Posted in Movie Review

Vivegam shows why it’s sometimes a bad idea to mix two genres

If you like a fast-paced action thriller, you are going to like the first half of the movie Vivegam. But if you like sentimental drama, then may be the second half is a better part for you. Even if you like both genres, unless you are a hardcore Ajith Kumar aka Thala fan, you are going to find this movie lacklustre. I am not an Ajith Kumar aka Thala fan, but Mr Logan is! But during the second half, he himself started getting fidgety at the slow pace of the movie. The movie reminded me so much of Kabali – the mixture of emotional drama, fast-paced action and inspirational punch dialogues, that still left me wanting more.

The Cast

Ajith Kumar plays the role of Ajay Kumar – AK – who was once the head of a counter-terrorism squad and now a most wanted person by the intelligence agencies. After commenting about his pot belly in Vedalam, I was surprised to see his chiselled torso in the first look trailer of Vivegam. However, there aren’t many shirtless scenes of Thala to ogle at, unfortunately! 😉 He maintains a salt and pepper hair style As expected, there are many punch dialogues throughout the film from him. My favourite one (and probably the popular one) is:

Intha ulagame unnai ethirthaalum ellaa soozhnilayum nee thothitte thothittenu un munnaadi ninnu alarinaalum neeya othukira varaikkum evanaalum engeyum eppovum unnai jayikkamudiyaathu. Never ever give up!

[Translation: Even if this world is against and every circumstance stands before you and yells you have failed unless you succumb, no one nowhere can triumph you ever. Never ever give up!]

Because I am self-professed action fan, I found Yazhini, played by Kajal Agarwal, slowing down the pace of the movie. The sentiments and spousal romance were portrayed very well. It was also great to see Kajal being traditional Thamizh Ponnu (Tamil woman) in the middle of a Europe – running a music themed Indian restaurant, teaching classical Indian music to European kids, draping colourful cotton sarees around her in every frame, the red bindi, the kajal-lined eyes, her large jhimikis (traditional Indian earrings) and most of all her kayar thali (a long gold necklace worn tied by the husband at the time of marriage). Her dialogues and loyal love towards her husband were adorable, but for me, it did spoil the edge-of-the-seat element of the movie.

Vivek Oberoi as Aryan plays Ajith’s nanban (friend) and colleague has the suave and mannerism of an intellectual spy. His costumes are above par and I want to buy all his suits for Mr Logan. In one of the earlier interviews, Vivek said:

When the director of the film Siva called me and said that he created the title Vivegam (my name in Tamil) only because he wanted me in the film, I was really humbled. It’s a Rs 120 crore film and shot all across the globe in countries like Romania, Albania, Bulgaria, and Serbia.

Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi in the movie Vivegam
Vivek Oberoi in Vivegam

Vivek is a talented actor and his expressions and body language are just perfect for the movie. Siva made the right decision by choosing him for the role. There are many whistle-worthy moments, thanks to Vivek, for all the Thala fans as he praises his nanban AK (Ajith)

Karunakaran adds a lot of humour in the first half. Akshara Haasan is impressive in her extended cameo role. Amila Terzimehic and Serge Crozon-Cazin (famed for the stunts in the Hunger Games) as Rachel and Mike had an impressive stunt scene in the second half of the movie. There are the main characters that stood out to me in this movie.

The Location

I am a travel addict and, like most Mission Impossible or James Bond movies, this movie got my travel brain cells recharged.

I am pretty sure one of the initial scenes of Ajith is shot at Verzasca Dam/Contra Dam which is also featured on some of the other action movies like James Bond’s Golden Eye and the climax of Dhoom 3. It is one of the places in my list to go bungee jumping… some day!

NU Boyana Film Studios is one of the largest film studios in Europe situated in Bulgaria. And there are plenty of action scenes shot in this film studio. This film studio is about 75 acres and has a replica of Rome (including the Colosseum) and Manhattan city. I guess some of the scenes with Akshara Haasan, including her introduction scene, may have been shot here.

Most of the scenes featuring the counter terrorist squad were allegedly shot in Ramoji Film City, Hyderabad. At 2000 acres, it is one of the largest integrated film cities in India.

The snow-covered scenes are reportedly shot in Serbia and Slovenia. I liked the location of Yazhini’s South Indian restaurant by the lake and also the locations for the song Kaadhalaada. But I am not sure about where these are located.

Kaadhalaada Shooting Location in Europe in the movie Vivegam featuring a restaurant by a lake in a valley
Kaadhalaada Shooting Location in Vivegam

The Music

Anirudh’s music impresses me yet again. Here are the numbers in the movie my most favourite to the least in a sentence.

  1. Kadhalaada : A melodic number with beautiful scenery and sentimental lyrics. Mr Logan created a video montage for me last week with this music and I fell in love with the song then and there.
  2. Surviva : I can imagine myself dancing to the beats of this song in the club.
  3. AK Theme Music  – Love It! Goosebumps!
  4. Never Give Up – Like James Bond title song with inspirational lyrics
  5. Thalai Viduthalai – Good background song for running and again lyrics are motivating.
  6. Veriyera – Hated it in the movie as it was distracting from the action sequence, but loved it afterwards.

I am used to listening to metal music here in the UK. But a friend did mention that the songs are too loud and heavy for her taste (Kaadhalaada being an exception).

Behind the Scenes

I am a big fan of movies featuring agencies and spies – think Mission Impossible, James Bond etc – because the movies have a good mix of brain and brawn. So I was awed at some of the intellectual elements of the movie, for example, the Morse Code communication, Holographic images. But after the movie, I couldn’t help but wonder if these nice technical touches would go unnoticed by the majority of the Indian population, especially the older generation.

The collaborative efforts of director, Siva, and cinematographer, Vetri, is noticeable throughout the movie. Like all action thrillers, there are some action shots that race our hearts and keeps us on the edge of our seats. These were just perfectly done. Making of some of the difficult shots like AK sliding down a roof, the crowd of Albanian Mafia groups are shown during the final credit roll.

In Summary

I give this movie 3 out of 5. The slow-paced second half and the over sentimental scenes amidst the action takes away 2 stars.

My 3 most favourite scenes are:

  1. The introduction scene of Ajith especially him walking away in army fatigues and the one at Contra dam
  2. An injured Ajith recovering and exercising amidst the snow especially him doing pull ups on a tree
  3. The scene with the Albanian mafia – OMG!

Watch this movie if you are a Thala fan and you may like this movie if you liked Kabali for its screenplay.

I put a poll up on my Twitter account. View the final results here.

Author:

Born in India🇮🇳,
Exported to the UK🇬🇧.
In ❤️ with Mr Logan.
Globe Trotter 🌍
IT Project Manager 💻 by day
Superwoman by night🤷🏻‍♀️

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