Cast: Santhanam, Ashna Zaveri, Mirchi Senthil, Raviprakash, Nagineedu, VTV Ganesh
Star Rating: ***1/2
For a film that has been made in all languages, the Tamil one was long pending. However, it seems to be worth the wait. Valllavanukku Pullum Aayudham, which is the remake of the cult Telugu hit Maryada Ramana, packs enough punch and succeeds in not just being an entertaining film through and through, but also sends across a loud and clear message that it’s protagonist Santhanam (who has produced the film along with PVP Cinemas), has finally arrived as a solo hero.
The film starts off in a small, nondescript village Arayangaadu, where two warring families clash in more than just a war of words. In the brawl that ensues, Shakti’s (Santhanam) father and Nagineedu’s brother end up killing each other. An enraged Nagineedu, swears to avenge his brother’s death. Shakti’s mother flees with her baby to Chennai. Cut to 27 years later and the protagonist, now orphaned, ekes out a living as a water-can delivery boy. His only companion in the world, is his trusted cycle, which has a mind of its own and even talks to him, resulting in some hilarious scenes. Shakti struggles to make ends meet, when he learns of some ancestral property in Arayangaadu. He plans to sell off his property to end his financial woes. He sets out to Arayangaadu, and on the train meets Vaanathi (Ashna Zaveri), who turns out to be Nagineedu’s daughter. He lands up in his native, where one of Nagineedu’s sons essayed by Ravi Prakash, quickly discovers that Shakti is in fact, Nagineedu’s mortal enemy. A cruel twist of fate lands Shakti right to the doorstep of death. However, it is Nagineedu’s age-old tradition that no blood will be spilled inside his house and Shakti quickly learns of it only to take advantage of the situation. How he gets out forms the rest of the story.
Performance wise, Vallavanukku Pullum Aayudham is a Santhanam show all the way. In addition to displaying some extraordinary dancing prowess, he also delivers as a complete actor, displaying a range of emotions. His brand of comedy, which is quite famous now, is hilarious and slapstick, and brings about hearty laughter on more than one occasion, especially in the first half. As Vaanathi, Ashna Zaveri, a newcomer shows immense potential and she essays her role brilliantly. A few surprise cameo appearances, including one by VTV Ganesh may seem welcome at first, but only end up adding confusion to the plot in the second half. A brilliant chase through the landscape of Arayangaadu is one of the main highlights of the film – it is exciting and nerve wrecking all rolled into one. Although the climax is clichéd with the ‘love can melt even the hardest of hearts’ plotline, it ties up in the end.
The film has all the makings of a commercial entertainer, which is why it will not bomb at the BO. The songs by Siddharth Vipin are the usual mix of mass gaana songs and love ballads. Director Srinath plays on Santhanam’s strengths and delivers a clean entertainer – sometimes even teasing the audience into rooting for an all is well end. As a commercial film, Vallavanukku Pullum Aayudham surely hits the spot.