Raghuvaran (Dhanush) and his dad are in the middle of a dreadful row, when he fumes: “Neenga eppovume partial, perla kooda! Avanukku mattum hero peru, Karthiknu. Enakku mattum villain peru – Raghuvaran.”
In another instance, he is with his mother, showing her his handmade telescope, “En thalavidhi. Indha romantic setting la neenga ukkandhirukkenga…en girlfriend badhila!”
Velaiyilla Pattathari is replete with moments like these, where dry humour is used to liven up predictable situations. The writing is witty and irreverent, and it ups the plot by several notches. Writer and director Velraj has chosen a simple thread for his debut movie: the travails of an unemployed civil engineer. He adds a host of stereotypical characters to his plot – the lenient mother, the strict dad, a bookish brother, loving girlfriend and a rich foreign educated villain. But he textures his narrative beautifully all the same, lacing it with humour and managing to avoid the clichéd traps that come with a plot as old as this – one that has shades of Kamal Haasan’s Sathya and Varumayin Niram Sivappu.
So even though there is nothing new about an unshaven young man who sits at home all day, there is a lot that is interesting about his backstory. That he is part of a Vellayilla Pattathari group on Facebook, drives a ramshackle moped and has a dog named Harry Potter. That he decides to pay a visit to his new neighbour, and ends up watching a weepy daily soap with her. That he runs into his heroine (Amala Paul) when drunk, and can’t remember a thing the next day. That he has a highly salaried younger brother who his dad is always comparing him against.
Velraj even manages to liven up his stunts with humour. Goons enter the hero’s house and start beating him up. A kick here and a slap there. Raghu falls flat on the ground and they continue hitting him, when suddenly his mother comes running in and yells at them to let him go. His dad is not here to protect him, she tells them. Raghu then squeals through his bloodied nose, “Yen munnadiya sollale,” and starts fighting back. But amidst all this the amma-son bond is a touching presence, tugging your hearts at the most unexpected moments. Saranya Ponvannan brings a new dimension to her role; she is tender and assertive at the same time. Especially when she reprimands him for talking back to his dad.
There is also an antagonist: a spoilt rich brat (Amitash Pradhan), who looks like he just walked in straight from the Chennai Fashion Week. Vivekh’s is a brief but effective role. Amala Paul slips into the character with ease and her chemistry with Dhanush is sizzling. Samuthirakani is understated but extremely effective as the dad.
There are quite a few catchy songs – several of them sung by Dhanush – but suprisingly, they don’t mar the flow. And more than the songs, Anirudh’s background music, especially in the second half, is a revelation.
Otherwise, VIP is Dhanush’s show all the way. There is a marked Rajinikanth hangover, be it the way he spins his cigarette after a fight, his swagger or even his dialogue delivery: his “Amul baby” line is almost exactly like Rajinikanth’s “Jujubi” in Padayappa. Dhanush has his punchlines down pat, and his casual body language and intense eyes are crowd pleasers, but it is in the intensely emotional scenes that he comes into his own: then we have eyes only for him and no one else.
The Velaiyilla Pattathari 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 an advertising relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.