Saturday, October 1, 2011

Vedi: Formulaic and repetitive

Appeared in City Express, the daily supplement of The New Indian Express, on October 3, 2011

“You, a Tamilian, eh? What makes you people a daring race?” a goon questions the hero. In reply, the hero, Vishal, slam-dunks a glass bottle through his adversary’s mouth that pierces through the back of his head, leaving his henchmen too stunned to react. Vedi (U/A), a remake of the Telugu film Shouryam, comprises similar scenes and a plot that has been done to death by Kollywood’s honchos.
Vedi (the cracker) has Vishal essaying the role of Prabhakaran, an IPS officer in search of his long-lost sibling, who also has to overcome his nemesis (Sayaji Shinde) along the way. He joins as a physical education trainer at a college in Kolkata, where he comes in contact with Balu (Vivek), a gym instructor, whose desperation to obtain a muscular figure forces him to nestle balloons inside his shirt. 
Paro (Sameera Reddy), a student in the same college, gets smitten by Prabhakaran. However, beneath Prabhakaran’s placid exterior is a monster waiting to erupt.
If there were ever a factor that hurts Vedi the most, it is its refusal to maintain its suspense. Paro bumps into Prabhakaran in a road, raising hopes that they will meet again soon. And presto, the very next scene has Prabhakaran in her college. Deepa (Poonam Kaur), Paro’s classmate, is a source of help to Prabhakaran; lest it does not act as a spoiler, the audience gets a mountain of a hint that something else awaits the two. Meanwhile, Eshwaramoorthy (Sayaji Shinde), a local don, seeks vengeance against the person who had jailed him. The first half proceeds sans too many glitches, but the latter half runs itself into a rut, what with the director’s fetish for detail in the form of a never-ending stream of flashbacks.
The script alternates between Thoothukudi, where the villain is holed up, and Kolkata, with its iconic landmarks, the trams, the Writer's Building and the Howrah Bridge. Vishal, after an offbeat role in Avan Ivan, returns to playing characters tailor-made for him, flaunting his sinewy looks. Sameera Reddy provides the necessary eye-candy. And was that Devi Sri Prasad in the opening song? Sophie Chaudhary makes a fleeting appearance in an item number. Vivek spoofs Apoorva Sagodharargal, Endhiran, Malayoor Mambattiyan and a host of other movies in his comedy track.
The fights may be modern; replete with freeze-frame techniques and The Matrix-like stunts, but the storyline is definitely Stone Age stuff. This cracker fails to light even its fuse.