A seemingly innocent veterinary doctor, a young man on the verge of migrating to another country(where drinking alcohol is banned, mind you!), a three time 12th std failure, a sub-inspector, a father-son thug/extortionist duo, a politician, a pyromaniac, a crooning hitchhiker, a bunch of prostitutes and few wannabe cool dudes. You have the perfect set of characters for a B-movie fun ride clocking one eventful night. Pushkar & Gayatri impress once again after Oram Po despite having a mild hangover from their first film. Maybe that’s also a sly reference to that elusive Quarter cutting that pretty much forms the MacGuffin in this engaging script.
Va boasts of one of the most impressive opening credits in recent times. The film races ahead as soon as it starts and the first half is replete with a lot of pulp imagery, forming the backdrop of the key characters. There is even a reference to the Tamil pulp fiction image popularized by Blaft recently. The film is shot in vibrant colors amidst the blackness of night, slickly conveying the theme of the movie about how different and absolutely unrelated characters lock heads or come together in one packed night.
Shiva, who plays Sundarrajan aka Sura, is about to leave for Saudi. He is given a set of Donts by his Mallu travel agent with the most important one being never to touch alcohol. And as the theme of the film goes – about how your heart craves for things you are asked to stay away from – Sura and his to be brother-in-law Marthandan(SP Charan) go looking for a Quarter. With the impending elections, it turns out to be a dry day and Sura has only till morning 4 am, before his flight, to try and find that Quarter cutting. The film is immensely engaging till just before the interval. It sags a bit when John Vijay is introduced as Prince, his first rate performance notwithstanding. The film also works as a spoof taking up various popular subjects. It’s apparent the the writers are aware of the pulse of the Web 2.0 savvy audience of today and know what would create the instant connection. Vijay is spoofed almost throughout the film. There is even a throwaway dialog that goes, “Singam singam nu onna sollikute irukiye, asingama illa?” Your guess is as good as mine. There are references to the famous Nandamuri Balakrishna film scenes, TR and even Naan Kadavul!
The dialog and situation based comedy turns into action and slapstick in the latter half as Lekha Washington as Saro joins the pair of Shiva and SP Charan. It’s surely one of the more intelligently written scripts and the film holds it’s own for most of it’s 2 hr or so run time. What it suffers from is the Oram Po hangover. We already know that Pushkar & Gayatri are good at this classy crassness(!) but after a point it becomes slightly overdone. The pre-interval parts meander and leave you disinterested. The film isn’t a long one, but it’s tough not to feel that it could have been shorter. Craig’s wannabe characters are slightly forced. The same situations could have been written without them. Shiva fits perfectly for this role with his deadpan expressions making his sarcasm laden character work. The scene stealer is however SP Charan with his superbly understated role in the first half and a more pronounced one in the second. John Vijay is great as the son Prince but goes overboard and loud as the father, King. Lekha Washington gets a bulk portion of the funny moments in the second half.
G.V. Prakash comes up with a good overall score with Thediye by Andrea and the title track by G.V Prakash and Gana Ulaganathan standing out for their lyrics and picturization. I loved the way Thediye was choreographed and used in the film, and the extremely funny situation that Unnai Kan Theduthey appears in. But a major fuckall moment is when I heard Hans Zimmer’s superlative track from Sherlock Holmes(Guy Ritchie’s) used as background score for some scenes. WTF G.V Prakash? No Quarter cutting for you for the rest of your life!