Cast: Madhavan, Vijay Sethupathi, Shraddha Srinath, Kathir, Varalaxmi
Director: Pushkar- Gayathri
When a fearless and fierce law enforcement officer is pitted against a mastermind criminal who knows no limits, one is in for an engaging and bewitching affair with the possibility of having their mind’s blown. And when the writers, directors and actors of this premise execute their duties with passion and at a very high level, the end result would be something similar to what we have in 'Vikram Vedha.'
Directed by the dynamic duo of Pushkar and Gayathri, 'Vikram Vedha' is loosely based on the ancient folkloric tale of Vikram and Betal. Madhavan who plays Vikram is an upright cop with a clear notion of good and evil. He’s capable of being chilled out and intense within a span of seconds, and this in a way is his true strength: being a badass in life! Being an encounter specialist, Vikram has nabbed plenty of criminals in his life and the prospect of confronting another one hardly produces as much as a twitch in him. Except for when his arch nemesis Vedha comes along.
Played by the party-crasher Vijay Sethupathi, Vedha is a scheming gangster who has rightly identified that battles are first won through the mind. To mark such an entry, Vedha sidesteps Vikram’s plans to nab him and instead, calmly walks into the police headquarters and gives himself up, fully aware that the cards are his to play and the ball would be thrown back into Vikram’s court. And this little interaction is the basis for the remaining encounters in 'Vikram Vedha' - a movie where traditionally known ‘good and bad’ boundaries are constantly challenged through anecdotes and the actions of one’s past.
To be fair, the movie is a simplistic and straightforward affair within which complicated layers are weaved to etch out a narrative back-and-forth between Vikram and Vedha. These interactive craftsmanship are also extended to the encounters between other characters, most noticeably Vikram and his wife, Priya (Shraddha Srinath.) They have a rocky beginning since Vikram dislikes the lawyer type (which Priya is) and likewise, she hates cops. Into a bar they enter (setup by Vikram’s buddy Simon) where the duo order something agreeable: whiskey on the rocks. A moment of silence is followed by a creeping acceptance of one another, despite the initial misgivings.
Vijay Sethupathi’s performance enlivens the crowd. The guy just oozes of charisma to the point where you probably start rooting for the villain! The writing really brings the versatile actor alive - extremely smart, witty, and with an ability to make you laugh too. Madhavan has given a whole- hearted feat- he doesn’t need the witty one-liners or excessive dialogues. He makes you feel the character.
Kudos to the directors’ duo for portraying female leads Shraddha Srinath and Varalakshmi in brave characters. Prem as Simon, Kathir as Pulli, Hareesh Peradi and Rajkumar do their part well.
On the technical side, PS Vinod’s cinematography really stood out. His experience has been put to good use here. And Sam CS’ music, especially the background score is brilliant. Overall, Vikram Vedha is a nuanced and well-rounded film in the deadly combo of Madhavan and Sethupathi and a definite highlight of 2017.