Jul 18 2017


Published by at 10:05 pm under Review,Tamil Cinema


Jayam Ravi seems to be at the forefront of the movement to make Tamil cinema tackle hitherto unexplored genres. His Miruthan was Tamil cinema’s first zombie movie and his upcoming Tik Tik Tik is apparently set in space. His Vanamagan brings Tarzan to Tamil cinema as he plays a tribal who calls the forest his home, in the Andaman island. But with director Vijay behind the camera, the film ends up being a bland, uneasy mixture of George of the Jungle and our own, recent Kadamban.

Kavya(Sayyeshaa, a fantastic dancer as she shows in the Damn Damn… song sequence) is a spoilt rich orphan who has been raised by her dad’s friend(Prakashraj). When her trip to Bora Bora gets cancelled, she has to settle for a trip to Andaman. When driving, she ends up hitting a tribal(Jayam Ravi) who we know is called Jara and is on the run from the police. As Kavya brings the tribal – now named K. Vaasi – to Chennai,  Vaasi, who has had no contact with humans other than his tribe members and has been shielded completely from the outside world is suddenly thrown into the midst of humans.

We get the feeling that this fish-out-of-water scenario should’ve led to a lot more laughs. After all, Vaasi has had no exposure to any of the amenities or technology that we are so used to and pretty much everything around him is new and confusing. But we get just a few glimpses of Vaasi reacting to the new world around him and these aren’t very funny. I laughed once when Thambi Ramiah, who plays Kavya’s manager/chef, tries to discipline Vaasi and has the tables turned on him but that’s about it.

The problem is that director Vijay has loftier ambitions. He wants to use Vaasi’s situation to show his life and emotions as pure and illustrate the hollowness of Kavya’s materialistic life. So, many of Vaasi’s experiences make him remember the bad experience he had with humans who entered the forests to see the tribals. And Kavya does some dumb things(she knows that most concepts of her world are alien to Vaasi and yet pays him a salary and then leaves him alone while she goes to play badminton) just so that Vaasi’s innocence can be shown(he burns the money for warmth in the air-conditioned office).

After the action shifts back to the Andaman, the film’s story resembles that of Kadamban as the tribals are forced to go up against a greedy construction company that is trying to take over their lands forcibly. But with the preceding portions being concerned with Vaasi adjusting to the real world rather than life of the tribals, their problems don’t have as much of an impact here as they did in Kadamban. The solution is also more hero-centric as Vaasi indulges in heroics alone rather than the tribals working together to defeat the bad guys. But with Vaasi forced to stay quiet, Kavya gets to spout a nice monologue, which is more than what our heroines usually get to do in the climax.

7 responses so far

7 Responses to “Vanamagan”

  1. Prasad says:

    I wish Jayam Ravi puts his mind into the script as much as he wants to different genres. All that you have mentioned have been BO failures and am pretty sure TikTikTik will also not make it.

  2. Balaji says:

    But that’s still better than acting in the same masala tripe over and over again no? Like most of our other heroes…

  3. Prasad says:

    @Balaji, I totally agree on that. It seems like really tough for our script-writers to come up with a “different” yet an engaging script that can entertain the audience

  4. Prakash Rao says:

    Hmm. Can’t stand Kamal for a few years now, but used to be a fan in the 90s. Used to feel bad for him. He’s put a lot of effort and try to make different movies, only for some/most to bomb badly. And Rajini would do the same spiel and rake in the money. I guess this is similar. Trying some different has some upside but a lot of downside, and it takes a lot of courage to try. Having said all that, I don’t think I’ll watch this one :)

  5. Vijayan says:

    Pls dont compare Kamal here. Dude inhales cinema, dat even his mokka films would put even best films of any hero (bar Sivaji, Rajnikanth) to shame

    I respect Ravi for his range of film selection ever since Peranmai. Ofc, dude had some Engayum Kaadhals, but he bounced back strong with some solid entertainers like Thani Oruvan & Miruthan etc

    I knew this Tarzan-ripoff wouldnt work. Especially in Tamil Nadu. Wish at least his Tik Tik Tik would raise the bar.

    I remember being Ravi’s adamant fan during M.Kumaran/Santosh Subramaniam period. But just wish he acts in 1 hard-hitting action film, followed by full-length comedy film.

    But I still find it suprising how an actor with such talent has such lack of fandom surrounding him when even SK has

  6. Balaji says:

    Prakash, I guess the difference is that the effort Kamal put in was in all aspects – the subject, the characters, the script and so on. Here Ravi picks different genres but ends up doing the same old shtick(romance/comedy) in those genres.

    Vijayan, Ravi has fit some roles well but I’m not sure I’d go so far as to call him talented. He is somewhat bland with no defining characteristic that makes him stand apart. He does the same thing in whatever genre he picks.

  7. Prakash says:

    @Vijayan, though I can’t stand Kamal any more, I’m still not insane to compare JR to Kamal :) Some were comparing Vikram to Kamal a few years back, and even that’s a crazy comparison. Even in disliking Kamal, I can acknowledge his genius and dedication. The only person who comes close, and has exceeded him in some aspects, is Aamir Khan.

    My comparison was just in the trying something different and failing vs doing the same nonsense and raking in the moolah.