Tamil Reviews

Brindhavanam Review: Lest We Forget Vivek

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Early last year, the Government of Tamil Nadu, on a public interest drive, had come out with several commercials featuring stars (Sivakumar, Karthi and Vijay Sethupathi among others) to create awareness about dengue. Vivek, too, had starred in an advert –  one in which he educates his aide, Cell Murugan – playing the role of his ‘illiterate’ driver – about dengue. It is quite theatrical, this commercial. A few seconds later, in characteristic style, Vivek instructs the ‘thaaimargal‘ on dengue prevention. He also sneaks in a jibe about women …to break the ice.

The Government of Tamil Nadu is …offbeat with its public interest commercials. Played in theatres during intermission, a recent one about safe road gear involved poking fun at woman drivers who covered their heads with scarves and talked on cellphones – all set to catchy music. Needless to say, much mirth was had in the theatre. No male driver was ever in the picture.

Vivek, meanwhile, in the same breath, invokes the late maanbumigu mudhalamaichar Amma in the dengue commercial, and ends with another characteristic punch.

In Radha Mohan’s Brindhavanam, Vivek is a lead. The movie seems to have been scripted for him, line for line, word for word. It allows room for his punches, one-liners, and quite a few ‘jokes’ that the actor has had on reserve. It may not star him the way Naan Thaan Bala or Palakkaatu Madhavan might have, but he is the star nevertheless. Arulnithi, Tanya and Cell Murugan make themselves conducive for his humour to take effect. Hell, Arulnithi is mute for the better part of the movie; Vivek talks for him. And, even if you didn’t know the comedian in his heyday, that’s quickly remedied. There are references to Run, Dhool, Thirumalai…

Arulnithi plays his fan.

Much later, Vivek cannily weaves in the reason too, part deprecatory, his sly speech names ‘comedians like Yogi Babu who have made use of  his absence’. But of course, Vivek quickly says, I was planting trees, not being the cinema-kaaran I was supposed to be.

*****

Arulnithi (Kannan) is deaf-mute (“Pera ketta sweater pinra?”), has a tragic past, and unsurprisingly, is the darling of his society. MS Bhaskar, reprises his Mozhi role, sad tale intact, save for the insanity. Arulnithi, meanwhile, takes a few lessons from Jyothika. He is pleasing most of the time, but is prone to violent bursts of temper – a trait which seems to come with the territory in Tamil cinema. He works in a salon as a hairdresser and doesn’t want to marry the woman (Tanya as Sandhya) he likes. She pursues him, anyway – for a long, long time. Vivek, on the other hand, turns mentor, and has a tragic tale to tell, too. And, as if to make up for sea of sentiment, ‘jokes’ come in from all quarters. The movie is set in Ooty, so Arulnithi’s sidekick is called Varkey, someone compares kaadhal to a haircut, and women become the subject of much banter. Vivek also makes an enormous effort to wisecrack.

It shows.

Vazhakkai nera vettina bajji, he says, ana kurukka vettina chips!

*****

The Brindhavanam review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.

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