Lingusamy is one director who has the commercial formula down pat. And his latest, UTV's Vettai, is certainly among the most appealing mainstream fare he has produced so far.
The story is simple. Two brothers, Thirumurthy (played by R Madhavan) and Guru (played by Arya) are thick as thieves. Only, Thirumurthy is pretty much a wimp and needs his younger brother to fight all his battles, from quarrelling during a kite-flying expedition during childhood right up to adulthood.
Guru cajoles his brother into accepting a police post after their father's death and Thirumurthy, after much pleading, accepts the post along with the transfer originally assigned to his father.
And this is where the problem starts. Thirumurthy, who quakes with fear even if someone sneezes, find himself caught in the toils of the local bigwig (introducing Ashutosh Rana), who, of course, controls the area with his violent ways. Thirumurthy gets tangled up right away, and from then on, the story is a classic mixture of comedy and action, clearly taking plenty of leaves out of the K Bhagyaraj movie, Avasara Police 100.
Wimpy cop and courageous brother both run riot, leaving you in fits of laughter and touching you with great sibling sentiment. In the midst of all this are firebrand Vasanthi (Sameera Reddy) and her sister Jayanthi (Amala Paul), who have no great role to play except pretty up the proceedings.
The first half, peppered with dialogues and humour, moves at a fantastic speed, making you wait on tenterhooks for the rest. The second half has its moments but is considerably slower. Mindless masala takes over soon, leading to the completely predictable bash-fest.
Madhavan and Arya have a ball playing brothers. The two are perfectly in sync, playing off against each other. You have to give Madhavan credit for taking up the role of a wimpy policeman who shakes in his shoes, even as he lets Arya play the hero, walking, talking and even fighting in style. The two hit it off perfectly; the only reason you can stomach some silliness in the screenplay is because of their comic timing.
Sameera Reddy is dashing, as always. Unfortunately, just when you think she is going to have something to do, her role dwindles into nothing. Amala Paul struts, pouts and hams to the hilt. Her role is shorter; so are her outfits.
Ashutosh Rana looks far more dignified than a rowdy should, and is as clueless as they come, letting both himself and his henchmen get beaten up.
Brinda Sarathy's dialogues strike the mark when it comes to comedy and make you squirm a bit when it comes to verbal punches.
Nirav Shah's camera work has little to do in an action entertainer like this. The look of the film is clean, neat, and focuses completely on the actors. Anthony's editing works, except for the last half hour, which could have done with some trimming.
Yuvan Shankar Raja's songs, sadly, do not hit the bull's-eye here, despite his past track record with the director.
Lingusamy's strength lies in packaging actors who play to their strengths, and mixing comedy and action into commercial fare. Logic obviously goes for a toss many times, but there is plenty of entertainment.
This diary of a wimpy policeman may not be a classic, but is fun nevertheless.