vellithirai.jpg“Oh, Prakashraj and Prithviraj with Viji at the helm?”, I thought, “It’s Duet movies, it must be good.”. Generalizations suck, don’t they?. It doesn’t matter how famous the cook is, it’s all about the recipe. Vellithirai becomes a cinematic embodiment of this statement.

In one of the best Tamil film openings of recent times, Vellithirai pays tribute to all the stalwarts of Tamil cinema. The film then takes us into the lives of all the unfortunate beings trying to climb the massive tree of Filmdom. The dialogue and the film itself is at its best in their period. All is well till the first plot twist where Kannaiyan steals the script of an assistant director Saravanan and hence becomes a star. The rest of the film tracks how Saravanan wins the battle fair and square and fixes his private and professional life.

The movie suffers from a very inconsistent tone with a very light-hearted first part, a depressing middle where Prakashraj seems to be the only comic relief (At this point, the movie comes to an extent where the protagonist breaks out of the diegesis to comment on the nature of the scene) and an end part where there is no breathing space with Prakashraj himself turning evil. The climactic sequence portrays Prakashraj as if he was a dull head and removes all the weight that could have been associated with his character.

Prithviraj is the pick of the actors and does a good job as the struggling assistant director. Prakashraj turns what could have been the performance of the year into a farce. Gopika is a totally needless add-on that just hampers the movie. M. S. Bhaskar is funny all right, but not memorable at all. Yes, it is a great cast sadly misused. This could well be G. V. Prakash‘s biggest disappointment so far with no song worth humming. The song sequences themselves create excuses for appearing. My guess is that all this is a compromise they have made during the translation from the Malayalam original Udayananu Tharam.

In all, the movie fails to cast the same effortless charm that Mozhi did and exerts itself for nothing. The film becomes a victim of the clichés it mocks and falls prey to its own ideologies. Ironically, the film is dedicated to all the people who have tried to make good films!. This is definitely a step down for Duet movies and I hope it will more than compensate for this in Abhiyum Naanum and Mayilu.