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Conversation on Velaikkaran

January 1, 2018 by Ajay

Ajay: Sounds a little ironical that we want to do a conversation about a movie that is filled with just conversations right?

Sai: Well, yes. After Visu’s movies, this is probably the one with most dialogues I believe :). What is your overall feeling about it though?

A: I kind of liked it. It kept me entertained. But the filmmaking was lazy. He had a good story to tell but just didn’t tell it the right way, I felt. What about you?

S: I see. I thought even the story went haphazard which is quite surprising because Subha are credited as co-writers. I loved some directorial touches actually – especially the mirror scenes with Arivu (Sivakarthikeyan) and Adi (Fahaadh Faasil), where they explain their ideologies for their audience.

A: As BR said in his recent video, Mohan Raja has definitely evolved as a filmmaker. Or should I say, he gets his inspirations from the right place now?

S: (Smiles) His career graph seems pretty interesting. Started out with full-fledged remakes and with ‘Thani Oruvan’, he suddenly seems to belong elsewhere. You know what? This movie has both my favorite comic moment and masala moment of this year.

A: Let me guess. The live commentary scene?

S: Nope, thought it was really funny. Do you want to take one more chance?

A: Given your admiration for Fahadh, I’m thinking it is some scene involving him? 😀

S: Nope. It is the mimicry scene with Robo Shankar. I mean there is a spontaneity with it which I thought was absolutely hilarious. Do you recall it?

A: Oh yes! The scene would have worked only with Siva and Robo Shankar. It was comedy gold. What was the masala moment?

S: That I think both of us know. It’s the first lightbulb scene!

A: That was amazing indeed. Gave me goosebumps all over. I have to admit, Anirudh also has had an amazing career graph. And he has matured with each of his movies. His music in that scene stood out for me even after I came out of the theater.

S: Haha, so what did you think about the songs?

A: I have no complains about it. It was neither necessary nor unnecessary. Or maybe we are conditioned as viewers to not get distracted by songs even though they are out of place at times? I loved the songs as they are though. They have been a part of my playlist for quite some time. Steering the topic a little bit, how do you think the movie treated the audience’s intelligence? Was it too preachy?

S: This aspect baffled me. In the first half, it looked like the movie treated the audience as equals. Even though there were detailed explanations (say when Adi talks to Arivu about supermarkets), it was given mood and texture. Interestingly, the second half ended up not having even a tenth of this quality and ended up being a moral science lecture.

S: Since you recently wrote about romance, how did you feel about it in this movie?

A: I would say it was necessary from a business point of view. It definitely did not help the story move forward. I’m not even sure of the relevance Nayanthara being a feminist. But the romance was forgettable in the end. Or it was overshadowed by other messages in the film.

S: (Laughs) Even ‘Thani Oruvan’ had quite a bit of this preachy stuff right? What do you think this movie lacks when compared to TO?

A: What Thani Oruvan got right was, it was Jeyam Ravi who was figuring out the things the villain was doing. There was a lot of talking involved there as well, but it was all the protagonist trying to gather his thoughts about what’s going on. But Velaikkaran had both the protagonist and the antagonist talking about everything they think and there was no cat and mouse duel, if you know what I mean. If at all you want to make a movie where someone keeps explaining stuff to you, at least have us figure out with one of the characters in the movie, right?

S: Ah! I think that’s a great way to think about the two movies. I remember Thiagarajan Kumararaja recently telling in an interview that we always treats audience as equals. If he can understand something, then they can as well. Are you generally fond of vignettes and intentional fill-in-the-blanks in the movie?

A: Definitely. I personally like it because it tests my creative thinking as well. I wouldn’t expect it in a movie which is marketed to be a mindless entertainer. What is your take on it?

S: I am a bit ambivalent on it actually. For example, I loved it in ‘Iruvar’, where we knew the background story and could chart a convincing narrative on our own. But I hated it in ‘Kadal’ and ‘Kaatru Veliyidai’ where we had no idea of the story and there was too much stuff to fill in. Steering our digression back to the movie, how do you see Sivakarthikeyan as an actor? I remember both of us dissing ‘Remo’ to unimaginable depths.

A: Haha! Remo deserves all the dissing it gets from everyone. Sivakarthikeyan has a clear career strategy. He alternates his movies for the different center audiences and not affecting his earning and the image he is trying to create in the industry. He has become a hero, but still has a long way to go as an actor, I feel.

S: Agreed. Who knows, he might never go that long way.

A: (Laughs) I felt the screenplay was beating around the bush a lot. For instance in the second half, there was multiple scenes trying to convey the same thing and there was just too much repetition and they kept saying the things they already said in different ways and it just went on and on with no end in sight (sorry I had to do it). What do you think?

S: Those portions tested even my parents’ patience. Thankfully, there was not another hero vs villain head-on fight. I was in fact expecting an item number and a subsequent fight (thanks to ‘Kanthaswamy’).

A: Nayanthara has been quite picky about her movies recently but this one seemed out of place in comparison to her other movies. Is it to just take a break from serious roles or is it impossible for a heroine to survive in this industry without being a part of commercial movies at times?

S: I see it more as survival skills. Even in Fahaadh’s case, its a role he can play in sleep. Looks like he wanted to make a mark in Kollywood since Nivin is slowly moving here and Dulqar and Prithiviraj have already moved to Bollywood.

A: Haha that’s a good comparison.

S: Okay, one final question — what is your favorite scene in the movie (apart from the lightbulb one)?

A: The live commentary scene struck a chord with me. It was original and he covered a lot of aspects of something we, as an audience, never imagined. Yours?

S: I liked the scene where Rohini (playing Arivu’s mom) gives him the answer that he was breaking his head over. It is a testament to the good old fact that wise people tell ridiculously simple solutions to seemingly hard problems. Yet, they ring true!

A: That was an interesting scene indeed. Also gives a chance to the sentimental aspect of the mom being the wise one as always.

A: Alright, Sai. I think this has been a more than enough discussion about a movie that didn’t warrant too much thinking in the first place. Until next time!

– Sai Vikneshwar and Ajay