A family with five brothers, another family with representatives from three generations, annan-thambi sentiment, amma sentiment, appa sentiment, and in the middle of all this, a big star giving his fans what they want (while also fostering a certain image, with scenes such as the one where he advises a truant kid to go to school) — if Faazil and Vikraman collaborated on a ‘mass’ masala movie, it might end up looking like Siva’s Veeram.
Early on, we learn that Vinayakam (Ajith Kumar) hates the idea of marriage because he thinks the bride who enters the household will cause a rift among the five brothers, who sing songs with lines that go ‘One-two-three-four-five / Venaam enga kitta wrong-side drive’.
But, of course, Vinayakam cannot hold on to this lofty ideal forever. Of course, he has to fall in love and shake a leg in a touristy mountainside (What else is Tamannaah getting paid for? Certainly not her thesping abilities).
And so we get this little gem of screenwriting. We learn that Vinayakam, in school, was in love with a girl named Koperundevi (fondly called Kopu). And his brothers hatch a plan to find her and reintroduce her to Vinayakam, so he can fall for her all over again. But... she’s married now. She has kids.
So the brothers conspire to do the most logical thing, which is to find another woman named Koperundevi (fondly called Kopu), because, you see, Vinayakam was not in love with that girl so much as her name, and when he meets another (completely random) girl with that name, he is sure to lose his heart to her, just because she bears that name... In a different filmmaking culture, we might wonder: Who dreams up these scenarios, and what do they keep smoking? Here, though, we just hope that these scenes pass by as quickly and as painlessly as possible, given the two-hour-and-40-minute running time.
Besides, the heroine — even with that weighty name borrowed from a queen of Madurai — is utterly inconsequential. Veeram is about the hero.
It is about his declaration that he doesn’t count himself as Thevar or Nadar or Vanniyar, and that his jaathi (caste) is the working class. It is about his breaking away from the metro mode of Billa and Arrambam, and donning a white veshti and driving a bullock cart and routing villains in front of shrines of fearsome village deities.
It is about him proving to his future father-in-law (Nasser, in a reversal of the iconic character he played in Thevar Magan) that ahimsa, as a concept, is all very dandy, but sometimes you just have to kick some serious butt. Everything else — the crude dramatics, the piles of clichés, the characters (especially the bad guys) who come and go as they please — is secondary. In any case, whatever one says is sure to be drowned out by the screams of delirious fans.
Genre: Mass masala
Cast: Ajith Kumar, Tamannaah, Nasser
Storyline: Something to keep a hero’s fans happy
Bottomline: Well, if you’re a fan, do you really need a bottomline?