Vikram Vedha review: This Vikram-Betaal parable does not just thrill, but also makes you think

Release Date: 21 Jul 2017 / Rated: U/A / 02hr 27min

Cinestaan Rating

Manigandan KR

Director duo Pushkar-Gayathri push the envelope of Tamil cinema with this brilliantly intense thriller.

Directors Pushkar and Gayathri have raised the bar in Tamil cinema with their latest film, Vikram Vedha.

Both directors and dialogue writer Manikandan need to be congratulated for the manner in which they have chosen to present this classy action film that has deep, intense dialogues that make viewers rack their brains for possible answers to the propelling questions.

The entire cop versus gangster flick is presented on the lines of the mythological Vikram and Vedhalam (Vikram-Betaal) plot, something no film director has so far tried, not just in Tamil cinema but in Indian cinema.

For those unfamiliar with the basic plot of the Vikram and Vedhalam story, King Vikram, in a bid to save his kingdom from ruin, goes in search of the Vedhalam (an evil spirit) that has brought upon disease and disaster on his people. He must destroy it for the sake of his people. But everytime, the King braves all odds and manages to capture the Vedhalam, it chooses to narrate a story, at the end of which, it poses a question pertaining to morals, ethics, laws and duties. The king must answer it correctly or the Vedhalam is free to go.

The film's story is about a special police team that is used to take out notorious gangsters and criminals. This team, which is led by Encounter Specialist Vikram (Madhavan), has its task cut out. Their target is Vedha (Vijay Sethupathi) a notorious gangster, who is known not only for his scandalous ways but also for his exceptional intelligence. In a bid to get to him, the team kills a considerable number of his gangsters in an encounter. And there begins a game - a deadly one - that is played between two individuals who are not only highly skilled at what they do, but who are also conscientious in their own way.

Both have a strong moral compass and take decisions dispassionately, judging the sequence of events carefully and deciding their next course of action based on the thorough examination of evidences.

Just like in the Vikram-Vedhalam series, there are many stories, the film has three chunks. One is titled Thiruda Thiruda, the next is Thiruda Thirudi and the third is Thirudan Police. All three chunks are part of the same story, but talk about developments happening in the lives of various characters associated with both these individuals. Invariably, at the end of each chunk Vikram, who is looking to kill Vedha, ends up meeting him. And each time, Vedha, after narrating developments in the form of a story, poses a difficult question to Vikram, asking him what he would have done, had he been in his shoes and why?

Just explaining the pattern in which this cop versus gangster flick has been made is so difficult. One can only imagine the amount of effort that would have gone into penning the screenplay and dialogues for such a craftily made, intense intelligent action thriller.

The film comes to life because of some powerful performances by some of the most gifted actors. First in line is Vijay Sethupathi, who, nonchalantly turns into Vedha for the film. He is so much at ease playing this character that one instantly forgets all other characters he has played so far on screen. The performance is just brilliant.

He is matched move for move, scene for scene by Madhavan as Vikram. Both complement each other and yet, also compete with one another. It is a delight to watch them have conversations, each one having their own unique of delivering dialogues.

Kathir, who has delivered fantastic performances in Kirumi and Madha Yaanai Kootam, proves yet again that he has immense potential and that directors haven't been using him to his fullest potential. Pushkar and Gayathri, though, have given him a small but significant character in this film. Kathir plays the role of Pulli, the younger brother of Vedha, to perfection.

Shraddha Srinath handles the character of Priya, a confident lawyer by profession but a caring wife by heart, deftly and delicately. She handles the transformation from being a lawyer who will not flinch from protecting her client's interests to turning into a concerned, caring wife, within seconds beautifully.

P S Vinod's camerawork speaks volumes of his understanding of lights and frames. In fact, one sequence, that shows Vijay Sethupathi making his getaway through a series of apartments even as the cops search for him in the lower floors has been beautifully planned and shot.

On the whole, Vikram Vedha does not just give you action and thrills. It also makes you think.