Chennai: With ‘Velayudham’, Vijay is back in form with his old charm on full display.
Director: M Raja
Cast: Vijay, Genelia, Hansika Motwani, Saranya Mohan and Santhanam
His half a dozen releases in the recent past hadn’t exactly set the box office on fire. The weakly etched scripts had taken a toll on his performance too. But with ‘Velayudham’, Vijay is back in form with his old charm on full display. It’s the first time Vijay has joined hands with M.Raja and the director has showcased his hero in the most favourable light.
The film is an almost faithful remake of the Telugu ‘Azad’, which, again, was a rehash of the Amitabh-starrer ‘Main Azaad Hoon’, the common ‘inspiration’ being Capra’s ‘Meet John Doe’.
The story opens with some terrorists plotting to infiltrate into Chennai and plant bombs at strategic places. Bharati, a gutsy journalist (Genelia), who stumbles on the plot, creates a fictional vigilante Velayudham to unnerve the terrorists. The fun part begins when a country simpleton Velayudham (Vijay) turns up in the city, misleading everyone to think that he is the crusader.
But fiction soon turns to reality for the man, as he finds himself getting more involved in the whole affair. The first half moves at a brisk pace with humour, and the songs are lively and spiritedly choreographed and well placed. Fun-filled are the village scenes where Velayudham, who adores his sister (Saranya Mohan), goes all out to fulfill her every wish.
However, the whole preparation for his sister’s marriage is a bit lengthy. The rescue episodes portray a rather naive Vijay (quite oblivious of the goings-on at the time), inadvertently thwarting terrorist plans. Vijay is back in his elements, relishing every moment of his role.
Santhanam as his companion adds to the fun.
The Genelia-Vijay team reunites about six years after ‘Sachein’. Genelia has gotten a substantial role here and fits in adequately. Hansika makes the most unlikely ‘rural belle’, the cousin and intended bride of Velayudham. Always bubbly, she’s there more to provide the oomph factor.
Baddies Vinit kumar and Abhimanyu Singh (of ‘Raktha Charitra’) play their villainy with elan.
The final helicopter-train sequence is well choreographed. It’s the second half that becomes unwieldy and predictable. Many a time, one feels the film has ended while it still continues.
Some crisp editing here would have helped. Unpretentious and engaging for the most part, ‘Velayudham’ should be a treat for Vijay fans.