The winning team -- Vennila Kabbadi Kuzhu

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a sure-shot winner Vennila Kabbadi Kuzhu
a sure-shot winner Vennila Kabbadi Kuzhu

Vennila Kabbadi Kuzhu

Genre: Sport

Director: Susindran

Cast: Vishnu, Charanya Mohan, Kishore

Storyline: A constantly losing kabbadi team isn’t going to give up easily …

Bottomline: Surely worth a watch!

Skilful narration always sells. And the latest team to prove it is Imagine Creations’ Vennila Kabbadi Kuzhu (U), a sure-shot winner of a story of underdogs who emerge victorious. It’s surprising to believe that Vennila … is Susindran’s debut attempt. So deftly has he worked on the three vital areas of story, screenplay and direction. More than 60 new faces parade the screen. And each of the main actors suits the roles to perfection. Kishore, Nitish (remember him in Onbadhu Roobai Nottu?) and Charanya Mohan are the only known faces. The others including Vishnu, the hero, are first-timers. Down to earth characters and true to life incidents are other highlights.

The Vennila Kabbadi team of Kanakkanpatti is notorious for losing every match it plays, be it with groups inside the village or out. Their ego takes a beating when villagers and parents scoff at their inability to win. Learning that a mega kabbadi event is being held in Madurai, in a final bid to make a name for themselves, the seven of them decide to go to the city …

Each of the seven is different from the other in social and financial status, education and attitude to life. The binding factor is their passion for kabbadi. You may not know the actors, but you can’t forget their screen names — Marimuthu, Ayyappan, Sekar, Murthy, Appukutty, Subramani and Paandi. Vishnu, who plays Marimuthu, is the hero. With a guileless face and appealing demeanour he is apt in the role. Paired with him is Charanya Mohan. Probably Vennila … is the only film where the heroine’s name remains unknown till the end. And relevantly so! For a change the cute, diminutive heroine essays a serious role and carries it off with aplomb.

As a villain Kishore has always exuded dignity and class. This time in a positive role of a coach of the kabbadi team, he makes much impact with a subtle and subdued performance.

Graphic top angle shots and intelligent use of light and shade enhance the effect — the cinematographer is J. Lakshman. The songs shot as montages spell clarity and class. V. Selvaganesh (Vikku Vinayakram’s son) is the composer of Vennila… His penchant for percussion (the konnakol pieces in the titles are also innovative) comes out in the background score.

Many of the sequences have a poetic touch to them, thus catapulting Susindran’s treatment to an interesting plane. Comedy in Vennila … blends admirably with the story and dialogue (Baskar Sakthi) in the light-hearted scenes. It is an enjoyable mix of sarcasm and ingenuity. The villain’s sudden change of heart is puzzling! But the twist at the end, which makes you sit up with a jolt, says a lot about the director’s prowess.

Transcending languages and boundaries the theme of a losing sport team’s fight to the finish attracts filmgoers. And when a loser rises from ignominy and disgrace to win laurels there’s nothing like it for the viewer! Films made on this premise have almost always worked. From Glory Road, DodgeBall, Major League and Karate Kid to Chak De, Lagaan, Lee and Chennai-600028, the examples are aplenty.

The latest to join the league with a strong story and neat screenplay is Susindran’s Vennila …MALATHI RANGARAJAN



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