Aug 29 2017


Published by at 10:32 pm under Review,Tamil Cinema


After Veeram and Vedhalam, Ajith teams up with director Siva for the 3rd time in Vivegam. Thankfully the duo haven’t settled for another mass masala movie and have given us an action thriller on an international canvas.

Ajith plays Ajay Kumar or AK, a member of a counter terrorist squad. The film is modeled along the lines of an entry in the  James Bond or Mission Impossible series as it moves from one action set piece to the next with some down time for exposition between them. These action blocks which drive the film are varied and mostly done well. A bike chase, a short shoot-out on a road and a duel between AK and two others beside railway tracks are all staged well and the sequence where a badly battered AK trains his way back to strength, with Anirudh’s fast-paced Thalai Vidhuthalai… blasting in the background, is inspiring.

There is hardly any romance between AK and Yazhini(Kajal Agarwal) with only a scene at a hotel she owns and a song(the lovely Kaadhalaada…) struggling to show the non-existent chemistry between them. Once the action begins, she becomes the typical damsel in distress though she does get to actually help AK a little. Her knowledge of Morse code comes in handy at a crucial time and in a scene reminiscent of Tom Cruise and the precog escaping in Minority Report, she helps AK infiltrate the counter terrorist squad headquarters.

The film is really techno-heavy as a lot of high-tech gadgetry is employed throughout. With the foreign setting, these don’t seem out of place and in many places, are used sensibly(even if the implementation seems too futuristic, as with the hologram generator or the way the bad guy hones in on Yazhini in the train through webcams). The director also tries to add some urgency to the proceedings by attaching a time limit to most events. The urgency is rarely felt in the actions of the characters as they race against time but a countdown, whether its the time before a bomb explodes or the time AK has to disable some power systems while Yazhini is stashed in a train, keeps things moving.

But when the movie goes over the top, it really goes over the top. Oddly enough, the worst of these occur at the start and the end of the film. The opening action block gives a good intro to Ajith but then turns ridiculous when he falls backward from a bridge, manages to evade bullets from multiple shooters while shooting and killing many among them, plunges into the water with his sunglasses intact and survives. The climactic fight, while taking place in a good setting, loses all seriousness with Yazhini launching into a song with gusto while being tied up and AK ripping off his shirt and posing like a contestant in the Mr. Universe competition before fighting.

The screenplay that ties the action pieces together doesn’t do the job well. It feels too shallow and superficial with a lot of the narrative turns happening due to AK’s intuition and hunches. The seriousness of the damage that could be caused by whatever AK is after never comes across well and the bad guy is a joke. So AK’s chase lacks the suspense and tension that drives such thrillers.

Whenever the characters opens their mouth, the film lays bare its crude mass masala sensibilities. It starts right from Ajith, who seems to have replaced punchlines with punch paragraphs(probably from the time the en vaazhkai… dialog from Billa 2 became popular)! Instead of pithy comebacks or snappy one-liners, he utters these long, philosophical lines and labors over them for so long that he seems to be talking in slow motion. These sound ridiculous in many places, like the opening sequence where he starts talking with a whole police force facing him and probably would’ve been riddled with bullets before got the first word out. As is the case in our hero-centric films, we also have everyone singing the hero’s praises every chance they get and it sounds silly when even the bad guy gets into the act.

13 responses so far

13 Responses to “Vivegam”

  1. Vijayan says:

    Ah yes! Vivegam is definetly among the list of memorable films of Ajith sir’s career. More like Kamal Hassan’s Vikram recreated in 2017, as it was also an attempt of bringing James Bond genre into Tamil Cinema.

    That being said, its suprising despite being marketed as Hollywood/international standard film, Vivegam lacks the skin show/glamour/drinking/double-entrende dialogues.

    Siva-Ajith combo may have met with various criticism for the illogical scenes & over-the-top actions, but their “V-trilogy” has obviously made Ajith films palatable to general/female audiences given how in Malaysia, his popularity has been on the rise lately

    I had this weird love-hate dilemma with Ajith’s choice of Siva when there’s other directors. While Veeram was pure time-pass, I personally liked Vedalam only in some parts.

    Vivegam however was bloated with so many fantastic moments/theaterical moments thats hard to resist.

    Outside Twitter & Youtube, the general consensus about the film has been “Superb”

  2. Jordan says:

    “AK ripping off his shirt and posing like a contestant in the Mr. Universe competition before fighting”. LOL!

  3. Sujatha Ramesh says:

    Balaji, very good review as always

    the theater literally begged the villains to get rid of kajal !!!
    wish her scenes were chopped off and added more of Akshara ..

  4. Prasad says:

    How long will one have to wait before Ajith/Vijay stop playing to gallery and make movies they/people can reminisce after years? The general review about Vivegam is like “pouring heart out performance” only to be let down by the script (similar to I)

  5. Prakash Rao says:

    “Punch paragraphs” … sigh!

    Also LOL-ing at the “… contestant in the Mr. Universe” line :)

    I guess one has to be careful when ripping Ajith/Vijay movies … but got a “stay away” vibe from the previews, and looks like the movie lives up to that expectation! Will happily continue avoiding A/V movies :)

  6. Jordan says:

    Apparently, Ajith’s next is with Siva AGAIN. The audience should suggest this V title, “venaam…valikuthu”.

  7. Prakash Rao says:

    @Jordan, over-lollu 😀

  8. Ramesh 1 says:

    Haha, good one, Jordan.

    If I forget about the first ten minutes + the whole of the second half – then this would have been a film worth watching. Ajith does incredibly well though – I just hope he blesses other film makers from now on.

    *spoiler* Did anyone else find the apparent name of Ajith’s child quite strange – considering that they’d known each other for just about a day? :/ I know beggars can’t be choosers, but seriously…

  9. VJ says:

    Next movie– Vidamattom or villathanam ?

  10. Reza says:

    Without a doubt, easily the worst movie ive seen in my life. What a wasre age of 3 hours in my life. The thing i hate about AJITH AND VIJSY MOVIES are ajith n vijay acting. Irritating at its best.

    Too much editing, shaky camera i got a head ache watching n left the theatre n waited outside for 20 mins till interval till my brother in law came out. Wanted to go home as i couldnt watch it anymore. My bil suggested lets watch the 2nd half n go as it might be good. Didnt wanna dissapoint him n the horrow show started in the 2nd half N I tried to sleep despite the noise.

    Never in my life felt SO UNCOMFORTABLE WATCHING A MOVIE. i advised my bil to avoid the movie AS SIVA IS A CRAP DIRECTOR. ajith plus siva i EXPECTED THE WORST BUT I DIDNT expect to witness the worst movie ever.

  11. Prasad says:

    @Reza, I was *waiting* for your comment…!!!

  12. Balaji says:

    Vijayan, yeah Ajith apparently feels that Siva’s films have given him better reach among family audiences and that’s why he is sticking with him. Vivegam didn’t fit that criteria since it was low on family sentiments but I was glad they chose a different genre.

    Sujatha, realized only after reading your comment that I hadn’t mentioned Akshara in my review at all. Guess that’s how much of an impact she had…

    Prasad, Ajith seemed to be making some changes with films like Mankatha and Yennai Arindhaal but his repeated team-up with Siva has been disappointing.

    Jordan, LOL :)

    Ramesh, I think there were many stranger things and so that didn’t even cross my mind :)

    VJ, villain is already done. So Villathanam is out I think :)

    Reza, the shaky camera is a common attribute of many action movies but didn’t think it was that bad here.

  13. Reza says:

    Balaji i couldnt watch it, it gave me headache!!