Vai Raja Vai: Curse of the second half

Aishwaryaa Dhanush’s debut film, 3, was supremely entertaining… correction, the first half of the film was supremely entertaining. It suffered from bipolar disorder — much like its protagonist — with its first half disjointed from the second. With Vai Raja Vai, Aishwaryaa has gone unapologetically commercial and this time, her protagonist, Karthik (Gautham Karthik) suffers (or should I say gains?) from a Nostradamus-like power to predict.

I can’t think of another psychological condition so conducive to commercial cinema. We don’t need a doctor explaining it to us like in 3 or even in the recent I. Right at the beginning, we see a baby cry for the first time, two months after his birth. No sooner than his father picks him up from the cradle, a ceiling fan falls over it. We understand the baby’s ‘power’ right away. Growing up, the boy aces all exams, thanks to being able to predict questions.

Vai Raja Vai

Genre: Comedy thriller
Director: Aishwaryaa Dhanush
Cast: Gautham Karthik, Priya Anand, Vivekh, Taapsee Pannu
Storyline: A man with the power of intuition gets into gambling

Add to this, interesting premise of greed for money, and you have so much potential for a wish-fulfilment film that makes the early portions of Vai Raja Vai incredibly fun. Backed by Gautham Menon- esque romantic voice-overs and funny one-liners by writer Madhan Karky (like ‘ Oru ponnukitta rahasyam solradhum, oru message-a 1000 perukku anupardhum onnu dhaan’) and you’ve got a winner in your hands — or so it seems.

It is when the setting shifts from small-time spot fixing in cricket matches (in the first half) to roulette in Goa (in the second) that the film takes a sudden turn for the worse. Instead of tightly written set pieces that explore various probabilities of intuition — how about scenes that show him mastering his skill? — the director floods us with a barrage of underdeveloped characters, all failing to make an impact. This includes M.S. Bhaskar, Manobala, Taapsee Pannu and even the much-hyped cameo of Kokki Kumar ( Pudhupettai) by Dhanush.

As I walk out of the theatre, I can’t help but feel that her second film too suffers from bipolar disorder.

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Printable version | Apr 30, 2021 6:57:23 AM |

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