Film: Vaalu | Director: Vijay Chandar
Cast: STR, Hansika, Santhanam, Adithya, Naren, VTV Ganesh.
After a three-year gap, Simbu returns to screen with Vaalu, the film hitting theatres after facing several issues.
The plot is an oft repeated one. But within the confines of the commercial format, debutant director Vijay Chandar has managed to craft a fairly engaging, decent entertainer. Simbu’s fans certainly won’t be disappointed.
The actor performs with panache, be it the comic timing, romantic interludes or action scenes. And it’s his screen presence which makes the film watchable.
The plot revolves around a jobless youth, Simbu, who whiles away his time in idle pursuits with Santhanam and Ganesh for company. The trio livens up the scenes, with Santhanam in his elements.
Simbu’s fondness for Ajith is well known, and there are several places in the film where he pays tribute to his favourite hero. The hero’s various job interviews end in disaster, the one with Brahmanandam is hilarious.
Simbu’s father (Naren fits in comfortably) is an engine driver, their modest residence is in the colony near the railway station. The ambiance is realistic, the camera capturing it impressively.
The frequent sights and sounds of passing trains; the footbridge crowded with commuters rushing to catch trains; and Simbu running with the lunch box to hand it to his father as the train leaves the station, are images that capture your attention.
It’s also the place where the hero has a couple of encounters with his lady love Hansika. He sets eyes on Hansika cuddling a rabbit in a bus and gets charmed by her.
But unlike other heroes, he makes no serious attempt to follow or search for her. Until destiny brings them together again. Hansika informs him that she is about to get married and that they could be friends.
But the hero, not one to back out, subtly makes his moves. Hansika looks gorgeous, the lead pair sharing pleasant screen chemistry. A couple of songs are peppy and catchy, though forced into the narration at times. The Thaarumaaru... number has Simbu appearing in avatars of MGR, Rajni and Ajith and pulling it off with flair.
The first half moves at a steady interesting pace. But the second tends to drag a tad, picking up momentum towards the end.
The villain of the piece is Anbu, a private financier and thug. Played by the handsome Adithya (from the Kannada screen), Anbu, unlike other villains, is cool, a bit more controlled and tolerant of a situation. And this works to the hero’s advantage when he has his final face-off with him.
How the hero gets entangled in the affairs of the man is a contrived scenario though. The film could have been crisper and its length trimmed from its 154 minutes of viewing time.
The twist in the end is appreciable, It’s not a great script, and has its glitches. But what makes it a fairly pleasant viewing experience, is undoubtedly Simbu’s screen presence.