Vellai Illa Pattadhari (Unemployed Graduate)
Cast: Dhanush, Amala Paul, Saranya, Vivek
Running Time: 133 minutes
When one walks into a Dhanush film
, one must be prepared for a parallel soundtrack, which emerges from the audiences. There is so much hooting and screaming every time the actor appears on the screen that the dialogues are lost, and for a serious viewer or critic, this is sheer nightmare.
But such is the halo around Dhanush that despite his recent box-office disasters, fans adore him and producers continue to hire him. Even those from Bollywood. Balki’s Shamitabh (with Amitabh Bachchan) and reportedly Anand Rai’s sequel to Tanu Weds Manu have Dhanush.
Unfortunately, apart from his National Award-winning role in Aadukalam, Dhanush has not proved his mettle. One important reason is his limited range, and in most of the 24 movies he has been seen till now, he plays the downtrodden and the distressed hero.
His 25th film, Vellai Illa Pattadhari, (which he has produced), portrays him as, the title conveys, an unemployed youth, Raghuvaran, with a degree in civil engineering who finds his knocks going unanswered. When a firm is willing to engage him, his uprightness gets in the way. He will, for instance, not design an eight-storey structure when the plan sanctions six. He will also not take up a job in a call centre, for that is infra-dig.
So, Raghuvaran remains the butt of his father’s ridicule who is clearly distraught that while his younger son has a handsome job and a handsome salary, the older sibling, Raghuvaran, is idling away his time.
Of course, Vellai Illa Pattadhari, changes tracks midway to give Raghuvaran a chance, both professionally and personally. He lands a great assignment that is both demanding and dangerous, and the girl next door, Shalini (Amala Paul), a dentist earning a fantastic salary, falls in love with him – a guy who is unshaven, unwaged and rides a rickety two-wheeler that most of the time has to be pedalled like a bicycle.
Now, why would any attractive dentist flip for a man like Raghuvaran is something that is beyond my sense of logic, but then, many of the episodes in the movie batter one’s intelligence. Like, when Dhanush takes his shirt off (a la Salman Khan) to take on a dozen hefty men out to destroy his dream and his very being.
In the end, although Vellai Illa Pattadhari presents a grave social malaise – that of joblessness among engineering graduates in Tamil Nadu with 3000-odd colleges turning out hundreds of thousands of degree holders year after year – the script plays spoilsport. Performances do not lift the movie either. While Saranya has consoled herself into essaying the mother in just about every film she is in, Paul is a mere ornamental vase on the mantelpiece. Dhanush is Dhanush, making little attempt to vary his style.