Vetayadu Vilayadu is gutsy- ‘n’- gritty endeavour that ventures into excruciating details about the world of investigative cops and serial killers. Stylistically inventive throughout, Gautham`s second foray into the mind of a cop and killers arouse interest and even admiration for its techno-razzle-dazzle and a restrained hot-‘n’-cool performance from Kamal.
Video footage, moodily lit interiors with superb camerawork, authentic locations, crisp editing, and intermittent flashbacks, peppy music, great background score plus knockout action are just some of the highpoints of the film. But on the down side, there is too much violence against women, gory scenes, slow paced second half which needs trimming and a contrived ending. And why was the time line appearing on and off in the film?
The tautly shot opening sequences gives us a glimpse into the life of DCP Raghavan (Kamal Hassan) who comes to Madurai to investigate the gruesome murder of Rani, daughter of the City Police Commissioner Arogyaraj (Prakash Raj) his close friend and mentor. Rani was brutally raped and body decapitated and her finger hung as a dristi kair along with three green chillies and a lemon, outside her house!
A devastated Arogyaraj and his wife immigrate to New York where they are butchered in their Long Islands house. This sets Tamilnadu police thinking and Raghavan takes up the assignment of tracking down the killer as it was Arogyaraj’s last wish. The rest of the film is how Raghavan with the support of Anderson, a New York police officer and the FBI tracks down the suspects who are serial killers!
Then there is Aradhana (Jyothika) a girl whom Raghavan meets in US and saves from a suicide attempt after a failed marriage. Kamalinee plays Kamal’s wife who was killed by some Tirunelveli goons in an encounter. Technically Vetayadu Vilayadu is chic and has been shot like a Holywood thriller. The mood and look of the film reminds you so much of Steven Sodenburg’s Traffic and the Kamal-Jo romance is similar to that in Lost in Translation.
Ravi Varman’s top-notch camerawork is a major plus. The film shot in 35 mm has breathtaking aerial shots of New York City by night and the tight close-up shots of the lead actors. Harris Jayaraj’s music and his combination with Gautham Menon simply rocks. The “Manjal Veyil…” and “Partha Muthal Naal…” song and the introductory song of Kamal “Karka Karka…” are all well picturised.
But what gives you goose flesh is the finely calibrated performance of Kamal as DCP Raghavan. You just can’t take your eyes off him as he laces his portrayal with dignity, grace and dry wit. Prakash Raj in a short role shines but the scene stealer is Balaji as Amudhan, the maniacal serial killer. Jyothika is adequate and her on-screen chemistry with Kamal lacks passion. Kamalinee is there in one song and she looks refreshing.
Verdict: Go for it