The International Movie Review

A venture

Vellitherai – Genuine critique on the star centric culture

Posted by harino1 on March 9, 2008

‘Vellithirai’ takes a sharp and critical look at the way the male stars dominate the film world. It does it in a telling manner with satirical element. Thankfully, the movie hasn’t overlooked the reality element in its pursuit of providing an entertainer.

Director Viji and his team have lived up to the expectation in bringing out the Tamil adaptation of Mohanlal starrer Malayalam flick ‘Udhayananu Tharam’. The movie justifies the pre release hype by getting many things including execution and performances right.

‘Vellithirai’ is all about two friends who want to make it big in tinsel town. Saravanan (Prithviraj), a well-informed person in filmmaking wants to become a director. Kannaiya (Prakash Raj) on the other hand has a dream to become a big star without trying to develop the necessary qualities to become one. Saravanan is a genuine person, who believes in hard work and sincerity, while Kannaiya is ready to become a star at any cost.

Kannaiya, – with middle aged looks and hefty figure with a big tummy is obviously not a hero material – is determined to become one. He is roaming around the studios and tirelessly meeting the big weights of the industry for more than ten years. His philosophy is simple: once you start doing small roles, you will end up doing small roles all over your life. So he wants to become hero at any cost. He is ready to do anything.

Anything including cheating. He betrays his friend Saravanan by looting his script and gets a chance to act by using the finely written script. He becomes an actor and with a stunning victory in his debutant movie he soon becomes a star. Kannaiya becomes Dilipkanth. He appoints a manager (M.S. Bhaskar) even before his first release. He develops the negative traits of stardom sooner. He starts dictating terms.

Saravanan, on the other hand meets with series of failures. He marries the top heroine Mythily (Gopika) who loves him so much. Mythily, who is tortured by his brother Dinesh (Sampathraj) comes to his lover’s house and marries him. She gives up acting while Saravanan is struggling in his life. The failures continue and Mythily decides to part Saravanan to help him come up in his life.

Saravanan is deeply hurt and dejected. He loses faith in life. But he gets a chance to prove himself. A producer (Sarath Babu), who gave the lift to Kannaiya, sympathises his position and gives him a chance. There is one hiccup. He has to make the film featuring the star who sells. He has to cast Dilipkanth.

Saravanan accepts this condition, as he is craving for a chance. The development puts the genuine filmmaker and a superfluous star against each other. The filmmaker is not allowed by the star to do what he wants to do. The creator is being constantly hurt by the star. The battle intensifies and reaches a boiling point.

The rest of the movie tells you who has the last laugh. The brilliantly conceived and executed climax settles things in a convincing manner.

Director Viji has deftly adapted the original and has come out triumph in giving as an engaging movie with right mix of comedy, drama, sentiment, and last but not the least, reality. He has boldly taken the star centric culture to task. He has done this without hurting anyone, as he presents the whole thing in a tongue-n-cheek manner. The struggle of the aspirants in Kollywood is realistically portrayed. He has penned some sharp and meaningful dialogues that reveal the reality of the show world. Viji has come out with flying colours in his debutant venture as director. His execution of climax deserves special mention.

There are a few problems in the tightly written script. The way Mythily gets rough treatment in her house looks clichéd. Her separation with Saravanan is not convincing. The writer (Viji) has taken too much liberty in portraying the sudden and miraculous growth of the star. While his critique on the star culture is sharp and reasonable, he has failed to look at the picture in total. There is a big silence about the other stars and other big weights in the field, who could make some impact on the way the new star behaves. Moreover, no star is assured of continuous success as our hero experiences. The field has its own checks and balances, which the director hasn’t bothered to portray.

While the movie could be appreciated and debated within the film world, one wonders what it offers to an ordinary film goer, who doesn’t care about the nuances of the tinsel town. However, you cannot help appreciating the efforts if you look at the film as a genuine attempt on looking in to a popular and powerful entertainment industry.

Prithviraj is flawless as an aspiring director. His character demands underplaying and he exactly does he same. He is able to express the anger and agony of being cheated with aplomb. The way he reacts to the betrayal stands out.

Prakash Raj steals the show with his colourful and powerful performance. The way his body language change as he becomes a star is remarkable. He has credibly depicted the various shades of the character with amazing ease. The versatile actor has once again proved his mettle as a powerful performer, who could carry the film on his shoulders.

Gopika looks pleasant and acts well. She provides some romantic relief and sentimental dimension to the fare.  Lakshmi Rai as a popular heroine is credible.

Sarath Babu looks fresh. His dignified handling of the character is an asset to the film. M.S. Baskar and Charlie are impressive while Sampathraj in a relatively weaker role leaves an impression. Trisha in a guest appearance is pleasing.

Young musician G.V. Prakash Kumar has done well in back ground score. The songs are hummable.


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