Monday, January 23, 2012

Vettai: Proof that we still need Madhavan whether we suck as audience or not.

In a crucial scene from director Linggusamy’s Vettai, actor Madhavan gets off his wheelchair, stood up with a broken leg and even climbs over a very tall fence to save his brother. It was a very stupid scene. A scene that I would have laughed at, smacked my forehead and blame my nausea for and probably even provoked me to leave the cinema – but Madhavan made me bite my nails.

A get-rich-quick silly commercial fare, Vettai would not have worked if it was not Madhavan playing a cowardly cop, living in the glory of his brother helping to save cases, beating up cops.

Two decades ago, K. Bagyaraj played double role of twin brothers where cowardly cop Bagyaraj was helped by his twin brother and he gets the glory. In Vettai, a character actually mentions the name of the movie “Ragasiya Police”. It was supposed to be a reworking of an abandoned project that MGR did years before.

This time, same story, different actors, bigger budget. No MGR.

Ragasiya Police worked because of funny Bagyaraj. This movie worked because of not only a funny Madhavan, but because he is a good actor, we tend to follow his trials and tribulations of his cowardly character.

This character, Inspector Thirumoorthy, needs Madhavan the actor. Many films needed Rajini and Kamal, but all they got was poor man’s Rajini and sewage cleaner’s Kamal. This role needs someone with very easy sense of humour and who go one step up and give his own take. Madhavan was the man for it, and director Linggusamy was fortunate to have him on board.

I am not saying that it only need Madhavan. As cocky, brave, superheroic brother, Aarya did a fantastic job.I always liked Aarya and even liked his performance in the much loathed Sarvam . There was no need to establish scenes to show how much he loves his brother Madhavan, and people won’t have to suspend their belief to accept both of them as brothers. Aarya has his own niche in humour and is used well here.
In fact, there was more humour quotient that I expected. The girls, played by Sameera Reddy and Amala Paul, gets to be funny thanks to the script. And I have not laughed at Nasser since Avvai Shanmugi as I did here. And I have not laughed at a fight scene other than ones involving Kamal and Rajini, Aarya’s one-liners and puns reminded me of the glory days of Connery/Bond dropping them off after a tense action scene.

Still, without Madhavan, this film will be another Linggusamy’s young bloke against big gangster group story that he keep churning up again and again. Without Madhavan breathing life to a Vadiveloo/Vivek cowardly cop type, I would not have the goose bumps when he comes back and whops ass. Even my baby was stirring in the mother’s womb. Seriously.

Actually it was punching and kicking her, poor wifey. Never mind, Madhavan eased her pain.

Anyway, this is Madhavan, perhaps the most versatile actor of his generation. Put him anywhere, he delivers the good. He has done variety of roles in variety of genre. One thing that gets him ahead of the so-called “stars” of his generation is that he had done a successful horror film.

Yeah, the kind of film I loath. In fact, Yavarum Nalam (13B in Hindi) was a cheap, gimmick-ladden, clichéd Asian horror type of film that I would have laughed off, but got me gripped for Madhavan’s performance alone.

Here’s a message to Tamil filmmakers. Sure, Madhavan got no ambition. He doesn’t want to be the next Kamal (no longer his guru, but, officially, his God) or the next Superstar (dream on you Rajini wannabes), he just. I don’t know. He doesn’t even drink like his character does in Manmadhan Ambu  (a film watchable for him alone….ouch…okay since my wife insist, watchable for Kamal and him) for us to milk a confession from him (Maybe, “I want to be next Prabhu” Okay, Madhavan, two plane seats reservation is expensive).

But please use him. Use him in any film you want and he would fit in and give his best and give some more. This is one of the most clichéd, knuckleheaded masala film that I have watched that I want to watch again because Madhavan and Arya. Especially Madhavan.

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