Valiyavan review: Romance and revenge, but little energy to push them

Hindustan Times | ByGautaman Bhaskaran, Chennai
Mar 27, 2015 06:50 PM IST

For a story that drives in the fast lane of vendetta while having a romantic sidetrack throughout, it is surprising lacking in energy. While Jai looks wooden, Andrea Jeremiah's hardly the schemer the plot requires her to be.

Director: M Saravanan
Cast: Jai, Andrea Jeremiah, Bala Saravanan
Rating: 1.5/5

In a way, Saravanan's reminds one of the notorious incident some years ago in an upmarket Mumbai restaurant, where a Bollywood star bashed up an elderly man and his grown-up son because the two had objected to the racket the actor and his friends were making. In Valiyavan, the innocent and joyful outing of a family of father, mother and their adult son turns into a bloody nightmare when an internationally renowned boxer takes offence over a terribly silly incident of food spill and beats the two men into humiliated submission.

The film then swerves into the fast lane of vendetta, when Jai's Vinodh vows to get even with the boxer -- if only to ensure that his father regains his lost dignity. But unfortunately, the first half of a 139-minute-long movie drives us to sheer boredom with its silly love story between Vinodh and Subiksha (Andrea Jeremiah), the girl who works in the same company as Vinodh's father. She plans a little game to get the young man into battle gear, which he does -- not just to help his family wounds heal, but also to prove to his love that he can bring a mighty but arrogant boxer to his knees.

Obviously, Saravanan who also wrote the story, fails to get enough meat into the narrative, with the result that some scenes have been stretched to an almost breaking point. They clearly reminded one of the innumerable television serials where the effort to fill the 20-minute slot often appears laboured.

Saravanan has not been able to rope in great cast either. Jai never seems to be able to get out of the sleepy, wooden look of his, and even in those moments of sheer desperation and anger, when revenge overwhelms him, he exhibits little energy. He comes off as a dull actor sleepwalking through a part that has him hogging most of the screen time. Jeremiah is hardly any better. She is pretty as Polly, but fails to pump into her character the qualities of a schemer, albeit a delightful one, that she is -- first getting Jai all worked up over her (I love you, she tells him when she first passes by him in a Chennai underground pedestrian subway) and later ordering him to smash the boxer as a condition for reciprocity.

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