Critic - No.114
Director: Vijay
Casts: Jayam Ravi, Syyeshaa Saigal, Thambi Ramaiah, Prakash Raj
Music: Harris Jeyaraj
Language: Tamil
Genre: Action / Adventure

Plot: An Andaman tribal Jara (Jayam Ravi), who escapes from men trying to capture his people, ends up in the care of a spoilt, rich girl, Kavya (Syyeshaa) who starts to fall in love with him.

A.L.Vijay is one of the young crops of filmmakers who attracted everyone’s attention through his compelling storytelling and technical finesse. However in recent times, he has made several experimental films like the mediocre ‘Idhu Enna Maayam (2015)’ and the entertaining ‘Devi (2016)’. ‘Vanamagan’ is yet another experiment for him and also Jayam Ravi.

The idea of the plot is to make the audience emphasize with the tribes around the world who are being stripped off their land by multi national companies. Despite the nobility, even in paper, this sound very clichéd. A.L.Vijay might have thought to execute this with a fresh packaging. However, ‘Vanamagan’ is stamped with stock characters, predictable scenes and dispassionate back-stories.

The first half focuses mainly on how tribal man, Jara copes with his new environment. These scenes are intended to bring the roof down but the unimaginative nature of it makes it mundane and draggy. The second then moves on to show the emotional core of the plot which again being underutilized with a flat flash back that doesn’t evoke the emotion intended. Your logical nerves do get a hit at times as well, something that doesn’t occur much in Vijay’s films.

Jayam Ravi hardly has much dialogue but has performed many painstaking stunts and expresses well. However, he looks too prim and proper for a tribal man. Syyeshaa is the real pick in terms of performance. She dances well, emotes well and stands tall with a well crafted character arc compared to other characters in the film.

Thambi Ramaiah does well in his witty one-liners but after a point the writing becomes recurring and desperate to lighten the mundane screenplay. It’s quite puzzling to see a talented actor like Prakash Raj being underutilized in a very thinly written role. If he continues to act in these kinds of roles, he might end up as a typecast or written off in future.

Nirav Shah is one of the main relieving factors in the film. The exotic locations and vast jungles are captured captivatingly. The VFX are better than most Tamil films with the Tiger scene serving as an exciting highlight.

Harris Jeyraj’s songs passes muster whereas the BGM is annoyingly uninspiring. For a 50th film, he could have shown more care in delivering a fulfilling work.

The ideas conveyed and messages uttered by the characters are very noble. Vijay’s experiment must be commendable and credit segment showing the left over tribes does touch your heart to an extent. But how far can good ideas survive without an engaging screenplay?

Despite the sincere idea and painstaking performances, 'Vanamagan' lacks the usual finesse and the emotional core present in Vijay's films and ends up as an uninspiring, predictable affair.



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