The dying embers of a forest hearth find yourself elsewhere as a flame-throwing machine.
At least this appears to be the lyrical concept that will need to have ignited a spark in Gautham Menon to adapt Jeyamohan’s quick story, now as Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu ( VTK). At least that’s how VTK opens, with Muthu (Silambarasan) being the ember in a dying hearth who will get thrown out of it, as if to indicate that he’s a survivor. Or fairly, he’s a ball of fireplace himself. The latter sounds extra plausible.
Let’s get this out of the way in which: Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu isn’t your common gangster movie. In truth, it doesn’t even declare to belong to the gangster style. Instead, we get a pleasant procedural drama that’s each a blessing and a curse. More about that later. And Gautham Menon anyway isn’t in telling the story of a gangster; he appears content material with the journey itself. He appears in capturing the lifetime of Muthu in actual time. By doing so, Gautham creates a temper piece with area and leisure that makes it laborious to inform whether or not I loved it to its entirety or if one thing felt misplaced in translation. But what I can confidently say is that the world VTK tries to assemble in the primary half is beautiful — each in phrases of writing and course.
Gautham often has this urgency to get into the protagonist’s head and ‘narrate’ his story, however that has been course-corrected. He has been utilizing voice-over as a tool to additional the narrative. To refill screenplay gaps. In VTK, the narrative itself is procedural in nature. Therefore, there isn’t a urgency to hurry over the story, no urgency for speedy pay-offs. In different phrases, it may be argued that Muthu’s story will be advised solely this approach. When you adapt a literary piece of textual content for display, there’s a tendency to trim reams of pages which may take up the majority of the screentime. Some filmmakers may present this gradual development of life in montages or transition results; Gautham himself has executed it.
Imagine this: for Muthu to go away his village in Naduvakurichi, Tirunelveli, to work as a migrant labourer in Chembur, Mumbai, just about takes about half an hour. And the following 40-odd minutes is devoted to the everydayness of Muthu’s life; the individuals he meets, the tales he listens to. It may very well be mentioned that a few of these bits felt by-product and repetitive. Perhaps that was the purpose. To present the ordinariness of their lives, similar to Vasantha Balan’s Angadi Theru.
Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu
Cast: Silambarasan, Siddhi Idnani, Raadhika Sarathkumar and Neeraj Madhav
Director: Gautham Vasudev Menon
Storyline: The journey of Muthu by means of his childhood as a gangster in Mumbai
In Mumbai, Muthu works at a parotta store run by a Tamil. His co-workers are all from completely different villages from Tamil Nadu however with very comparable tales. They are all invisible those who make a metropolis look seen. But Muthu doesn’t know that the store is an underbelly of the underworld. His superboss is Gaarji, a gangster from Tirunelveli, who has a beef with Kutty Bhai (Siddique), a Malayali gangster. Muthu and his mates nearly dwell twin lives. They anticipate the order to execute and every time they do it, demise performs its course and a brand new occupant arrives on the scene.
We get this terrific line from Muthu’s good friend Saravanan (Appukutty): “They are like massive machines and we are similar to screws on them, not figuring out something concerning the machine.” Come to think about it, the “machine analogy” will get fully-realised in the interval block when Muthu is pressured to take a pistol to defend. As if to counsel that: “He is now not a screw however a machine. Rather, a bullet.”
The methodology of VTK is sluggish growth and you may’t assist however get partially soaked in it. Gautham appears to really respect Jeyamohan’s writing and that reveals all by means of the primary half. In truth, the movie ended for me on the intermission. It felt full. It felt like VTK had made its level already.
The level it was making an attempt to make till now will be traced in Thamarai’s stunning line in the music ‘Marakuma Nenjam’: “Adangadha rattinaththil yerikitu mela mela mela poghum. Adhil ninnu keezha paartha pullipilliya thaane thonum. Adhu pola bodha unda engum.”
This “adangatha rattinam” turns into a metaphor on Muthu when he will get sucked into the circle of violence. And how he falls into the pit is the place many of the meat is. Right as much as this level, VTK was straight up my alley. Up until now, it felt in contrast to something we’ve got seen in a Gautham Menon movie. And the second the second half begins, it heads in the direction of a slippery slope and again into the Gautham Menon zone. But that’s not the principle concern.
The drawback with VTK is… it’s simply too ordinary for an expansive gangster saga. Written by Jeyamohan and Gautham Menon for the display, VTK’s screenplay wanted higher dramatic factors. This is to not be mistaken with “mass” moments. Please, no. Compare the intermission scene of VTK with what Vetri Maaran did in Vada Chennai and you’ll realise the place I’m going with this. The staging ought to have been executed in such a approach that we really feel participative and not distant from the character. Here, we simply observe Muthu taking over the revolver. It does nothing. But you get the concept of the second half. It is in Thamarai’s lyrics once more: “Engu thodangum. Engu mudiyum. Aatrin payanam.” The selection that Muthu has made is “aatrin payanam”. He doesn’t know the place it would finish, so can we. Again, VTK is simply too ordinary. Too by-product.
There are, however, positives. This is Simbu’s finest performing in ages for the easy motive that we, fortunately, don’t see Simbu in the movie. The actor is actually exceptional as Muthu, particularly in the Mumbai portion. Put him in a body crowded with individuals and it’s very probably you could not even discover him. That is how a lot we don’t see Simbu in this movie. He even will get the Tirunveli dialect proper and there appears to be a acutely aware effort to make sure that the character doesn’t slip into conversational Tamil. Early on, when somebody asks Muthu to put on slippers, he says, “pirakku pottukaren” versus the standard “apprum”.
Simbu is as invisible in VTK as Gautham Menon. This is a welcome departure for the filmmaker who has typically come below hearth for making the identical movies once more. Gautham too has tried doing one thing completely different this time — actually! There are just a few lengthy pictures that merely didn’t work for me. But my favorite shot is when Muthu goes to a textile store the place he meets Pallavi (Siddhi Idnani, in a badly-acted and bad-written romance) for the primary time. We see them having a chat till cinematographer Siddhartha Nuni turns the digicam away — it’s a mirrored image in a mirror. Gautham does this once more in a later scene for the alternative impact, as if to close Muthu’s advances.
The filmmaker has additionally taken just a few criticisms of his earlier movies — with regard to normalising stalking — for the higher. So, when Muthu stalks Pallavi, she shoots him down. Not precisely that however we at the very least get to listen to the lady say, “This is flawed” and not fall for his charms. Likewise, in a later scene, when Muthu throws a wad of money in entrance of Pallavi’s father, asking for his approval to marry her, we get to see Pallavi calling this behaviour out. For, solely a scene earlier, we see Muthu saving Pallavi from her boss’ sexual harassment.
The largest optimistic has received to be how well-rounded the screenplay construction is: the place it begins is the place the movie additionally ends. Which is why I’m not precisely certain what to make of the final 10 minutes that teases for a second installment. For me, the movie ended throughout the intermission.
Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu is at present working in theatres