Varuthapadatha Vaalibar Sangam: Karthikeyan's splendid take

Published: 08th September 2013 11:26 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th September 2013 11:29 AM   |  A+A-


It has an apology of a plot. After the few early scenes, the screenplay seems more like a series of gags stringed together. Some of them work, others don’t. But what keeps it going is the splendid take on his character Pandi by Siva Karthikeyan.

As the wastrel who with friend Kodi (Soory) runs an association of like-minded carefree, jobless drifters, Karthikeyan is splendid. His entire body language, demeanour, voice modulation and spontaneity make the character of Pandi a delight to watch. Pandi gets over heartbreaks, slights and crises fast enough. Even in the worst of situations, the character maintains its sense of humour. And Karthikeyan brings it all on screen, consistently staying with the character.

The opening scenes lend a semblance of seriousness, where local bigwig Sivanaandi (Satyaraj) is arrested by the cops following his confession of killing his daughter Latha. It was honour killing as Latha had eloped with her lover. The rest is in flashback. Pandi wooing schoolteacher Kalyani (Bindu Madhavi in a cute cameo), and using Latha, her student, as messenger provides some amusing moments. When Kalyani moves away, Pandi not much perturbed, turns his attention to Latha.

As Latha, debutant Sridivya (sister of actress Sriramya of ‘Yamuna’), emotes well, infusing the character with innocence, charm and naughtiness. Latha’s gratitude towards Pandi for saving her from an unpleasant situation turns into love. And the affair comes to the attention of her father. There is the rescue act done by Pandi, where the errant boy redeems himself in the eyes of all those who had distrusted him earlier.

The whole episode of Sivanaandi’s stolen gun, his most prized possession, by Pandi and Kodi is hilarious. Kodi’s father, a fake soothsayer, trying to give clues about the culprits, and a worried Pandi and a complacent Kodi chipping in with their comments, is one of the better moments in the film. The lines sparkle with wit, the actors making the best of it. There is a slight dig at dynasty politics, as Pandi and Kodi at one point fight for leadership of their association. The Karthikeyan-Soory team shares great screen chemistry, as if they have been buddies for life. Steadily carving a niche for himself as a comedian to reckon with, Soory makes the most of his role.

Debutant director Ponram has managed to make the film interesting in the early part. The pace slackens in the second, with some dull patches and too many songs. But he peps up his narration towards the latter part, with a surprise fun-ending. Satyaraj, who in the earlier part left the stage largely to Karthikeyan and Soory, gets his space towards the end and dominates it. Usually, it’s the hero who has a group of bumbling sidekicks around him. But for a change here, it’s Sivanaandi who has a group of elders hanging around and playing up to him. Kadhal Dandapani and Rajendran provide adequate support, adding to the humour quotient. Too long at about 150 mins, the narration could have been tightened and made crisper. A promising work by a debutant, the film though not the best of comedies, makes for a fairly pleasant watch.


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