Sometimes we just can’t explain why we enjoy formula films despite their predictability. We watch each scene unfold feeling triumphant when every action and dialogue that springs up goes exactly as you expected. What didn’t work for the Himmatwala remake works greatly here and it is quite a lot of fun. This movie reminds us of the typical Dr. Rajashekar’s stories where he plays big brother and the younger ones dote on him and they don’t marry because the brother hasn’t. Here Ajith is the father figure, the brother who starved himself to raise his four siblings. Until five minutes before the break he hardly moves his finger, simply throws glances of all kinds — emotional, loving to angry — but once he senses danger lurking somewhere in the train, he is on his feet, hanging precariously from the train kicking the baddies out. Director Shiva knows what pleases the masses and he has packed every emotion in the right quantity though he indulges in giving out a long drawn climax.

Veerendra (Ajith) is comfortable when Santhanam comments on his salt and pepper beard and wonders if that is the right age for him to fall in love. Veerendra has wowed not to marry because of his belief that a woman would disintegrate his family; the brothers are dating their respective partners on the sly. The only way that appears permissible is to bring a woman into the scene and make him or her fall in love with each other— Gomati Devi (Tamannaah) is the chosen one. In the first half the director shows the importance and power Veerendra enjoys in the village, how Gomati is fascinated with his love for animals and birds and how peace loving he is; but she leaves him as soon as she sees him wielding a weapon. The second half of the story brings Veerendra and the brothers to Gomati’s home and we are given another story of how peace-loving the family is and the rude shock they experience as the brothers’ stay in their family prolongs.

Ajith does all the acrobatics, fights in a lungi and gets into formals during the duets. Ditto with Tamannah, she looks pretty in saris and chudidars and slips into weird western clothes during dream sequences. Thambi Ramaiah’s entry reminds us of our very own Brahmanandam. Little girls are made to say mature dialogues, the one who plays Tamannah’s neice and addresses Ajith as uncle at one point says, “Uncle as each day passes my fondness for you is growing,” and the latter smiles silently. Another clichéd and whistle-inducing moment for the crowd is when Veerendram after attending his man Friday’s wedding, gives a chunk of his property as the wedding gift. The man thumping his heart says, “I didn’t take it seriously when you’d call me brother but now I know how much you meant it (sic)”. With many more one liners like this, Veerudokkade with an ensemble cast including Nasser, Rohini Hattangady, Pradeep Rawat etc makes for a complete entertainer. Those who aren’t Ajith’s fans can stay away from it.

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