Director Sankagiri has the instinct to survive in the film industry. He also has a knack for filmmaking. Vengayam is his debut feature but there's enough novelty in this to await his next movie. He might have had Kollywood schooling but look past that and you'll see an artist going for realism.
His debut feature, Vengayam, wildly confronts astrologers and godmen while sharply questioning their intentions, the logic behind their work and the weight of the consequences on their consciences. Here, they break families, push people to end their lives by blackening their future, sexually assault women and sacrifice little children. A group of teenagers, who've each lost a loved one to astrological verdicts plot to kidnap (and murder) astrologers and godmen. All their mentor had to say was "There's no such thing as astrology. It's just a way to cheat an honest person out of their money. You just need self-belief and courage to succeed in life." And they surrender to this new found knowledge.
The script of Vengayam has worthy content and there's a drive to say something that's rarely said. Well, at least in the way it's said here. Vengayam opens with the message "This story's events and characters are not fictional but inspired from real life." I completely buy it. The characters in the film have suffered a great deal and it is in-character for them to react so violently.
Last year, Azhagarsamiyin Kudhirai broached the same subject with ridicule. Vengayam might be making the mistake of taking it seriously but Sankagiri is sympathetic to its characters and feels strongly about the effect astrology has had on the lives of people. I don't know if he, personally, has had bitter experiences with astrology and astrologers, but I think too big a deal is being made. He disregards the entire profession and encourages a rational approach to life. The film is very aggressive to the work of an astrologer and it appears to stem from personal vendetta. However, I'd prefer watching the work of an angry filmmaker over that of an uninspired one, any day.
The performances are good. I've looked up the cast and crew details online but only Sathyaraj, Alexander, Bhavina are mentioned. They do a fine job here but their performances don't compare to that of the supporting actors, who took me by surprise with their grounded naturalism.
Critic: Rohit Ramachandran
(3 / 5) : Good