Leave logic behind, sit back and watch Vijay do the impossible, observes Divya Nair.
It's 7.45 am and the mall in Thane has barely opened on a Wednesday.
The security staff is trying to make sense how people can come in to watch a 'South film' as early as 7.30 am on a weekday.
I smile awkwardly as I make my way into the theatre hall which is 30 per cent occupied with people of all ages.
It's the first time I am watching Thalapathy Vijay's movie in a theatre in Mumbai so I was excited to know the audience reaction.
In Coimbatore where I was born, it's not easy to watch a Vijay film first day first show because tickets are booked several weeks in advance. Even if you manage to get a ticket in the first week, you'd miss all the punch dialogues because people in the audience will be whistling, dancing and mimicking his dialogues aloud.
Directed by Nelson Dilipkumar, Beast is Vijay's 65th film after the box office hit Master.
Nelson, who directed the black comedy Doctor and broke box office records including Master's last year, had taken up the film after A R Murugadoss quit the project. Naturally, the film is high on expectations.
But does it deliver?
In Beast, Vijay plays Veeraraghavan, a senior R&AW operative who risks his life and successfully helps capture Umar Farooqui (Lilliput), a terrorist mastermind.
However, the loss of an innocent girl during the operation forces Veera to quit RA&W because of guilt and his support team's betrayal.
He takes up a job at a security firm, but along with 150 others are taken hostage by Umar's brother (Ankur Vikal).
The terrorists demand that Umar be released from Tihar jail.
The police officer in charge of the operation, who is aware of Veera's past, secretly contacts him and asks him to take charge of the situation.
The mention of Umar's name awakens the 'beast' in Veera.
Beast mode on, Veera steps out of his hiding place with a dagger and slices off the head of one terrorist smooth like a cucumber.
Bullets fly like butterflies and bombs explode while the terrorists disappear and appear at free will.
While the Ankur Vikal character negotiates with hand-in-glove government officers, Veera shows off his mastermind skills, always staying a step ahead of the silly, boring, bad guys.
What makes this illogical circus enjoyable is Nelson's dark humour which lightens up the mood and cracks you up even in the most mundane situations.
The first half is pretty entertaining and keeps you hooked.
The second half drags on as the circus gets a tad ridiculous, but Vijay, Yogi Babu, VTV Ganesh and Sathish Krishnan give you enough laughs to ensure you are not completely bored.
There are ample instances where Veera shares punch dialogues from his earlier blockbusters -- 'Once I make up my mind, I don't even listen to myself' -- to rousing applause from the viewers.
Perhaps, that's what the film is all about -- to let Vijay shine in his casual but stylish attitude -- and that works perfectly in Beast as well.
Unlike in Master where he looked bored and dull, Vijay looks fit and dapper in this one. He even sports a grey beard.
He dances and entertains, but when his nation is in trouble, he becomes the soldier, the son of the soil who can smash enemies to pulp.
Vijay's subtle sarcasm and comic timing works well in tune to Nelson's trend of films.
With just two songs -- the trendy Arabic Kuthu and Jolly O Gymkhana -- it's a welcome change in Tamil cinema where we don't see needless song and dance numbers.
Pooja Hegde looks pretty and does a decent job as Veera's love interest.
For me, VTV Ganesh is the real star of the film. His impeccable comic timing mostly saves you from absolute torture especially in the second half.
Perhaps Beast could have chosen a better, smarter, script with a stronger antagonist than a bunch of idiots who are simply mimicking their dialogues like parrots.
After Master, Vijay deserved a better villain.
Beast is recommended if you enjoy dark comedy films like Doctor and don't like asking nach-nach (nagging) questions in the middle of a Thalapathy movie.
Leave logic behind, sit back and watch Vijay do the impossible.