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‘Viswasam’ review: a fancy upgrade of ‘Veeram’

Ajith in ‘Viswasam’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Viswasam, surely, is a better film than the actor-director duo's disastrous Vivegam, even though it never really tries to go beyond its clichés.

There’s a distinctive quality in masala films that no other genre provides. They give you instant gratification, especially if it has one of the biggest stars. For instance, look how Ajith Kumar is introduced in Viswasam. Set in a village called Koduvilarpatti, two communities indulge in a verbal clash over a thiruvizha. A hush descends on screen when someone mentions the name Thooku Durai. D Imman’s score looms large and the camera pans into the actor’s feet. The director resists showing his face, which is almost requisite in a star-vehicle. Then comes the back shot of Thooku Durai greeting the villagers. He resists again. By now, the crowd — both on and off-screen have completely lost it. Ajith makes an entry and nonchalantly says “vanakkam”. I really wish to describe the next few scenes, but the hoots and whistles refused to die down for 15 minutes!

First things first, Ajith looks good after getting rid of his salt-and-pepper look that he’s been sporting for quite some time now. It’s refreshing to see the actor having fun on screen — he has finally let his guard down and has lightened up for the better. Siva takes his own time to properly establish the milieu and the drama around Thooku Durai and his family. We’re introduced to Dr Niranjana (Nayanthara), who, surprisingly, has a reason to exist in this universe dominated by alpha males. And the first half is irresistibly entertaining and ends with a terrific interval stretch that offers moments of goosebumps for fans.

But then, the issues slowly begin to creep up, and the second half is a different film altogether. There’s an Avvai Shanmugi-like angle, when Thooku Durai, in the guise of a bodyguard, takes care of his daughter Swetha, played by Anikha yet again. The heartwarming scenes between Ajith and Anikha, that left our eyes misted in Yennai Arindhaal, seem forced and emotionless in Viswasam. In the sense that the scenes don’t hit you in the gut. The problem with the film is that it offers very little for Ajith, the star, though there are quite a few meta references aimed at the actor’s fans.

Halfway through the pointless second half, I began to have my own thoughts about Viswasam. What if it’s a fancy upgrade of Veeram? What if Vinayagam from Veeram had a light-hearted flashback, in which he dyed his hair to play the younger version of Thooku Durai? Remember Kopperundevi, the superbly boring one-note character, who leaves Vinayagam for his violent nature? What if she was re-christened as Niranjana, and decides to marry him? What if they had a daughter? Isn’t Veeram the most satisfying masala film written by the director?


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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 1:07:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/viswasam-review-a-fancy-upgrade-of-veeram/article25960170.ece

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