Rant: First things first. I won couple tickets to this movie from some lucky draw. And because my brother attended the phone call informing about the win, he wouldn’t let me go with anyone else. Not that I have someone. Just saying.
Now that we’ve got that out, what about the movie?
VTV is possibly the most indulgent of Gautham’s films till date. He has been consciously indulgent before, and some of the usual indulgences continue in this movie. His male protagonist is still a Mechanical Engineer. He is passionate about things that Gautham is passionate about in real life. He is not a loser but you see his irresponsible side more often than not. But in this movie, more than others, the indulgence seamlessly integrates itself and the end product is quite charming. Rumor has it that this is Gautham’s own love story. Throughout the movie, he more than just hints at that with familiar props. It’s also pretty clear that Gautham doesn’t mind laughing at himself. It was not offhand, the references to Vaaranam Aayiram – “avara mari Tamil la English pesi padam eduka poriya?” or “Avan avan kadhal ku America ve poran” - and at the same time not forced into the script either.
With movies about romance where only the treatment and characterization can differ, Gautham scores with a lot of aces up his sleeve. The first half is sharply written and performed with Gautham’s love for everyday characters and pragmatic lines. Very few among the new generation directors understand the city bred individual’s sensibilities the way Gautham Vasudev Menon does. It’s no wonder that his inspiration is Mani Ratnam and though he may not be there yet(or never will be) he tries admirably well. None of the performances require any sort of intense portrayal or histrionics and yet the casting is a wonder in a good way.
Simbu gives a nuanced performance never seen from him before. From the trailer I had problems with his dialog delivery but while watching the movie, surprisingly, it didn’t bother me at all. I wouldn’t mind to see him play similar roles or take up the road less traveled by self confessed Tamil film masala heroes. This movie, during this age, required casting masterclass the likes of Meera and Arjun of Azhutha Ezhuthu and in that respect, Simbu and Trisha perfectly fit in. Trisha looks her ravishing best and I don’t think she has ever dressed this well in any other film.
Gautham’s women characters have always been intriguing. And he assumes a lot of freedom with them. Jesse (Trisha) holds the oars to take the movie forward throughout. She is the woman this man has fallen for and the one who is expected to cross the skies for him. She is the one with all the problems within herself. But it doesn’t help that she is fickle beyond compare and cannot make a decision for herself. ’Bitch‘ is probably too harsh a word for her when the movie is over but she sure is modeled on a lot of modern day women facing similar problems in that age. And I would give Jesse her due because she tried longer (not harder) than anyone actually would in today’s times.
Hosanna is the only number that has great picturization. The other songs are not badly picturized but nothing to write home about them. The songs neatly fall into place and it is indeed magical for it’s Rahman’s finest work in Tamil cinema in a long time. Gautham’s understanding of Rahman and vice versa shines through. When Simbu sneaks into Trisha’s house under the moonlight to meet her and as the scene builds up, you can’t help but expect Aaromale to play. And then when you hear the familiar guitar riffs immediately following, it’s surreal. Predictability has never been this endearing.
The film disappoints when you get a deja vu feeling in the second half. Not because you’ve see the same thing in some other movie but because you saw the same thing in this movie. Events repeat themselves and since it is a character driven film, the subject required scenes with a strong purpose to hold the thing together. And this is where, in post interval portions, Gautham falls flat. This is the point where he has to reinvent Mani Ratnam but he fails. It is still a fine effort. VTV is a light romantic movie that doesn’t aspire for higher pedestals and delivers handsomely within its boundaries. That is why it’s a good movie.