Vada Chennai review:Watch it for its gritty realistic feel
Vada Chennai is an accurate portrayal of Chennai's dark underbelly
Critic's Rating: 3.5/5
Wednesday 17 October 2018
Dhanush, Andrea, Ameer, Aishwarya, Kishore
Vetrimaaran's Vada Chennai scores full marks for authenticity-for its accurate portrayal of Chennai's dark underbelly, for its use of real locations, real people and its consistent colloquial dialogue with cuss words aplenty.
It is remarkably shot and competently performed but new characters are introduced every other minute in the first half and the story unfolds at a pace that’s initially hard to keep up with or follow. The action here is dark and gritty, as Violence looms large. The second half especially the last 20 minutes of the film is the highlight.
The film is set in the heart of North Chennai's dark underbelly complete with local gangs, henchmen, corrupt cops, and politicians with vested interests. The film begins in a hotel where Guna (Samuthirakani), Senthil (Kishore), Velu (Pawan) and their close aide (Sai Dheena) sit with bloodstained hands, they have just murdered the most influential person in the area.
While Guna and Velu agree to go to prison, Senthil says he will take them out in bail but he does not keep his word which results in a gang war. Dhanush is Anbu, a superb carrom-player and he wants to use this skill to make a living and get a government job on sports quota. He falls in love with the fiesty Padma (Aishwarya Rajesh) but accidentally this underdog ends up as a key player in the gang wars.
Dhanush delivers an excellent performance displaying vulnerability and chocolate-boy charm and is appropriately menacing when needed. He creates a fully flesh-and-blood character out of Anbu, proving once again that he is one of the very few actors in Tamil who can "act". After Dhanush it is Andrea who steals the show as Chandra in a well-written powerful role while Aishwarya Rajesh as the foul mouthed, free-spirited and hyperactive Padma is a treat.
Ameer as Rajan is the surprise packet, the anchor of the film and he creates strong impact. There is a beautiful connect between Anbu and Rajan as both the characters are upright, humane and want to stand up for the people. Kishore and Samuthirakani does their job neatly.
Technically, cinematographer Velraj and the art department (fantastic prison set) take us to the mid-‘80s to the early 2000s through their impeccable teamwork. From the cigarettes used in the film to the costumes, everything has been authentically presented.
Vetrimaaran has brilliantly placed the underlying political happenings (in Tamilnadu during 1987), through an interesting scene where Rajan (Ameer) predicts that Jayalalithaa will be the successor of MGR. He also knows clearly what would happen to his people if he allows politicians in his area. Another scene where he gives a binocular to the youngl Dhanush conveys a deep message!
Santhosh Narayanan lifts the film with his brilliant score, especially the King of Sea theme music has been amazingly placed throughout. The film’s editors Venkatesh and Ramar also must be appreciated for packaging the epic gangster saga at a run time of 166 minutes (could have been better if the film was 150 minutes)
Vada Chennai takes its time to unfold, and you may enjoy if you muster the patience for it. Give it a chance, watch it for some excellent acting and for its gritty realistic feel.
Vada Chennai review: Verdict: Gritty & realistic
Reactions from Social Media:
#VadaChennai has all the makings of a landmark film in #TamilCinema history. #VetriMaaran continues to be a powerful trailblazer! All the best Vetri, Dhanush, Santhosh, Andrea and the whole team. It's going to be very special! Get ready.
#VadaChennai - 4.5/5, A cult classic masterpiece by @VetriMaaran. Finally, a original gangster drama made in Tamil cinema (At least we saw inspirations of #GodFather in Nayagan and Pudhupettai). Perfect start for the trilogy, bring it on @dhanushkraja
#vadachennai - Tharumaru thakkali soru first half .. packed show in South Carolina .. I think the crowd that came today were the fans that are waiting for this movie from polladhavan time.
#VadaChennai Interval: Riveting is the word. Builds up the intensity scene by scene and takes you on a high towards the interval. Fabulous performances, intense situations and brilliant staging coming together as one!
Watched #VadaChennai in UK such a pure epic gangster film Absolutely it will be a milestone in D's career
Sarkar AB @ab_VJFan
Dhanush is not acting as a hero, He lives as a character. Manushan epdi ya ipdi nadika mudiyum. One of the gem Indian Cinema got !! Sila scene lam theatre screen kiliyama paathukanum. New Experience after a long time.( 3.5/5 )
Kaushik LM @LMKMovieManiac
#Vadachennai 1st half - @aishu_dil's episodes are super entertaining. Definitely her slang, role and language are something totally new. Cracking chemistry with @dhanushkraja.
D is the Kadhainayagan with no needless heroism. Mature, restrained performance amid so many characters.
Haricharan Pudipeddi @pudiharicharan
#VadaChennai - Delicious, dark, deep dive into the world of rowdyism, politics and survival. Scheming men; bold women. Absolutely impossible to walk out without feeling your heart in your mouth. Take a bow, @VetriMaaran. More in my review.
.@dhanushkraja has this extraordinary quality of becoming invisible on screen. We are just witnessing ANBU!
How casually he is able to make us believe in a character that he is playing.
#VadaChennai - தரமான சம்பவம்