When was the last time you sat in a theatre that erupted in uncontrolled applause and cheers when the villain walked into the screen? Which was the last movie that gave anybody but the hero an electrifying background score, that made you sit up and take notice? Joining Thani Oruvan in this exclusive club of films that celebrate the villain over the hero is Vikram Vedha.
Directed by husband and wife duo Pushkar-Gayathri, Vikram Vedha starring R Madhavan and Vijay Sethupathi, challenges our notion of good and bad throughout the film.
The premise of the movie is deceptively simple. A team of encounter specialists gather to complete one task - eliminate a gang of drug smugglers led by Vedha (Vijay Sethupathy). Vikram (Madhavan) who is part of this elite force, is branded as the 'good' man from the very beginning.
A slight paunch does little to distract you from the seriousness in his furrowed eyebrows or the mad glint in the eyes of this policeman. To him, the world is black and white - an illusion that begins to shatter thirty minutes into the film, when our villain makes his entry.
While Madhavan is known to be a methodical actor, Vijay Sethupathy is a natural. The swag he exhibits as he walks into the police headquarters with a vada in hand, is the body language that has come to be expected of him. And much like the vetalam of Vikram from the folklore, he succeeds in completely confusing Vikram with stories that detail his own past.
From there on, we embark on a journey that makes our moral compass go haywire. In order to get to the bottom of the case and understand his own personal losses, Vikram and the audience are forced to focus on the smallest nuances of these tales.
The first half of the movie lulls towards the end but the pace picks up after the interval. The narrative begins to spin in circles and an intelligent screenplay takes you through a rollercoaster of twists and turns. At several points of the movie, certain revelations leave you thinking that Vikram and Vedha are rather slow in keeping up. The audience can spot the traitor within minutes of his introduction. But the writers are not to be underestimated, they have a climax with a dramatic plot twist and action scenes that leave you glued to the seat, wincing at the sound of every bullet.
The chemistry between Vikram and Vedha sizzles on screen. Even Shraddha Srinath who plays Vikram's wife in the film, has little impact on the bromance.
It is not common for the audience's attention to waver from the performance of an actor of Madhavan's caliber. But Vijay Sethupathy effortlessly steals the scenes. His greatest achievement is perhaps, his ability to transform your thoughts from 'Oh!Just kill him already!' to 'No! Don't shoot him', in a matter of two hours.
While the songs in the film don't really make an impression, music director Sam C.S stuns the audience with background scores that keep you hooked even when the screenplay dips. Cinematographer PS Vinod who has worked on gangster films before, has excelled in the action sequences that form a major part of the film.
That being said, however, the film fails to explain certain important twists to the plot. But as Vedha would say, it all depends on which questions you want answered.