Director: Mohan Raja
Cast: Sivakarthikeyan, Fahadh Faasil, Nayanthara, Charlie, Rohini and Robo Shankar
In Mohan Raja’s Velaikkaran, Sivakarthikeyan plays a blue-collared worker Arivu, who swears by morality. Though born and raised in a slum where most people earn a livelihood by working under local rowdy Kasi (Prakash Raj), Arivu is different and he dreams big. When he learns of a respectable life outside the slum, he doesn’t hesitate to take the plunge, only to realize much later that the world on the other side is filthier than he had imagined.
Powered by morality, the film’s story is set against the backdrop of lives of blue-collared workers and their employers. If you were to choose between fat pay-check and ethics, which one would you choose? Velaikkaran sheds the light on this angle and it raises pertinent questions, but it needlessly drags the process to the point where everything feels preachy and dreary. Despite the effort and time put in to stun us with some extensive research work with respect to marketing, consumer dynamics and supply and demand, Velaikkaran doesn’t quite create an impact and that’s a downer.
Unlike Thani Oruvan, which was flawless till the end, Velaikkaran only works in parts but these are some solid portions of the film. The film might elicit mixed response, but Sivakarthikeyan is sure to earn unanimous praise for his stand-out performance. Not only does he succeed in breaking away from his comedian image, he does it convincingly by taking up a serious and emotional role and playing it to the hilt. He is aptly supported by Fahadh Faasil, who plays the friend-turned-foe part effortlessly and comes across as another instantly likable baddie after Siddharth Abhimanyu from Thani Oruvan. Nayanthara, who had a purpose in Thani Oruvan, disappoints in a badly etched character in Velaikkaran, which has a bevy of actors in small parts. Rohini and Charlie and Siva’s parents play their parts well and make us empathize with their situation.
Velaikkaran, if not for its dialogue-heavy and message-heavy narrative tone, could have been an even more impactful and realistic film.