Silver screen is a tantalizing dream and ‘Vizha’ has given the much anticipated break to stardom for an array of talents. On one side is Mahendran, who is not new to camera, given his detailed experience as child artiste in over 100 movies across languages; on the other is the director aspirant Bharathi Balakumaran from the prestigious league of ‘Naalaya Iyakunar’ with his award winning short film ‘Udhiri’. With ‘Vizha’, the team has realized their dreams, screening the lauded short film as a feature film on the big canvas.
‘Udhiri’ received rave responses from all quarters of audience. Taking it a step further, we have ‘Vizha’ here which is not your ordinary run-of-the-mill romantic story. The film has a simple yet offbeat story on a taut screenplay. There is love everywhere, and this story pans closer into the lives of simpletons from a small town, who make a living on deaths. Last rites are one of the many in the list of costliest affairs in our country, and the procedure in some cultures include a set of professional mourners and a band of drummer-cum-dancers; the former here is the heroine Rakkamma and the latter the hero Sundaram, who meet at a death. What blooms in an event filled with sorrow is melting love for one another. Sundaram develops instant liking to her and awaits a chance to meet her once more, which unfortunately has to be a death. Sundaram and his friends, who are Thappattam players by profession look out for every chance to meet Rakkamma, when the rest of the story unfolds as complications. Rivalry, bullies and vamps, twisted interests, compelling responsibilities and emotional roller coaster ending in an unpredictable climax is all that makes up ‘Vizha’.
After his elaborate experience in various little roles, Mahendran makes his debut as hero on silver screen; having had vast experience in acting, apart from being a professionally trained dancer, Mahendran lives up to the expectations vested on him, and plays the rustic role with ease. This young man sure has an optimistic future in village-based stories. Malavika Menon, the new comer to cameras, has matched up to the well-experienced Mahendran, in acting at par with him. Her bubbly charm, with a little more working around and grooming, will definitely take her a long way on screen. The bunch of friends around Sundaram are a supportive lot, and play as realistic pals. However, not all comedy sequences appeal; some have been rendered inconsistent by unnecessary thread of words, and some by their sheer length. On the whole, the film has a clean screenplay, though not entirely appealing instantly. A little more could have been given into establishing an emotional relationship between the characters on screen and the audience, given that this is not a short film, and that effective utilization of time plays a crucial role in living up to the expectations, as left behind by ‘Udhiri’.
James Vasanthan is a sure-shot chart topper, and he has delivered his best once again with this movie. He has consistently composed the background score too, making the movie experience musically appealing. UK Senthilkumar is an interesting find, and the way he has handled the camera well deserves special appreciation. Angling of camera in the narrow settings is profound, and the way the song ‘Ennacho Edhacho’ has been canned is stunning. Though the title does not quite befit the story line, the film on the whole is undoubtedly technically sound.
Based predominantly on deaths in the village, given the professions of the lead characters, the film does not entirely have a positive aura, but has an appealing rustic earthen feeling nonetheless. With comedy in places calling out for laughter, while the rest of such sequences falling relatively flat, ‘Vizha’ has a few scenes that scale it up. With so much of confusion going around, the movie gathers momentum in the second half, but all that seems to end too fast, as though in haste, when it hits climax. All said and done, ‘Vizha’ is a clean entertainer.