Director: Mohan Raja
Cast: Sivakarthikeyan, Fahad Fassil, Nayanthara, Praksh Raj
'Velaikkaran', directed by Mohan Raja, is a film where a virtuous youngster gets caught in between the ruthlessness of a thug who happens to control a lot of business, and the aspiring greed and ambition of a scummy capitalist who, in his own ways, isn’t much different from the thug. Arivu (Sivakarthukeyan) is eager to start an FM radio in his locality and he’s at the mercy of a thug, Kasi (Prakash Raj). Arivu’s intention is to use this outlet to educate the slum dwellers of the conniving ways of Kasi, giving them tools to deal with this menace and improve the community at large.
Soon enough, things come to a halt and Arivu is forced to forego this undertaking and join a consumer goods company as a marketing executive. His new boss is Adhi (Fahadh Faasil), who’s all about pushing products down the throats of consumers and getting that sales figure as long a digit as possible. The well intentioned but naive Arivu has decisions to make: should he just stay in his own bubble and ignore the good that he can do? Or might he be better off having a two way war - on one side, the riff-raff capitalist and on the other, his villainous old thug? When he comes to know the hazardous effects of the products he sells, his mind is made up. The result of which is a didactic thoroughfare that gets a bit too tedious to handle.
The thing about movies or any genre of video material is that lengthy lecturing is rarely a good idea. We do agree that Mohan Raja has done extensive research on the subject. 'Velaikkaran' has heaps of messages and symbolism that it derails the intriguing drama that is a natural part of an absorbing story. Sure, one could delve into the science of a supermarket store or the downsides of a profit oriented society, but that would’ve made for interesting material in a book or even a short YouTube documentary. Instead, on and on goes 'Velaikkaran', jumping from one objection to another, recounting in the process, the story of a quixotic youth.
Mohan Raja's apt choice of casting is laudable. Sivakarthikeyan as Arivu is in different territory here, and he shines in his movements and body language. And his earnest attempts to engage the audiences are praise worthy. Fahadh Faasil’s Kollywood debut is impressive. He looks handsome and has given a riveting performance. Nayanthara has not much to do besides just to show up. The rest like Prakash Raj and many others like Sneha, RJ Balaji, Robo Shankar, Mansoor Ali Khan chime in as well.
While Anirudh’s songs were already hits, BGM is measured and decent. Editing, cinematography and art direction are all on par. Overall, 'Velaikkaran' is a mixed experience.