Towards the end of the first half of Yeidhavan, I was thinking how nice it is to watch Tamil films without big stars and their compulsive need to fall into a predictable formula. The thriller genre, which is increasingly becoming popular in Tamil cinema, appears to be the perfect launch vehicle for debut directors. You don't need a fancy duet on a South African mountain to capture your audience if you've got a good story in place.
And indeed, Yeidhavan is promising till the interval point. The film starts with Krishna (Kalaiyarasan) plotting a murder. Why would a middle class guy running a startup want to kill someone? As in Bairavaa, the premise is once again medical education scams. But since this isn't a star film, we're allowed to meet the characters as people and not caricatures. Yay.
Krishna, whose family has been affected, is thirsting for blood. It's your routine revenge motive, but writer-director Sakthi Rajasekaran gives us interesting characters - you have a heroine Janani (Satna Titus) who is a cop, a small time rowdy who follows "thozhil dharmam" (Charles Vinoth), a seasoned villain's right hand with a conscience (Aadukalam Naren), a hero's sister whose marriage is never mentioned (hallelujah), a lecherous thug who is fiercely devoted to his gang and so on.
All these people are connected and the plot races ahead with some gripping storytelling. But suddenly, after shooting the first half of the film, it's as if the director decided to pretend that this was a big star film after all.
So, he includes a usual rich boy villain (Saretheran), an "item" number, slow-mo shots, extended fight sequences, relegates the heroine to a decorative role and kills everything about the film that you liked in the first place. The script meanders into the all too familiar tropes of revenge thrillers and ends on a tame note. What was the point, you feel like asking at the end of it.
C Prem Kumar's camera keeps shaking things up, though at times it gets unnecessarily dramatic. The background score is unbearably loud - in many a scene, you can't catch the lines properly before they are drowned out by the music that tells you how to feel about what you've just seen.
As it stands, Yeidhavan is a decent attempt with a committed cast. It could have been a way better film if the director had stuck to his instincts instead of pandering to what's seen as "mass" sensibility. It's what happens when you're trying to invent a recipe but give up midway and make biryani. You'll neither get a great new dish nor a great biryani doing that.