Review by : Behindwoods review board
Starring: Akil, Meera Nandan, Sruthi Nair
Direction: G. Ananthanarayanan
Music: Ilayaraja
Production: Vikatan Talkies
Old habits die hard, that is how the central character of Valmiki manifests himself in the movie. A smalltime crook, pick pocket, swindler, cheat, or whatever you want to call him – he is on the wrong side of the law. Life offers him many chances to change for the better, but he is not able to embrace change that comes into his life, until he has to pay a very heavy price that leaves him devastated. That is the essence of Valmiki.

Akhil plays the local conman, who doesn’t miss the slightest chance to make a buck or two, ready to do anything. That is when he meets Meera Nandan. There is no love at first sight, but he manages to hoodwink her off her necklace without her knowledge. The circumstances lead her to think that he is a good man who saved her from a tough situation. Love happens in due course. Meanwhile, there is another lady in the life of Akhil, though he doesn’t quite realize it. She (Shruthi Nair) thinks that Akhil has a soft corner for her and secretly hopes to marry him. But, both the ladies are unaware of his devious and unlawful ways in life. But, a man cannot hide his real face and character forever especially from women and it is not long
before both the ladies realize that he is not the kind of person with whom one can hope to have a family. Meera Nandan gives him a piece of her mind and walks away while Shruthi Nair gives up the desire of her heart. All is lost for the small time crook! He never cheated in love, he never wanted to. But, it is his ways in life that caught up with him. Just when he thinks that there is no hope, returns Meera Nandan hoping to reform him, to give him a chance. And, when he genuinely wishes and decides to change, fate strikes a cruel blow. The little hope that he had of a life full of love is gone. Does he live a reformed life or does he return to the darkness of crime? Watch Valmiki to find out.

Petty criminals being reformed by beautiful women, love and a few sermons have been said quite a few times. It is the presentation that has to score here, but it falls short of expectations. The director (Ananthanarayanan) has not handled things as deftly as he would have liked to. The events on screen are not really engaging; one can feel one’s mind wandering off from the theater. There are quite a few scenes that appear like staged plays instead of having the finesse of cinema. Having said that, Valmiki is not a bad movie. It has got its heart in the right place, to tell a good story without too many frills. The director has not resorted to adding too many extraneous elements which is commendable. But, he could have made the proceedings a bit more interesting.

Akhil is ideal for the role. The young man can feel good about a job well done. Meera Nandan does not really get into the character and it is rather a detached performance. Shruthi Nair gets a glamorous song and a few scenes, nothing less.

Knowing that it is Ilayaraja’s music, one had expected something more special. The BGM is strangely absent at many places. Most of the songs don’t bear the Maestro’s stamp. A couple of songs Poo sirikkuthu and kooda varuviya are pleasant. Azhagappan’s camera is pleasing in a couple of songs.

Valmiki is a movie that remains faithful to it central plot. But, the director could have spruced up the narrative and made things more interesting. The lack of verve in the screenplay weighs down the film.

Verdict: Crime never pays!

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