Director: Vignesh Menon
Cast: Rahul, Vishva, Shikha, Anuja Iyer, Pandiarajan
The film traces the emotional journey of Jeeva, a school teacher born with cerebral palsy and confined to a wheelchair. How he rises against all odds, and evolves from a child-man to an emotionally mature person who charts his own path in life, forms the graph of the plot.
It is the debut directorial venture of Vignesh Menon (grandson of renowned producer-director the late K Shankar). The touch point seems to be the English movie “My Left Foot”, a true saga of a cerebral palsy victim who rises to be an achiever in life. The early scenes depicting the birth of a differently-abled baby to a couple, and their effort to cope with the situation have a natural flow.
Naren and his wife Meera (Vishwa and Shikha) never give up on their first born, even when the doctors write him off as a hopeless case. Naren, a popular magician, brings some of that magic into his son’s life. Jeeva survives miraculously. Vishwa is suitably cast as Naren, while Shikha as his wife, has her lines perfectly modulated, and brings sensitivity to the role of the distressed mother.
The director has extracted a convincing performance from Krishna, who plays the boy Jeeva. And as the older Jeeva, Rahul (of ‘Moscowin Kaveri’) brings out splendidly not just the physicality of the character, but also the emotional trauma Jeeva goes through.
The second half of the plot shifts to Ootty, where Jeeva is now a school teacher. And where he experiences the first flush of love with Ila (Anuja), who was making a film on him. The pace is leisurely in the second half, jerky, and with a couple of loose ends. A notable performance is from Pandiaraj, who plays a clown in Naren’s troupe. The actor is surprisingly restrained as the perceptive caring guardian of Jeeva. It’s appreciable that the director has avoided soppy maudlin sentiment, and confined his narration to just about two hours.
The songs (Jubin) are melodious, not overpowering the lyrics. Inspirational and devoid of the usual commercial trappings, ‘Vinmeengal’ is promising work from a debutant filmmaker.