Saturday, 24 June 2017

Under The Spot Light: Vanamagan

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Festive season is a time of celebration and that is also a great time to release Tamil films. During this festive period we have two big films being released and today I am going to review one of them today. Directed by A.L.Vijay or now known as Vijay, here is the review of Vanamagan.

Story Review

Vanamagan offers a story which you don’t normally see in a Tamil film. The story themes around the indigenous people who has their own way of living and language meets people from the city and what happens after that.

The film can be split into 2 halves. The first half of the film deals with a backdrop of the city. This portion deals mainly with the humor side of the film whereby it shows the lead character who is part of an indigenous tribe deals about fitting into the city society.

Meanwhile the second half of the film deals about how he fights for his tribe people against a corporate company who is trying to take away the land of the people. What helps the story transition from the first half of the film to the second half of the film is the love theme between the lead characters.

The movie does well in the comedy section especially the sequence of scenes from the hero being a real ruckus in the city to the point she tries to tame him. Another highlight scene from the film for me was the scene which shows the police attacking the indigenous tribe people. Although it wasn’t as intense as the climax scene in Aayarithil Oruvan, but it was equally heart wrenching to watch it.

The movie has a good balance of action, emotion and comedy to make it a very good family watch during the festive season. I also enjoyed how the lead cast expressed that they loved each other without saying the words. The actions to protect each other and care for speaks volume

On the downside the length of the film could have been much shorter. Despite having a good core story, the first half city portion of the film could have been much shorter as it doesn’t add much weight to the film. Also I feel more weight could have added to show more details of the indigenous tribe people instead of summarizing it through a song. The story too could do with a couple of songs lesser.

Nevertheless, Vanamagan is indeed a very much welcomed changed in terms of story for the Kollywood industry and looking forward for more bold stories like this.

Rating: 3.5/5.0

Director Review
A. L. Vijay

A. L. Vijay is a director who I always look forward to watching his films. It’s hard to understand why he has had a patch of ups and downs in terms of success in his film making journey. He has now done 10 films and I feel he always succeeds when he does a not so common subject film. Films like Madrasapattinam or Deiva Thirumagal. Vanamagan falls under this category as well.

A. L. Vijay deserves all the credit for the character design for Jayam Ravi’s role. I don’t remember seeing a character like that in a Tamil film and credit to Vijay for being bold in that perspective. Another area which he and his team deserve praises is on the art direction agenda.

The setup of the Andaman Island, the jungle and indigenous tribe village.  Also the costume design for the tribe people was also a good treat. However the C.G.I part of the film felt a little disconnected from the film and I think he could have done much better for the Tiger part.

At the same time, I felt he could have added more story and depth to the film instead of having song fillers and focusing too much on just between the lead cast. This causes the film to feel that it goes on a slow pace and it stretches up to 2 hours plus the film.

Another point which I enjoyed about the director is how he connects the little dots in the film. Some of the scenes showed early in the film comes back later to play an important part of the crux of the story. Credit on his screenplay arrangement.

The camera work deserves a worthy mention for this film. Love the way the scenes were captured in the Andaman backdrop. The peak of the camera work can be scene in the way a single take action sequence was captured in the tribe village. The action happens all over the place and camera moves smoothly allowing you to capture the emotions in the actions. Well done.
On the bright side, I truly enjoyed A. L. Vijay’s vision of giving us a film speaking for the tribe people and the end credit scene which was dedicated to educating us about the other indigenous tribe people around the world.

Rating: 3.5/5.0

The Cast
Jayam Ravi

I have never been a fan of Jayam Ravi. Infact I have been a strong critic of him and felt he never has the quality to be a great actor. Before Vanamagan, I felt he has only gave 2 quality performance for a film, with that being Adhi Bhagavan and Thani Oruvan.

After watching this film, I take back all my criticism against him. I think he was the real star of this film. He plays a role of an indigenous tribe next in line leader who speaks their own language. Which meant his character is not able to speak Tamil or English throughout the film.

He has to fully really on his body language and eyes to portray all kind of emotions throughout the film and manages to captivate you with his performance. Top class acting from the man to bring the role alive on screen.  
Rating: 4.3/5.0

Sayyeshaa Saigal

She is 19 years old and this is only her 3rd film (1st in Tamil), but she showed so much of maturity and calmness in her performance. It is hard to believe that she is still so new in the industry. It a character which had a lot of meat to perform and she was up for the task.

It was a pleasure to see her on screen and loved the way she was able to commend the screen with the right attitude and dominate the scenes. Her dancing ability is a huge plus point, especially the opening song dance movements.

I would rate her performance in this film to be way more ahead of many other heroines in the industry. Her next film is alongside Karthi and Vishal and I hope she has a role with lots of scope to perform. Given the right scripts in a couple more films, she will be a household name in the industry.

Rating: 4.0/5.0

Thambi Ramaiah & Prakash Raj

Thambi Ramiah plays the role of a servant to the heroine and is the heart of the comedy sequence of the film. With the 1st half the film lacking in terms of core story, it is his comedy portion which carries the film through.

His ability to evoke humor all by himself playing off reactions of his cast is something to be appreciated in this film.

Meanwhile for Prakash Raj, I felt his role could have been a little bigger in the film to have more impact in the story. He makes a cameo in the first half of the film and goes missing. He comes back again towards the end of the film to play a pivotal role in the film. In terms of performance, he nails it as always. Such a terrific character artist.

Rating: 3.0/5.0

The Music
Harris Jeyaraj

This film marks Harris’s 50th film as a music director. While the songs may not be chart topping blockbuster but it is still a very decent music album. A particular favourite song for me was “Yemma Yea Azhagamma”.

I enjoyed his background music throughout the film especially the music signifying the tribe people. The background music helps carry you through the film and credit to Harris for that.

Rating: 3.0/5.0

Final Verdict: A combination of George Of The Jungle & Avatar with a hint of Indian flavor.

Final Rating: 3.6/5.0

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