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Stars stomp the sky -- Vaanam



Climax, a highpoint Vaanam.

Vaanam


Genre: Drama
Director: Krish
Cast: STR, Bharath, Anushka, Vega
Storyline: Where woes, aspirations, love and agony of five sets of people converge at a point
Bottomline: Not the regular Simbu kind of syrupy romance

A multi-track screenplay that has five pivots running parallel, a protagonist who projects the angst and foibles of an ambitious youngster and a culmination on unexpected lines make Vaanam (U/A) watchable.

Vedam, the Telugu original, had Allu Arjun in the lead. Here it's STR (as Simbu calls himself these days). Director Krish has made minor changes to the Tamil version.

Heavy subjects such as human organ harvesting, terrorism, illiteracy and prostitution are juxtaposed with rap, romance and high-profile lifestyles. So you have the wannabe rock star Bharath, the young, energetic cable operator Raja (Simbu), the poverty-stricken Lakshmi and the beautiful sex worker Saroja chasing their dreams for a better life. And caught in the tweezer-grip of religious prejudice is Rahim.

It is one of those rare occasions when STR goes beyond the theme of undying love and works for other causes too. A clear sign of maturity in the actor's choice of role! His spontaneity in the emotional scenes deserves appreciation. Bharath is in his element in dance and song. It's a complete makeover for Vega, the village damsel of Pasanga, who plays Lasya, a band member and Bharath's love interest. Accented Tamil may be tolerated to an extent, but why does Vega's dialogue delivery sound so affected? Thankfully, she doesn't say much!

Boldness and daring mark Anushka's role — the actor's eyes effectively convey joy, helplessness, agony and anger. If the romance quotient involving STR doesn't work as much as it ought to, even with a lover boy like him at the helm, it's because the glam doll (Jasmine) he's in love with is a tad too wooden in her expressions.

Santhanam is a definite value addition and the last scene lends a new dimension to his acting skill. Sonia Agarwal springs a surprise in a performance-oriented cameo. Returning in another interesting role after Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaaya, Ganesh, also one of the producers of Vaanam, impresses.

Films, such as Babel, have dealt with a series of subplots. If an ensemble cast added to the appeal of Babel, a powerful show from actors of the calibre of Prakash Raj and Saranya Ponvannan keeps the viewer riveted in Vaanam.

Thought-provoking lyrics from Na. Muthukumar (‘Who Am I?' in particular) and Yuvan Shankar Raja's foot-tapping score are the other accentuating features. Anthony's compilation of the shots for the ‘Evandi …' number vests the sequence with incredible style and sheen, and has viewers going delirious with joy!

Pithy, poignant, funny and serious as the situation warrants, dialogue (Gnanagiri) is a highpoint of Vaanam. Climax is another.

Krish seems to have cut and pasted a few scenes from the Telugu original — they give a dubbed-film feel to Vaanam.

Coming after the stupendous hit, VTV, Vaanam should be another significant film in STR's career.

MALATHI RANGARAJAN

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