Dilani Rabindran



VIP & the Forms of Dhanush! , Dhanush, Velai Illa Pattadhaari


You have 30 seconds to pick out exactly what you like best about Dhanush…
Not enough time, right? It’s not enough because there are so many different facets of the now internationally-recognized actor, whose silver jubilee film Velaiyilla Pattathari is packing cinema screens around the world and it’s tough to pick just one. It’s unlikely that there is a Tamil cinema fan out there today who doesn't love India’s #1 ‘soup boy’ in some way. Even if he wasn't what was expected in a star when he first debuted years ago he soon grew to be the leading man we are now globally united in adoring. But we all love him for different reasons – because there are in fact so many different versions of the savvy and yet eternally innocent-seeming entertainer. Luckily Velraj had the good sense to include a little bit of every Dhanush-avatar in VIP to make it the perfect anniversary celebration of this pan-Indian talent.
The film is certainly a commercial entertainer with the standard formulaic mix of comedy, romance, family emotions, good vs. evil and action. But usually these elements are shared amongst several actors who help paint a full picture together. In VIP, however, we are treated to an all-out Dhanush-fest where he arguably carries all the necessary components of a mass entertainer himself and is simply supported decoratively by his fellow cast mates.
For instance, he takes care of the familial drama quotient and appeals to parents while once again playing a difficult yet dedicated son who challenges his mother and father but essentially puts family first. For the young girls he delivers the fantasy of a subtly romantic boyfriend who falls head over heels for you but waits patiently for you to feel the same way about him. And for the slightly more mature young females he exudes the dream of a caring husband – the kind who would do the dishes with your mom. Those who have come to love him for his humor and musical chops get his best comedic timing and the most hilarious ‘drunken Dhanush’ sequences of his career, along with more of his infectious crooning and poetic lyrics. And those who appreciate the National Award winning actor still get to witness the range of his artistic talent with his dramatic portrayal of loss and regret. And both the guys and gals who come for ‘Dhanush the bad boy’ are treated to well-executed fight scenes where our hero is unleashed in his most confident action persona to date. In a way Dhanush provides both the heroic and villainous quota needed for the film; while shifting gears from an irresponsible youngster to a social leader to a thug when necessary. Dhanush fulfills all the punch dialogues and bravado we needed.
In the end VIP’s running theme is that of Dhanush as an unofficial spokesperson for youth who have the potential to take the world by storm – and if that isn't art imitating life then I don’t know what is.
From the time he began breaking the conventions of Tamil movie heroes, peaking with the international confirmation that he was a consummate entertainer via ‘Kolaveri’, he became a leader for all those ‘single and youngu’ with dreams of beating the odds themselves. His perfected portrayal of an underdog who rises to the top against everyone’s expectations speaks to every young adult who has been told they are ‘good for nothing’ and should just settle rather than strive in life. He gives hope to the guys who dream of talking to the girl next door, and inspires those who can relate to his own boy-next-door simplicity. Although the film was dedicated to the thousands of engineering graduates that India boasts each year, the movie spoke broadly to youth everywhere with the message that ‘nice guys don’t always finish last’.
And so it’s no mystery why VIP is such a hit with audiences everywhere – it is exactly the right type of film to celebrate a quarter-century of Dhanush’s work. It is not overtly grand in story or scope that it will be remembered as his most significant film to date, but it does exactly what a silver jubilee film for an artist who is known for his versatility should do – it celebrates the many avatars of Dhanush that have made him irresistible to audiences of all kind, and reminds us that 25 films is just one milestone on what will be a long and triumphant path for the ‘ultimate underdog’.

Respond to dilani@behindwoods.com
Behindwoods is not responsible for the views of columnists.



This page hosts the views of the authors of the column. The views are generally about films, movie reviews, movie news, songs, music, film actors and actresses, directors, producers, cinematographers, music directors, and all others that contribute for the success or failure of a film. People looking for movies online, movie reviews, movie analysis, public response for a movie, will find this page useful.