VIVEGAM (2017)

Critic - No.125

Director: Siva
Casts: Ajith Kumar, Vivek Oberoi, Kajal Agarwal, Akshara Hassan, Karunakaran
Music: Anirudh
Language: Tamil
Genre: Action / Adventure / Crime

An Interpol agent, AK (Ajith Kumar) sets out for a revenge against his friends who work for a secret society.

After delivering two commercially successful films, ‘Veeram (2013)’ and ‘Vedalam (2015)’, ‘Vivegam’ marks Ajith-Siva’s third collaboration. Looking at the trailers and promotion, the film was touted to be a crime thriller that looks and feels westernised. So will the combo hit a hat trick?
Despite the Hollywood treatment, we know that we are watching a Siva film when even an American utters a punch dialogue in the starting scene. After a breathtaking intro and a far fetched pre-title stunt sequence, the audience are left with whether to excite or hesitate.

The main problem with Vivegam is that it takes good ideas and delivers it with overblown cinematic liberties that might kill off the intention. The romantic track between AK (Ajith) and his wife (Kajal) is one example of how a novel idea gone terribly wrong. In ‘Veeram’ Siva talks about brother’s unity and in ‘Vedalam’ he discusses about women’s security in India. In Vivegam, Siva attempts to project the forgotten strength behind all Military men; their wives. However, with the overdose of melodrama and illogical scenes, the significant emotional backing that drives the story, falls flat. Watch out for the ‘morse code’ sequences.

Despite the racy screenplay, the structure of the film makes it too easy for the audience to predict the proceedings and even major twists. As we are introduced that AK is being tracked down as a terrorist, gives away the story. The themes of betrayal and patriotism might have worked well if Siva has invested more time on the friendship quotient with some sincerity.

On the positive side, Vivegam’s fast screenplay and technical finesse (for an Indian film) is commendable. Be it the cinematographer, Vetri or art director Milan, the technical team has worked tirelessly to give a film the looks like an International spy-thriller. It’s very evident that Vivegam is targeted to mainstream audiences around the globe with diverse casting (American, French, North Indian). However, the unnecessary exaggerations and too much of illogical scenes, dilute that objective. There are interesting action set pieces that thrills us on the way and the tracking of hacker Nathasha (Akshara Hassan) stands at the peak of them. However, many might feel that the film might have been more interesting if that character was developed further as a crux. Anirudh’s chartbuster songs do aid in engaging us but the same can’t be said about his loud background score.

Ajith Kumar is not only the protagonist of the film but also a one man driving force of the film that immerses the audience into the medium at most parts. Be it his physical hard work, painstaking stunts or his dynamic charisma, Ajith surrenders to Siva fully. But the intense actor in Ajith will be dearly missed in ‘Vivegam’. Vivek Oberoi’s role in this film is mainly for commercial reasons as his character is utilised to deliver glorifying dialogues about Ajith than being a strong antagonist. Kajal’s controlled acting can be commendable but the overdose of melodrama, especially in the climax rips away the credibility. Akshara Hassan impresses in her limited role.

Despite Ajith's stupendous efforts in exhilarating stunt sequences, Siva's jet-speed screenplay and high production value, 'Vivegam' falls hard with its underwhelming writing and overblown cinematic liberties.



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