‘Velaiilla Pattadhari 2’ review: a lukewarm follow-up

Actor Dhanush in an image from ‘Velaiilla Pattathari 2’

Actor Dhanush in an image from ‘Velaiilla Pattathari 2’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Even the most loyal fans of Velaiilla Pattadhari (2014) admit that it’s an uneven film. Stuck somewhere between a star vehicle and a sensitive family drama, the film asks one to choose between two Dhanushs: the star and the actor. Given how ably Dhanush juggled both, this decision wasn’t too difficult to make, and VIP went on to become one of the biggest hits of the year.

Ten minutes into its sequel and we’re pleasantly reminded that the first film was as much about its supporting characters as it was about Dhanush (star or actor). Right from the neighbour with whom Raghuvaran (Dhanush) watches soap operas, to his best friend, a Labrador named Harry Potter, it all comes rushing back. When was the last time you smiled seeing a moped return to screen?

VIP, with this ‘sitcom-y’ quality, is very much a film that deserves a sequel. But is the Soundarya-directed Velaiilla Pattadhari 2 a worthy follow up? That’s not something one can be sure of.

For one, Velaiilla Pattadhari 2 is never really an underdog story. The film opens with Raghuvaran winning the Engineer of the Year Award. He still works for Anitha Constructions (though, curiously, Ritu Verma replaces Surabhi) but he’s an executive now and has a parking spot reserved for him among Mercs and BMWs.

So when Vasudhara (a lost Kajol), the chairman of the biggest construction company in South India, makes Raghuvaran a job offer, she doesn’t expect him to refuse.

He does and she begins to go after him, placing one obstacle after another. Yet their confrontations never feel like a Goliath taking on a David. It’s among equals, and we realise that VIP 2 isn’t really half-and-half like the first part. It’s all about Dhanush the star, and a repeat of what we’ve already seen in his own Maapillai.

It’s also amusing how it deals with its ‘strong’ female villain. Raghuvaran, at one point, patronisingly claims that he sees no difference between him and her. He even tells her to stop playing the ‘I’m a woman’ card when she speaks of her struggles and achievements. But when his own wife Shalini (Amala Paul) asks if she can return to her profession when he loses his job, he almost sounds dismissive. There’s something terribly wrong with portraying her going back to work as if it were a sacrifice she’s making.

Yet there are moments where we see glimpses of the first part. There’s a nice massy scene where Raghuvaran uses his tact (and an Illaiyaraaja song) to bag a ₹600 crore deal with a old-fashioned businessman. There’s also a recurring ‘Amma sentiment’ joke, where people leave the room every time Raghuvaran speaks about his mother.

But these are just shadows of the original. What more can you say about a film in which a moped gets a better role than Kajol?


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Printable version | Sep 18, 2020 10:37:43 PM |

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