Velayudham, part comedy part action sails through both streams smoothly until it is struck and sunk by crude melodrama.
| Rohit Ramachandran
The State Home Minister precedes his disastrous suggestion to Pakistani terrorists with "I am the worst person in Tamil Nadu". The next ten seconds introduces us to the busy, lively streets of Chennai. And then, boom- an explosion.
Bharathi (Genelia D'Souza), a newspaper reporter, is deeply affected by the event. "Journalists are supposed to help people out in such situations, not use it for personal gain," she reprimands her colleague for bringing pictures from the scene. Moved by what was just said, he decides to give everything he has to help find the ones who did this. A third wheel tags on. In no time they find themselves at a 'journalist restricted' place that has terrorists torturing women and counting black money. The journalist group is soon on the run with the terrorists trailing behind. A series of accidents take place and the last man (woman in this case) standing is Bharathi, crawling with bleeding guts (both literally and figuratively). That, however, is of little importance to her. Her dedication to her work numbs any sort of physical or mental pain that could've been caused by witnessing or experiencing suffering. Therefore, she fabricates a letter of threat to the terrorists from an imaginary superhero, Velayudham.
Circumstances place a real person, also Velayudham (Vijay), in more situations that cause the terrorists to misfire. All this happens when Velayudham is making monetary arrangements for his sister's wedding. At a hospital ward, Bharathi notices this on a news channel to which she responds by plucking her intravenous line and going to a temple to thank Lord Muruga for letting her fantasy come to life. A pleased Lord Muruga gets the real Velayudham to introduce himself by slipping on a banana peel, falling on her and then redeeming himself for it by patting her rear end.
The women in Velayudham's life are his sister Kaveri (Saranya Mohan), his smitten cousin Vaidehi (Hansika Motwani) and Bharathi. They exist as just that. These characters are caricatures whose existence we're barely aware of. As Kaveri's marriage is being set up for an interruption, we begin to slowly distance ourselves from the film. This is only moments away from the film's lowest point, which has Bharathi crying after heartbreak. It is as if we are just being acquainted with the character. Which one of them hooks up with Velayudham is of little interest and could've been excluded. The moral of the story is "We all have inner courage and it is this courage that is called Velayudham." What happened to director M.Raja's Velayudham? Couldn't he take the risk of excluding the insufferable and pointless love story? Among other characters is Speed (Santhanam), an always-a-step-behind thief who is after Velayudham's money.
The first half of the movie is entertainment, undiluted. Vijay is genuinely funny and Santhanam complements the hilarity with his prompt dialogue delivery. The second half of this situational comedy swerves into action hero territory. Vijay is enigmatic in his action hero apparel and radiates with hidden energy. The action sequences with him are swiftly executed and pin you to your seat. Velayudham, part comedy part action sails through both streams smoothly. Just when I thought Velayudham was doing a good job of entertaining us while keeping its head low, it defiantly sunk itself into sanctimony with crude melodrama. Just to show us that the actors can cry. Have they already begun auditioning for their next film? Also, what was with the running time? 160 minutes. It's not like it was a detailed story that couldn't be wrapped up. Raja needs to realize that everything is good in moderation. Adding unnecessary fight sequences and an extra music number only dampens the experience.
Critic: Rohit Ramachandran
2.5 out of 5 (Fairly Good)
WHAT THE RATINGS MEAN:
0.0 - 1.4 : Poor
1.5 - 1.7: Poor, A Few Good Parts
1.8 - 2.3: Average
2.4 - 2.9: Fairly Good
3.0 - 3.4: Good
3.5 - 5.0: Very Good