Sunday, September 3, 2017

Vikram - Vedha

Last time I wrote a blog on a Tamil film was for Aranya kandam, a film that broke all stereotypes and had a fantastic twist at the end. (read about it here)

And after many a summer, here I am writing my next blog on Vikram Vedha.

Spoiler Alert: If you plan to watch the film, which you must, please read this blog after watching the film.

Intelligent crime films are always a turn on. Being Cyrus and Aranya kandam were the last of the two in this genre that excited me.

This film was strongly recommended and the premise sounded interesting and I had never seen this guy Vijay Sethupathi before and decided to watch the film over the weekend.

I ended up watching it twice over the weekend and am still in a daze.

What just happened? This film is a total knockout.

This is Oscar material. Cat and Mouse reversed.

My non-Tamil friends can appreciate the film thanks to sub-titles, however it is the group that understands Tamil who will appreciate it more.

It is the same difference between what I and a Czech native would experience from a Kundera work.

Based on the mythological Vikram and Betal where each story ends in a moral question, this film sets about adapting it to perfection in the current world of cop vs gangster.

Vijay Sethupathi’s performance is riveting. His casual delivery of rural slanged Tamil, with just the eyes conveying the simmering rage from within, clarity of thought, unwavering in purpose, his almost school teacher attitude in explaining obvious things to an adamant officer (are you with blinkers? Won’t you ever learn?), the body language that oozes magnetism are all so perfect that he would have an impossible task of bettering this performance in his lifetime.

Vikram Vedha will be to him what Casablanca was to Humphrey Bogart, A Few Good men was to Tom Cruise, To Kill A Mocking Bird was to Gregory Peck, The Dead Poet’s Society was to Robin Williams, A scent of a woman was to Al Pacino, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s nest was to Jack Nicholson, Nayagan was to Kamal Hassan, A Wednesday was to Naseeruddin Shah…

There are multiple websites that thrive on picking out inconsistencies, errors, discontinuities and contradictions in a film. Those sites will have a herculean task in taking apart VV.

The director duo must be credited for a cast iron story line with no loose ends.

Each small part of every frame is relevant and explained.

Each apparently trivial aspect takes on an importance of gargantuan proportion as the story unravels.

Be it the scar on Pulli’s hand, the left-handedness of Chandra, a linguistic curse of a goon or a recollection of a chance confession of Simon.

The mock respect that Vedha shows to Vikram (Viram Sir, Vikram Sir) and his confidence in narrating the three stories which gradually but confidently blurs the clear demarcation between good and evil, are testimony to his versatility.

His entrance scene, reminiscent of Kevin Spacey in Se7en, is shamelessly thunderous.

Often we attribute non-existing nuances into the narration. Maybe it was just my imagination but I would like to attribute the aspect to the talented director duo. In the first scene where the two meet each other, Vikram is in a pristine white shirt and Vedha is in black. The shade of Vikram’s shirt / T-shirt gradually changes to grey and reaches a matching black by the time we reach the spellbinding climax.

Also just before the film ends, it was the turn for Vikram to ask Vedha (Role reversed) “Vedha Sir, (a mock respect returned, this time Vikram calling Vedha with respect, a significant shift from the earlier addressing of him as dog, scum etc…) what should I do now?”

And one word about the background music.

It is flippant at the most unexpected moments, tender when Pulli and Vedha are together and haunting for most part.

The BGM breathes life into the film. This is how a BGM score should be.

Here is a sample. This has the "Catch-phrase" - Oru kadhai sollatta Sir? (Shall I tell you a story?), the flippant music and the beat that breathes life to this film...


There is one particular scene towards the climax where Vedha excels in my honest opinion.

Completely exasperated with the pigheadedness of Vikram, he has this hyper scene where he is giving an example of a stupid villager who lost something here but was searching for it there because it was well lit where he was searching.

The above paragraph does no justice to this mind-blowing scene.

Hats off to the director, the dialogue write and Vijay Sethupathi for this gold mine of a scene.

And what a stunning climax.

I like open-ended climaxes, where we get dragged into the filmmaker’s mind and start guessing what would happen.

My one earnest request to Pushkar-Gayathri duo – please do not spoil this masterpiece with a sequel.