Director: Selva Sekaran
Cast: Vikranth, Arthana Binu, Pasupathy, Soori, Kishore
Suseenthiran’s Vennila Kabaddi Kuzhu (2009) worked on many levels. On paper, it might have been a classic sports underdog story but the sport was Kabaddi, something only used to reinforce the macho credentials of the hero till then – be it Vijay in Ghilli (2004) or Shah Rukh Khan – however briefly – in Pardes (1997). But Suseenthiran’s film tapped into something more – it brimmed with the sweet camaraderie of a bunch of regular people that anyone could relate to. Their friendship was aspirational. The film’s prologue insists that the men belong to different class and caste, but kabaddi is the one thing that unites them. There were fault lines, but they were never forced, just inevitable – Suseenthiran is typically astute with caste in his films. The lines and images from Vennila Kabaddi Kuzhu are sealed in pop culture bottle and thrown into the ocean of Tamil cinema – be it the parotta scene or simply “Sethan da Sekar”. Lost sailors and aimless drifters – or the ubiquitous meme makers – regularly reach into them and the notes guarantee a familiar smile. More importantly, the film used kabaddi as a contact sport to reflect the relationship the group had off court. Selva Sekaran, the director of the sequel, is not able to conjure even an ounce of that magic. The film looks dated – as if complementing its setting – and that’s death bed for a sequel.
For a while though, the film had me believe that it is a prequel. We don’t see any of the older characters till the post-interval portions. We learn about Saravanan (Vikranth) and his kabaddi mad father Sami, a bus driver played by Pasupathy. Sami and his conductor friend go after kabaddi like moths after a flame, skipping work and even skipping bus stops to get to the games. Sami’s size of heart is emphasized when he gives up all his means to a living to help his friend, whose young son suffers from a heart disease. For a second the film had me believe that the young son will probably grow up to be Marimuthu, whose – spoiler alert – heart stops in the original film’s final moments. But nothing of that sort is the case. The first half of Vennila Kabaddi Kuzhu 2 is a chore, only consisting of painful romantic interludes and even more painful comedic attempts. The filmmaking is pedestrian and the actors all coast along, looking almost as disinterested as we do. There was a mild sigh of relief when the original film’s characters showed up but that’s only a red herring for comedy, and the film gets worse. Soori’s last fun moments on screen were in the original and it continues to be so, here sinking to the depths of extracting laughs out of dentures replacing meat bones on a plate. There is also very little kabaddi, filmed unimaginatively. The original was racy enough for a character to die, leaving most moist eyed while this one is just…bone dry.
The Vennila Kabaddi Kuzhi 2 review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.