Her first film 3 was a morbid tale centered on a psychological disorder that traumatised the protagonist and those around him. And now Aishwarya returns with her second venture Vai Raja Vai. It’s about a common man endowed with an extraordinary power, which again affects his life and the lives of those around him. The director seems more confident here, as she weaves a tale breezy and stylish, the kind one would expect a new generation director to explore.
It centres around Karthik (Gautham) who is born with the power of intuition. Working at a customer service centre, his special gift is taken advantage of by his senior Panda (Vivekh), who shows him the way to make some quick money.
The screenplay here ventures into the arena of cricket betting and match fixing, with Randhe, the kingpin of the betting racket using Karthik’s power to his advantage. One can find shades of the Emraan Hashmi-starrer Jannath here. The narration is fast paced with no lagging moments, the scenes having a smooth flow.
Gautham cutting a more sober picture than his earlier films, brings out well the confusion and the dilemma of the character. For Vivekh too, it’s a different role and he fits in suitably livening up the scene.
Daniel Balaji’s Randhe is sufficiently ruthless and menacing. There is the love angle, which is mildly interesting, the girl (Priya Anand) later used for the usual kidnapping-by-the-villain to force the hero to do his bidding.
The movie is crisp till interval, the screenplay neatly crafted. Yuvanshankar Raja’s songs and the background score, Velraj’s impressive cinematography, and some crisp editing (Vijayan) enhance its entertainment value.
The second half ventures into Goa where the next phase of the gambling takes place. The screenplay could have been better crafted here. Mostly shot in a luxury liner, it’s a fashionable setting, with casino and glamourous women. There is a touch of the film 21 here, in the ambiance and the set-up. Taapsee makes her entry, a clear winner with her poise and oomph factor, as the accomplice of Randhe. The story turns to how Karthik, forced into another session of betting by Randhe, lays a trap for the latter.
Dhanush’s cameo, a much hyped one, appears at the fag end, making no difference to the film. Except that it leaves an open ending for an exciting sequel.
There are glitches, no doubt. Like the S J Surya song-dance number unnecessarily thrust into the film. Also some of the comedy between Vivekh and Bhaskar does not jell.
Taking just about 119 minutes of viewing time, Vai Raja Vai is compact, breezy, stylish and a pleasant watch.