Production: Kalpathi S. Aghoram – AGS Entertainment
Cast: Daniel Balaji, Dhanush, Gautham Karthik, Gayathri Raghuram, Mano Bala, Priya Anand, Taapsee, Vasanth, Vivek, Sathish.
Story, Direction and Screenplay: Aishwarya R Dhanush
Music: Yuvan Shankar Raja
Official Vai Raja Vai trailer
This is Aishwarya R Dhanush’s second movie. She seems to have made a conscious effort to stray away from the genre of her previous movie.
There is one similarity between the men in both movies – they are not normal. While Dhanush was seeing scary green monsters, Gautham Karthik has the gift of premonition and can predict the future. What better combination than the ability to predict the future and gambling and cricket betting. As expected he gets into trouble and the movie is about how he saves himself from the clutches of greedy bookies.
Mano Bala and M.S.Bhaskar
The movie has veteran actors like Mano Bala, M.S. Bhaskar for comic relief. But their talents have not been fully utilized. There is a scene where M.S. Bhaskar gives his nephew Gautham Karthik and his friends psychedelic mushrooms that induce euphoria, altered thinking processes, closed and open-eye visuals. Vivek eats them and goes into a trance and we see a continuation of the comedy track from Tamil movie Guru En Aalu.
Vivek plays the part of the hifi tech guy because he has a blackberry phone 😛 . He has a dark secret – addiction to gambling.
He is addicted to gambling and has to repay 10 lakh rupees to a bookie and a dirty cop who threaten him with dire consequences. When he notices his colleague having special powers, he asks for Gautam’s help. They start betting on a cricket match and when the bookie finds out that there is someone who can earn crores for him, he makes it clear that this is not going to be a one time stint as Gautham had hoped.
Taapsee Pannu is the bond girl in this not so thrilling thriller. She teaches Gautham about the roulette wheel and Mano Bala is here to talk about the seriousness of getting caught for cheating a casino. She was a visual treat and sports quite a few fancy hairstyles.
Like any bond girl, Taapsee also falls for the hero and tries to seduce him much to the irritation of his girl friend Priya Anand. But she stays loyal to the villain Daniel Balaji and even has a 2 minute stunt where she fights off two bouncers and saves him after he gets caught for cheating. Hollywood tells me that Casino owners are brutal mafia bosses who will lock you up underground, chop off your fingers and finally bury you in the Arizona desert. But this is Tamil cinema and they loosely tie up Daniel Balaji in an expensive suite room and place two guards, not inside but outside the room. The villain respects his privacy? Aww chooo chweet almost makes me want to go and rob a casino. Our bond girl comes as a waitress, beats them up and unties him.
I am Tamil movie watcher and I don’t have the liberty to ask why the guards did not shoot her or why there were no cameras in the hallway (aren’t casinos supposed to see everything?) or how the two managed to escape from the cruise ship after her little stunt. Aishwarya Danush left a lot of things to our imagination. Either that or she lacked the imagination to come up with a screenplay with no loose ends.
Gautham Karthik and Priya Anand
They both are good looking. Karthik is charming but he has to learn to emote. He is the grand son of veteran actor R. Muthuraman and son of navarasa nayagan Karthik who stole many hearts in his days. Gautham has no excuse for his expressionless face. Priya Anand who comes as a plant pathologist, is his pair and has done her part well.
Director Vasanth is Gautham’s dad. He finds out that his son possesses super natural powers after he sees his son ace all his exams because he knows what questions will be asked in the exam. Now this concerned daddy makes him promise never to use those powers and surprisingly the powers go away. Three cheers to Tamil movies for breaking free from the stereotype that Indian parents will do anything to make their children ace their exams #pathbreaking.
Gautham is unemployed and is forced to run errands by his friend Satish who promises to get him a job in the company he works for. He has no money and has to stretch his hands to his friend, sister and mother everyday for money. He finally gets a job and also a girl friend. Everything is going well, his parents and Priya’s parents have agreed to the wedding and life is happy for him. His sister Gayathri Raghuram is about to get married and her groom asks for 10 lakhs dowry. So now we know that the hero needs money and his colleague vivek owes 10 lakhs to the bookie.
I see a lot of laziness in the director. Should both of them need the same amount of money? Is there no other financial emergency for a middle class family other than dowry? Aishwarya Dhanush belongs to the elite class and why is she perpetuating this social menace Dowry. She can afford to show the sister stand up against this social menace.
The hero is deep in trouble now because the bookie Daniel is in no mood to let go of the hen laying golden eggs. The hero goes with his friends to Goa to spend and enjoy the money they earned by betting. The villain follows them to Goa and blackmails them to get on a cruise ship and gamble in a casino there. After training from Mano Bala and Taapsee, they board the cruise ship to rob the casino. The movie goes further downhill after this. The scenes are not gripping and does not engage the viewers. The hero has a temporary spark of brilliance where he outsmarts the villain and gets the casino authorities suspicious. Daniel get arrested and Gautham cashes his chips and walks away with Vivek and Priya. Did he really think that he will get away with this? Yes he did.
He lands in Chennai on the day of his sister’s wedding and goes straight to the madapam. As expected he gets the shocking (?) call from the villain who also shows up at the wedding. He begs the villain to not interfere with the wedding as we all know that stopping a girl’s wedding at this stage means it is the end of her life. This director has played to the audience and refuses to think. May be she got burnt the last time and learnt the lessons because her previous movie was not mainstream movie.
The wedding is over and hero is in a secluded place with the villain where fights usually happen in Tamil movies. I begin to hope that may be just may be now, the director will show some ingenuity and the hero will outsmart the villain or at least use his super powers to rescue himself and his family. Au contraire the director is in no mood to gamble by relying on her own effort. So she brings in her husband actor Dhanush to save her hero and her movie.
Dhanush as Kokki Kumar in Vai Raja Vai
When the angry villain is threatening our hero, in comes Dhanush as Kokki Kumar (the role he played in Pudhupettai) and threatens the villain not to bother Gautham again. He not only saves Gautham, he also saved the director who is his wife. His fans are going to watch this movie at least once just to see their favorite Kokki Kumar on screen one more time.
I heard that Dhanush had played a cameo in this movie but little did I expect that he played the most important role in the movie’s climax. He comes for about 5 minutes but his presence is electrifying and it was a treat for his fans.
I feel sad when an educated and empowered lady like Aishwarya plays to the audience and banks on the support of her dad Rajinikath and her star husband Dhanush. They are not crutches that she can use to compensate for the huge holes in her screenplay. She could have taken more time to flesh out the characters and work on the story line. In short, she has to trust herself enough and try to stand on her own merit without leaning on papa and pati. We are rooting for her.
They promoted the movie well and the team seems to share a good comaradie as is evident when Aishwarya Dhanush, Priya Anand and Guatham Karthick appeared on coffee with DD on Vijay TV. It looked like they truly enjoyed making the movie.
In this interview she talks about how she managed to get Maestro Illayaraja to sing a song in the movie. Back ground music by Yuvan was okay.
A time pass movie without logic and can be watched once if you can get ticket easily.