Kaushik L M



The 'Pudhupettai Pillars' save the day, Vai Raja Vai, Aishwarya Dhanush


Vai Raja Vai was heavily promoted with the Kokki Kumaru cameo factor and even before seeing the movie, it was pretty clear that Dhanush was going to garner the whistles and applause thanks to the longevity and the cult status of that particular Pudhupettai character, and also due to his current status as a pan-Indian mass star. Yuvan's peppy and trendy songs hit all the right notes with his fans and further aided the Vai Raja Vai wave.


Furthermore, I was a big fan of Aishwarya Dhanush's first movie 3, its extremes, its top-notch music, the debut director's daring conviction and of course Dhanush's shockingly real and over-the-top performance as a bipolar disorder patient. So before seeing Vai Raja Vai, there was every reason for me to expect something worthy out of it. And given the fact that I saw it on the 2nd day, positive reviews were dime a dozen already and I went in expecting some bang for my buck.

The film is about an ordinary guy Karthik with an extraordinary power (clairvoyance, ESP, intuition, telepathy or whatever you may choose to call it). His life is as mundane as every boy-next-door guy's is and his doting family and friend watch out for him and his needs. But he does have a very pretty girlfriend and gets a good job soon. At the request of his senior office friend (Vivek as Panda), Karthik uses his foreseeing power to make some quick money out of cricket betting. With this huge sum of money arrives trouble at the hands of the villain (Yes, Daniel Balaji is back!!) and the threat to earn an even bigger sum, gambling in a Goa luxury ship. How Karthik manages to get out of this mess and carry on with his life is the crux of the tale.
The film packs enough entertainment and Aishwarya Dhanush dishes out a fairly enjoyable fare where the comedy by the Vivek - Sathish duo, the songs and thumping BGMs of Yuvan and the Dhanush factor are the standout elements. The extended cricket-betting sequence has also worked out well, pre-interval. The film ends with the scope for a combined sequel and it would be riveting to see more of Kokki Kumaru in this lighthearted manner. Dhanush is a bundle of energy in this cameo and his Maari make-over is super-sharp !!
The run time is lesser than 2 hours but the film still feels like a drag at places. The songs are one too many and seem to have been used as fillers to up the run time. SJ.Suryah's bouncy appearance for the Vai Raja Vai song is refreshing, while the rest of the numbers have been filmed in a glossy manner by DoP Velraj with good dance moves from the cast members. The scenes in the ship add to the film's richness and production value.
Gautham Karthik is handsome and has a good boyish physique, but is too stone-faced and restricted in his expressions. The rousing scene in the climax when Gautham stuns Daniel Balaji and gang, with his intuitive powers is one rare occasion when he scores. He has to work more on his repertoire of skills.
Daniel Balaji brings back his trademark style of dialog delivery, aggression and swag. His kurthas catch the eye and it's generally good to see him back on screen in prime form. Priya Anand is required to be pretty, bubbly and nothing more. The sensual Taapsee has some bearing on the film's scenes in Goa, but her lip sync continues to be below-par.
Vivek is in fine fettle with his timing counters and punch lines (the ones involving Chennai's speed-breakers and an abnormally long cigarette are laugh-riots). But some of his scenes with M.S.Bhaskar and Mano Bala are tedious in the second half. Comedian Sathish is typical and he has now ticked Gautham Karthik in his growing list of on-screen hero-friends. The likes of Vasanth and Gayathri Raguram are seen after quite a while and fit the required character descriptions as the supportive father and sister respectively. But actress Sriranjini must feel bored playing similar mother roles in almost every movie of hers.
In all, Vai Raja Vai is a harmless affair and can be categorized as a popcorn entertainer which doesn't have any lofty intentions and achieves what it sets out to. Aishwarya Dhanush shows good versatility compared to her first film and is here to stay!

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