Critic - No.123
Director: Soundarya Rajinikanth
Casts: Dhanush, Kajol, Vivek, Amala Paul, Samuthirakani
Music: Sean Roldan & Anirudh (theme)
Language: Tamil
Genre: Action / Comedy / Drama

An award winning Engineer clashes with a leading Architect after rejecting her job offer, leading him to face continuous challenges that results him to be back as an unemployed individual once again. How he rises back forms the crux of the film.

‘VIP’ became an instant hit among the audience due to the raw, emotional story it had that many youth and graduates can easily relate too. In all angles, the degree of realism was converged very well with commercialism, giving a cliche but a powerfully presented family entertainer. It is not an easy task to create a sequel for a blockbuster and at the same time retain the simplicity of the concept that talks about unemployed youth.

Soundarya Rajinikanth who made a debut in directing with the mammoth motion capture animated film, Kochadaiyan (2014) has tried to present a film that is commercially viable in all aspects. However, what one might feel is that ‘VIP-2’ is a middling drama that moves forward shakily with forced conflicts that doesn’t have any emotional backing to root for when one side wins or fumbles. Something that is very essential for a film like this to work. Without that base, whatever conflicts that are layered in the drama loses its intended steam.

What made ‘VIP’ work is the simplicity of presenting the basic family problems of a middle class, unemployed youth. Each scenes evolved emotionally by natural causes piling on to conclude with a strong victory of the protagonist after facing numerous obstacles from the corporate world. None of that authenticity is present in VIP-2. What we see instead is a force fitted clash between Kajol and Dhanush that doesn’t hit any emotional scale in any point of the film.  The film talks about themes such as star-up vs corporate companies and youth in Jalikattu. However, none of them are impactful as intended. Also, I am not sure how much the unconventional climax can save this film.

Dhanush looks fresh and his screen presence is the driving force of the film from the start. However, repeated scenes of slow-motion walking and ‘Rajini’ inspired dialogues, makes the intended ‘mass’ moments unoriginal. Kajol looks as young as the yesteryears but her character falls flat with thin writing. Even though there are flashes of back story when she talks to her father’s photo in the climax, we don’t really get what is the director is trying to prove. Other characters such as Samuthirakani and Vivek sparkle in their own limited screen time. Amala Paul essays a role of a loud nagging wife whom shouts for no reason. And then, there's a song that says how bitter wives and marriages are. For a women director to portray a stereotypical view of an Indian wife, is quite upsetting.

Among the weaknesses stated, Sean Roldan’s music is the biggest miss of the film. His repetitive scores and mediocre songs doesn’t help the sinking ship at all. In contrast, Anirudh’s theme music plays, the crowd goes gung-ho.

On the flip side, the dialogues are catchy and the weaving of Thirukural with situations, works at some parts. But if only makers have focussed on the core idea of VIP and have portrayed realistic situations and convincing conflicts, this sequel could have worked better.

'VIP-2' fizzles out quickly with its middling, contrived nature, passing off as a mildly entertaining affair without even nearing its predecessor's raw emotional quality.



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