mile away. Clearly, their puppy-love seems far more interesting than their latter romance.

Actors Nizhalgal Ravi, Oorvashi, Uma Padmanabhan and Paravai Muniyamma feature in blink-and-you-miss roles. The director’s claim of Vengai being a family entertainer needs redefinition, if the violence in its climax, which could be the content for a ‘Learn how to kill humans in 30 days’ book, is considered. To make an engaging movie, Hari could have sought inspiration from his earlier ventures, the half-sweet, half-bitter Thaamaraiparani or Saamy.

Appeared in City Express, the daily supplement of the New Indian Express, on July 11, 2011

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