In the end, it doesn't even matter
Sudhir Srinivasan talks about the anti-climactic resolutions that ring so true in the VIP franchise
The hero, bare-bodied, lands punch after punch, as blood sputters out of the villain’s mouth. Having taken a few blows himself, the hero finally lands one sickening blow that likely kills his adversary. Most of our films typically end with the villain getting defeated physically. It isn’t enough to vanquish him with strategy. His body needs to be broken. That’s when the hero can finally rest with the assurance that the big threat is truly nullified. Dhanush’s Velayilla Pattathari films are generally loyal to the masala template, save for a crucial difference at the end. Much has been spoken about the films’ music, its calculated targeting of the youth, its blend of all the usual elements that are part of such films, including the mother-sentiment angle. Very little, however, has been discussed about the films’ highly underrated climax, or should I say, anti-climax.
In the first film, Raghuvaran (Dhanush), bare-bodied, beats up a bunch of henchmen paid to take him out. He destroys all of them, lights up a cigarette, and walks in slo-mo towards the villain. So far, it's just what you’d expect in such a film. You now expect him to humiliate the hapless villain by knocking the living daylights out of him. However, Raghuvaran expresses fatigue at their rivalry, puts his hands around the villain, and takes him along to an important function as his guest. In the second film, he storms into the office of Vasundhara (Kajol), a seasoned entrepreneur and tormentor-in-chief. Sure, typically, your average Tamil hero can’t be seen hurting a woman, regardless of how evil she is. But even given this caveat, what happens is still a surprise. They end up marooned inside the building, and are forced to interact, to have conversations that help them empathise with each other—perhaps even admire each other. Finally, he takes her to his house for a meal. And… that’s it.
I suppose it must not have been easy narrating the story. So after all the humiliation and setbacks, the hero and villain resolve their differences through a conversation. It’s the sort of end that will give producers a cardiac arrest. Some expressed that the end of the film, VIP 2 especially, was quite underwhelming. I found it fascinating though, for, isn’t this how conflicts get resolved in reality? When you have a rivalry that’s getting out of hand, you don’t just walk to the person’s door wielding a baseball bat. You invite them for a meal and try to talk it out. It’s intriguing that for a franchise that is generally over the top and that is designed to accommodate all the masala ingredients, the VIP films have an end that rings so real. The final, fatal blow, as they show, needn’t always be physical.