Kollywood
VIP 2 tries to piggyback on the massive success of the 2014 engineers’ pride, VIP - but fails.
Twitter/DhanushKRaja

Raghuvaran and his much-loved Mofa, along with most of the cast members from the first part, are back with VIP 2.

Kajol, Tamil cinema’s Minsara Kanavu girl, and, also the major addition to the second installment, sashays around in designer clothes and (expensive) sunglasses. Whenever she’s on screen, she livens it up like a pro. Her exchanges and clashes with the villain-named hero, Raghuvaran, are well-written.

However, the fault-lines are visible for everybody to see as her Tamil lines seem like they are being prompted. When Kajol’s Vasundhara speaks in English, it’s devoid of the second-language status. It comes quite naturally to her, whereas her Tamil dialogues, which are slow and ineffective, present her as the outsider to Dhanush’s Raghuvaran. The latter bags a project to build a hospital by just being humble in his approach (using the word “Ayya” instead of “Sir” to talk to an elderly man is a drop in the ocean, as far as his character in concerned).

In the sequel, Raghuvaran has stopped eyeing the girl-next-door (Shalini, played by Amala Paul) as she lives under the same roof as he does. They are married in VIP 2, and their marriage is in trouble.

No, Raghuvaran isn’t the one who doesn’t know how to maneuver the rittle-rattle of his married life. It’s the writers in Dhanush and Soundarya (story and dialogues by Dhanush; screenplay by Soundarya) who bring stale humor to the table by making the couple behave like Vadivelu and Kovai Sarala from the '90s. At least, the '90s couple provided laughs. They still do every time they appear on television, but not the pale imitations in VIP 2. 

What bothers Raghuvaran is, he says, Shalini interfering in the things he does. What actually bothered me were the flat moments that were passed off in the name of comedy. The husband-wife episodes aren’t plenty. Even within that space, they seem out of place and unnecessary. Had Vivek been employed to work toward the humour-percentage, it would have worked better.

Vivek is a gem when it comes to making an emotional moment stick despite his main job as a comedian. He did that, a decade ago, in Shankar’s Sivaji. In today’s release, with fewer jokes and one – exactly one – tearing-up scene, he assures the viewers that he’s a terrific presence. If another chapter from the books of VIP is going to be narrated, I’ll appeal to Dhanush to make Vivek’s character, Azhagusundaram, a full-length one. 

The premise of the sequel runs between the two ladies in Raghuvaran’s life (Vasundhara depicts the professional stumbling block; and Shalini is the ghost in the house, as Raghuvaran and his father want us to believe).

Since Vasundhara is above petty schemes like sending thugs to beat up Raghuvaran, another man comes into the picture. The writers, who couldn’t cook decent humour with the married couple, lessen the side-effects of dreariness by wonderfully fictionalizing the 2015 Chennai floods. I was wondering if all that took for two people on different roads of thought to shake hands was simply a night of drinks and conversations.   

Does Dhanush have a penchant for roping in filmmakers to play cameos? Vignesh Shivn played a minor role in VIP. He’s probably busy directing the Suriya-starrer Thaanaa Serndha Koottam. In his shoes, VIP 2 accommodates Balaji Mohan.

Balaji (named Balaji in the movie) becomes Raghuvaran’s business partner along the course of VIP 2. His filmmaker-friends have worked with his production house (Vignesh directed Naanum Rowdy Dhaan; Balaji directed Maari, and will direct the sequel soon).

Maybe, this camaraderie is seeping into the decisions he’s taking. That’s how Sean Roldan made his entry into VIP 2 as a composer (Sean scored for Dhanush’s directorial debut Power Paandi). Anirudh’s album and score acted as the high-points for VIP. This film lacks that punch. Though Sean’s mesmerizing tunes were enjoyable in Power Paandi, he falters in coloring the angst of engineers and the world of Raghuvaran in today’s release.

VIP (movie and the album) managed to become the mantra for unemployed youth. The sequel tries to ape its big brother, but sadly fails.