Pavithra Srinivasan reviews the Tamil movie, Vallakkottai.
It's the trend for superhero stories and evergreen Action King Arjun is back with yet another venture: ESK Productions' Vallakkottai, directed by commercial pot-boiler veteran A Venkatesh which covers the whole gamut of action, adventure and slapstick comedy. And there's one more pertinent fact: the movie's a remake of Mammooty's Mayavi, from Malayalam.
Right from almost opening credits (which boom "Vayuputhra!") all through, and then the montage of the Central Jail, a mandatory rowdy who messes up with a seemingly naïve and vulnerable prisoner Bala (Prem), nothing seems out of the ordinary. The feeling deepens when you have Muthuvel (Arjun) a do-gooder prisoner, don the cap of a jailer to get his friend out of trouble, earning the fond moniker, Vayuputhran. It's only logical that he go the next level: agree to take the rap for a murder, just to help out Bala's brother through his brain surgery.
Released from prison on Independence Day, Muthuvel travels in the company of his friend (Satyan) towards Vallakkottai, intent on meeting the men who planned the murder of their arch enemy, Eswara Pandian (Suresh): Sethupathi (Vincent Asokan) and Nachiyan (Ashish Vidhyarthi). Along the way, though, Muthuvel stumbles into Anjali (Haripriya), beautifully dressed in a sari, a lass in charge of the accounts of said villains. Muthuvel sees Sethupathi harass her, foams at the mouth, promptly saves her and an entire boatload of people from imminent death. Chalk one up to the super-hero.
At this point, the story gets slightly interesting, deviating from just plain bashing-up to some semblance of a plot: Muthuvel comes across Veera Sangili (Ganja Karuppu) a seemingly humorous scoundrel who actually leads him into a trap. Meantime, Muthuvel also makes the acquaintance of another of Sethupathi and Nachiyan's enemies (Latha), Eswara Pandian's mother. With all the characters and their motives duly introduced, situations change as well.
And then, much hilarity ensues as Muthuvel takes various avatars to deal with the bad guys. He becomes Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean once, assumes a Krish avatar at another time, and even becomes the old man from Indian, a third time. The best part? Even though he retains the same face and essentially the same hairstyle, no one recognises him, especially the villains, by whose side he remains the whole time. Despite an entire comedy track with Ganja Karuppu, these scenes actually end up being funnier than the intended ones.
Arjun looks more haggard than usual, but perks up during the comic scenes a little, and is usual morose self during the action blocks. Fortunately the script doesn't require him to do much more. Haripriya looks pretty, wearing un-creased saris even in the midst of disaster, and dances in foreign locales in tiny dresses. Ashish Vidhyarthi, Vincent Asokan and O A K Sundar are the bad guys from ancient MGR movies, playing dumb men with no clue about anything, and shriek at appropriate intervals. Ganja Karuppu evokes some laughs, while Prem is possible the only one who actually has some acting to do.
Dhina's music goes through familiar motions; no song actually lingers. The stunt sequences are stylish, but editing scissors could have been used to some effect.
Even with a superhero theme and an actor who might be able to pull it off, Vallakkottai comes across as a hilarious exercise punctuated by yawns. Watch if you want some inadvertent laughs on avatars.