Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu review: A broody, rewarding gangster drama that’s devoid of flashy heroism

ByHaricharan Pudipeddi
Sep 15, 2022 12:01 PM IST

Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu movie review: Gautham Menon's gangster film starring Simbu is realistic and entertaining.

Filmmaker Gautham Menon reinvents his filmmaking style in a big way with his latest release Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu, which marks the beginning of an epic gangster universe. Most popular for his breezy romantic stories and the successful cop universe of films, Gautham treads a path less travelled to narrate a story about the rise of a gangster but this is a story that’s devoid of any heroism. What’s really refreshing about Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu is that it allows both Gautham and Silambarasan to step out of their comfort zones and the result is rewarding. (Also read: Simbu interview)

Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu movie review: Simbu is far from the movie hero we have seen him as.
Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu movie review: Simbu is far from the movie hero we have seen him as.

Silambarasan plays Muthu, a young boy from a very small town in Tamil Nadu. An accident back home forces him to travel to Mumbai in search of a job to support his mother and younger sister. Through a family relative, he lands a menial job in a parotta stall run by the migrant Tamil community in Mumbai. It doesn’t take much time for Muthu to realise that the stall is merely being used as a disguise for some shady business. As Muthu slowly starts getting acquainted with his co-workers and gets accustomed to the world he currently lives in, he learns of the direct ties of his co-workers and boss with the local underworld. The day finally arrives when Muthu is sent on a job but he ends up being of no use. As much as he tries to stay away from getting involved in gang wars, he’s eventually sucked into the world and is forced to pick up a weapon, because the mantra for survival is simple – kill or be killed.

Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu is, in a way, Gautham Menon’s tribute to other popular Indian gangster films. There’s even a lovely reference to Mani Ratnam’s Nayakan, another Mumbai-centric gangster drama, which released over two decades ago.

As much as the film follows a predictable story arc, it’s the drama and the build-up to the transformation of Simbu’s character that really keeps one invested in the story. The film allows Simbu to shed his star image and be seen as a young boy drawn into the underworld. He stuns with a realistic performance.

This is unarguably Gautham’s best work in recent times and apart from his realistic treatment, it's the action sequences that really stand out in the film. Given Mumbai’s congested lifestyle and lack of space, most of the action takes place in cramped places and they’re shot well.

The film has its flaws but the realistic treatment and Simbu’s terrific performance along with A.R Rahman’s magic score keeps one largely engrossed. Debutante Siddhi Idnani makes a confident debut and she shines in a brief role. Neeraj Madhav plays a very interesting character that remains largely unexplored but going by the way it’s treated, it looks like there’s a lot of scope for his role in the second part.

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