'Velayilla Pattathari' sets off with one of the least pretentious opening scenes. Before you are able to stick an impressive tag on to it, some of the staples of mainstream Tamil cinema would choke you. But then, this is indeed an attempted Tamil potboiler, isn't it?
The plot hovers around unemployed engineering graduate Raghuvaran (Dhanush), his unhappy father (Samuthirakani), tactful mother (Saranya Ponvannan) and proper boy (read employed) Karthik, his brother. Raghuvaran sleeps, watches tele-serials, goes out binge-drinking and wiles away days. And then just as how the movie gods would infallibly design in such a scenario, the leading lady walks in. From then on, until the mid-point, the movie definitely doesn't promise much, least of all a comprehensive story.
And then, right before the interval, the biggest motivator for the already predictable storyline comes into play—death. The demise of a character is supposed to work, at least when you depend on stereotypes to click. From then on, it's resurgence time for Raghuvaran.
No time is wasted in soul-searching and everything quickly falls in place. The prodigal young man suddenly transforms to Mr Responsible. In between, there is some prolonged blabbering from all and sundry including Vivek, and even Dhanush, who carries off a (seemingly) 'breathless' monologue, giving Shankar Mahadevan a complex. The rant was also perhaps a torture for an audience waiting to applaud the moment he applied some punctuation to it.
The directorial debut of ace cinematographer Velraj is a damp squib. We have seen umpteen unhappy fathers who recite 'dandachoru' to their sons and almost all on-screen mothers doing the balancing act of saving the son's grace and then unleashing a tight slap at him right when he dares to stand up against the father.
The addition here is a so-called negative character, son of an industrial gun, so to speak, who looks and sounds like he bunked school regularly and ran off to daddy's den in an unusual haste to become the bad guy. He meddles with the now employed Dhanush's work, and comes up with extremely uninspiring lines as part of intimidation tactics.
The industrial tycoon is another farce, who speaks/grunts/mumbles in the same tone, setting new standards for the league of no-brain-no-wit negative characters. Was there even a need for this uncalled negative forces? Dubious.
Now, where credits go, Dhanush bags most of it. After a stupendous performance in 'Maryan' and 'Raanjhnaa', he has resorted to playing to the gallery. He was likeable as the cheeky unemployed guy whose effortlessness meets with applause more often than not. And surprisingly, this could save the movie to a large extent, but how far, it remains to be seen.
Music director Anirudh Ravichander has been marketed in equal measures for obvious reasons. He doesn't entirely disappoint, but the background score is a huge let down.
If you thought you could draw any parallel between 'Velayilla Pattathari' and the K. Balachander's 1980 movie 'Varumayin Niram Sivappu', block it right away. If the latter was inspired from social issues and an almost realistic peek into the lives of penny-less graduates, 'Velayilla Pattathari' (or VIP as the pet name goes) is aiming to be a mere crowd-pleaser.
The sudden recognition of social media as a handy tool for creating a revolution of sorts seems a tad too outdated and the romance is bleak. An organ beneficiary who keeps fleeting in and out of scenes serves no purpose.
'Velayilla Pattathari' is a supposed mass-entertainer that relies on the routine tricks of the trade. The unemployement in the title permeates to the redundant story and the drab screenplay. If this VIP indeed rakes in the moolah, rest assured, the lanky superstar would be thanking only his army of fans.
Rating: 2 stars out of 5