While ‘Vikram Vedha’ (2017) turned out to be one of the most successful Indian Tamil-language films in the past decade many people still associate the Indian cinema only with the bombshell Aishwarya Rai.
Being a high testosterone guy myself, I certainly don’t blame them for that.
But the truth is that there are plenty of remarkable movies that come from the so-called Kollywood and Bollywood.
The Tamil-language action-crime thriller ‘Vikram Vedha’ is the most recent example of fascinating filmmaking and in the below sentences, I will try to explain why the flick is worth checking out.
Cast and Crew
If you have paid attention to the title of this article, then you have noticed that the first adjective I’ve used to describe the actioner is ‘unique’.
The driving force behind the success of ‘Vikram Vedha’ is also unique and it is something that cannot be seen in Hollywood.
The movie is directed by the Indian husband and wife filmmaking duo Pushkar and Gayatri that are known for their distinctive style.
The spouses have only three movies in their career and the last one – ‘Vikram Vedha’ achieved huge success worldwide and so far it is their biggest accomplishment.
The leading roles went to the award-winning charismatic Indian stars R. Madhavan and Vijay Sethupathi.
They are both very respected in India as they appeared in many films that gained them critical and commercial acclaim (for example – ‘3 Idiots’ and ‘Soodhu Kavvum, respectively).
The movie also includes significant roles played by Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Shraddha Srinath, and Kathir.
If those names sound like Chinese to you, don’t worry it is perfectly normal as those actors are mainly known in India.
Being a violent neo-noir gangster action thriller, Vikram Vedha opposes the forces of good and evil while at the same time questions the straightforward definition of what is good and what is bad.
The badass cop with rude methods Vikram leads a war against a ruthless thug lord who hides in Chennai and disrespects the Law Enforcement.
One day Vedha voluntarily comes to the Police Precinct and starts a psychological cat and mouse game with Vikram, thus challenging his strong beliefs about the circumstances surrounding the death of his brother.
Soon Vikram finds himself in a violent crime war in which nothing is what it seems while questioning his own principles and motives.
‘Vikram Veda’ Review – The Positives
For anyone who had never watched a foreign movie before, let alone an Indian one, at the beginning, the flick would look bizarre, even ridiculous.
The movie presents a whole different universe – the contemporary Indian culture and reality.
The people are different, their clothes, their lifestyle, their language, everything is uncommon for the eye of the viewer who is new to the Tamil (or Hindi) cinema.
Unlike most of the Hollywood action films, the main characters here are ordinary people who don’t work out every day in order to be pumped as Arnold Schwarzenegger in ‘Raw Deal’, for instance.
In other words, they look like normal guys who are faced with tough challenges.
That doesn’t mean that they are not charismatic, it is just the opposite.
Both Vikram and Vedha immediately fill the room with their presence.
What really makes the movie stand out is the realism – the believable characters, the natural dialogue, the witty humor, and the brutal violence.
The storytelling is very intriguing too and has many twists.
Throughout the movie, the antagonist Vedha keeps telling to the police detective Vikram stories about his past and what justified his actions which made him the notorious man that he is today.
Those flashbacks are very well-positioned in the story and their purpose, among many, is to slowly build up the tension, while at the same time make you guess what the final outcome would be.
Who is the antagonist and who is the protagonist?
Well, I could never guess and if you did, please leave me a comment below.
The directing is brilliant and so is the acting.
The use of slow motion is adequate and electrifies the whole ambiance.
Having a neo-noir look, the cinematography is stylish and the music is haunting.
A curious fact is that for the sake of the realism, R. Madhavan (Vikram) and Vijay Sethupathi (Vedha) met for the first time at the very set of the movie, thus transferring their first impressions of each other directly on the screen.
What I really liked about ‘Vikram Vedha’ is that it is a multi-layered gangster action flick.
On one hand, the movie contains comedy elements, mainly in some situations and in the dialogue.
Some of the characters even sing and dance in an epic mass scene, while on another hand, the violence is there, always looking behind the corner and the story immediately becomes dark, bloody, and gritty.
Being a loving husband and a guy who likes to repair motorcycles in his spare time, Vikram is also a ruthless cop who never hesitates to kill unarmed thugs simply because they are the trash of the society.
When it comes to Vedha, he also has a two-faced personality.
Even though they are not a rarity, the action scenes are not the main driving force of ‘Vikram Vedha’ – it is the intense storytelling and the complicated relationships between the characters.
The fights and the shootings are very good but don’t expect some quality martial arts scenes similar to the ones in ‘Kickboxer: Retaliation’ (2018).
As outlined above, this is not a straightforward action movie with emblematic heroes and villains and that is what makes it so alluring.
The ending is smart, powerful and comes with a little twist that I personally didn’t see it coming.
Being overall cool, the soundtrack is sometimes too cheesy, meaning that the traditional Indian music included could have been better picked to fit some scenes.
Besides, I really think that they could have included more mass action scenes because this would power the brutality of the movie, thus making it look even more realistic.
‘Vikram Vedha’ is like a breath of fresh air.
If you like to watch something that will completely make you forget where you are, this is the right choice.
Arguably, the movie is one of the best of 2017, not only in the Tamil cinema and certainly deserves the many ovations that it already received around the world.
Gripping, violent, dark, and compelling ‘Vikram Vedha’ (2017) manages to strike the right chord with its engaging script, masterful directing, and top-notch performances.
What do you think of the movie? Share your opinion in the comments below!