Bigil movie review: Vijay’s film will remind you of Shah Rukh Khan’s Chak De India, redeems itself in second half

Bigil movie review: Despite a problematic first half, the Atlee-directed Vijay starrer makes up in the second half with an emotionally rewarding end.
Bigil movie review: Directed by Atlee, the film stars Vijay in a double role.
Bigil movie review: Directed by Atlee, the film stars Vijay in a double role.
Updated on Oct 25, 2019 01:03 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByKarthik Kumar

Bigil
Director: Atlee
Cast: Vijay, Nayanthara, Kathir, Jackie Shroff, Amritha Aiyer, Reba Monica John and Varsha Bollamma

Atlee’s third film with Vijay is a sports drama that is stitched from the same cloth as Shah Rukh Khan’s Chak De! But what sets Bigil apart is its treatment and scale that’s well justified by the overall vision, and Atlee understands what the masses love like no other contemporary commercial filmmaker. Despite a problematic first half except for a few scenes, Bigil redeems itself big time with a strong and emotionally rewarding second half.

Bigil features Vijay in dual roles as Michael and Rayappan. While Michael is a celebrated national level football player, his father Rayappan is a local gangster. Rayappan gets sucked into the world of rowdyism in a young age and wishes for his son to not follow in his footsteps. But fate wills otherwise and Michael ends up paying for his father’s actions. But when Michael finally gets a shot at redemption, he chooses football over the path he had to choose because of his father and what follows forms the crux of the story.

In Bigil, Vijay plays a football coach.
In Bigil, Vijay plays a football coach.

Bigil is a big step up for Atlee in terms of scale and vision, and he pulls off quite convincingly, delivering a film that works both as a star service to Vijay and as a powerful sports drama with an effective emotional core. In the first half, Bigil treads a tried-and-tested path of commercial cinema and plays to the gallery, especially with Vijay’s Rayappan character who plays the aged gangster with charisma. The football portion, featuring Michael, doesn’t quite work as expected but Atlee makes up for it with a well choreographed football sequences in the second half.

Watch the trailer of Bigil here: 

Bigil features a sub plot about women empowerment and features an acid attack survivor as one of the players in the team. The whole acid attack stretch, featuring Reba Monica John, is sensibly pulled off and it resonates strongly when we see her return to playing after the traumatic incident. However, another sub plot featuring a plus-size player is handled recklessly; her character is used as a caricature to evoke some laughs. The Chak De hangover is evident in the second half and some scenes are more or less similar. The film needed to be even more serious in its tone to keep us invested as it oscillates between a sports drama and a gangster flick but never works on the whole as neither.

Also read: Shah Rukh Khan: ‘I am a lower middle-class boy without parents who got so much love, I am a dream come true’

When it comes to the performances, Vijay holds the film together and especially as Rayappan, an aged gangster, he breathes swag and plays his part more confidently than ever. However, as Michael, the former player and coach, he doesn’t quite impress as much as Rayappan.

Bigil is excruciatingly long and if not for the football portion which is executed on a grand scale and visuals, the film would’ve struggled to stay afloat.

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