Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu Tamil Movie
In Theaters: USA INDIA
For GVM to make his leading man traverse from being a cop to a gangster, it has taken almost 20 years. In 2003, Suriya starred in 'Kaakha Kaakha' as a cop fighting deadly gangsters. In 2022, we see his leading man Simbhu play the role of a gangster with Venthu Thaninthathu Kaadu (VTK). GVM's adoration towards director Maniratnam's 'Nayagan' is well known. In VTK, we see a similar story of a youth rising to the ranks of a feared gang leader in Mumbai.
The movie is about Muthuveeran (Simbhu), who moves from his village to Mumbai to earn a living and make ends meet. He joins hands with a group of henchmen who take orders from their higher-ups. Circumstances lead him to pursue the violent path wherein he has to to live with a gun by his side. He eventually evolves to the ranks of a gang leader. The first part ends there, and we can assume that a potential sequel is in store.
We've seen several gangster flicks in the past. VTK is the slowest of the lot. The slowness can be felt in establishing the characters, milieu, and dialogue delivery. It was a little refreshing to see all this through the lens of director GVM. Simbhu and GVM vibe well, and they've had successful collaborations in the past.
This movie too promised that, however, the promise was half delivered. The inherent slowness in the narrative and the movie's length proved to be the biggest setbacks for this movie. Gautham wanted to deliver a classic gangster flick. The intentions were accompanied by certain plot points that proved intriguing at first but later fizzled out.
The acquaintance that Simbhu and Neeraj from the rival gang have was less explored and looked to have more potential. Still, I think that might hold some easter eggs for the sequel. Also, Siddhi Idnani's role as Pavai, the Tamil-speaking Mumbaikar was a little off. She started with some promise but later proved to be a mere cog in the wheel.
The songs were engaging and were used to push the narrative forward. However, the romance between Simbhu and Siddhi felt stretched. Again, GVM held an easter egg from VTV by making Simbhu appear younger than Siddhi, and Simbhu's character acknowledges the same. However, the backstory of the lead pair made the audiences root for them to come together.
The gang members were fresh. Richard as Esakki Annachi and Saravanan as Karuthavel Annachi (Karchi) were refreshing. Siddique, the seasoned actor from Kerala, has got a solid negative role. Jaffar, who has become a notorious actor (post 'Vikram') for pulling off the smooth operating criminal's role with ease, has been handed a similar responsibility here too. Appukutty, whom we have seen as a comic actor in the past, has a meaty role.
It was Simbu who uplifted normal scenes and made them into something worthy. Not just his fans could enjoy it, even common audiences can rejoice with the underwhelming actor, yet with a powerful presence.
ARR's music and BGM helped the movie to establish and set the tone. The editing was also slick, and the cinematography by Sidhartha Nuni helped showcase Mumbai in a different colour.
The movie is slow-paced, predictable, and way too long. Gautham's offbeat narrative elements (where he has deviated from his usual style, especially without the annoying voice-over) and Simbhu's excellent performance would make this an intriguing proposition for a one-time watch!