Music : Mani Sharma
Story, Screenplay, Dialogues, Direction: Rudhran
Directed and Produced by Rudhran, Vetri Selvan is a poorly written, uninspiring piece of work which fails to pull off an emotionally connect with the audience, which the film gravely needs. The film deals about the plight of mentally challenged people who live in a makeshift mental asylum. Lastly, a film that resonated with the audiences to an extent on this topic was Samuthirakani’s Poraali.
A primer flashes on screen before the film starts to roll over. It says, “This film is a concoction of fiction and some true events I have witnessed in my life.” Rudhran has also written the story, screenplay and dialogues for the film in addition to calling the shots and funding it. To be fair, though the premise is bog-standard, Rudhran has put in his earnest effort to portray his story on screen, but only to be mocked at by the audiences.
This arises the question of multi-tasking which is majorly dominant in Tamil cinema. He could have contemplated hiring a screenwriter who can efficiently transform his story on screen, or at least avoid dialogues that are cringe-worthy and clichéd one-liners. Who knows, we might have had a better product in hand.
The opening scene involves blaring ambulances, active cops in the rains, and a warden of a hospital breaking down, sobbing and running towards the cops about a tragic murder. The entire film revolves around finding the culprit behind this murder. We cut back to present where Ajmal, Singer Mano and Airtel Super Singer fame Sherif make tirelessly boring small talks throughout the first half which have no significance to the plot in any way.
And then, there is an underused Radhika Apte, one of the finest Indian actresses, who delivers a rather forgettable performance. She plays the role of a lawyer and falls in love with Ajmal because he tries to rescue people from a menacing landslide while others coolly stand as onlookers. Love blossoms. The film is mostly shot in Ooty, but the picturesque beauty of the land was never utilized properly, leave alone the songs.
The second half is much better compared to the bland and rudderless first half. If not for the overdose of melodrama, the film could have made for a decent viewing. And the preachification made it farcical. Treat the mentally challenged people with dignity and self-respect, they are also normal people like us, and more such gems give you a feeling that you are listening to a social reformer on stage. Actor-director Azhagam Perumal has delivered a solid performance.
The murder mystery part is the neatly cooked portion in the film with the suspense maintained till the very end. It manages to keep you guessing and engaged too, but only scarcely. The other heartening part of the film is its running time (2 hours), which puts a smile on your face. Brownie points to editor Kishore for a fine job. Mani Sharma’s comeback looks stale with uninspiring songs and an obsolete background score.