Vaandu review: An incoherent mess
The performances aren’t convincing enough to make us buy into the conflict, and overall this looks like a short film that has been shot on a small budget
Vaandu reminded me of another film of last year, Sketch. Even though Sketch was a far better movie than this (I can’t believe I am typing this), both films have a similar theme. The former focused on impressionable youngsters who take to thuggery because they find it to be cool. Similarly, in Vaandu, Veera wants to be a street fighter, inspired by his dad Raja. But the latter is pushed to a bedridden state, due to injuries from his fight with Guna. Hence, Veera faces resistance from his mother to get into street fighting. However, he does get into it, and also develops a rivalry with Guna’s son, Logu. The conflict between Veera and Logu forms the core conflict of Vaandu.
Director: Vashan Shaji
Cast: Sai Deena, Chinu, SR.Guna, Shigaa, Allwin
The idea of the film (I am guessing) is not to glamourise fighting and rather use it only for self-defense. But the film actually talks only about this in the final frame (like Sketch, actually.) Until then, we are introduced to several characters, who have many scenes that make no difference to the key plot. For example, Adithya (who teaches Logu and Veera some sort of fighting skills) loves Aparna (Shigaa). The first scene where we see Aparna, she is with a gang of girls. She seems to be apologising to one of them, while the others rebuff Aparna and walk away. For what, why, we aren’t told until the end. The brief to her seems to be annoyed most of the time.
In fact, that seems to be the brief given to most characters -- Adithya’s mother, Veera’s mother Guna, Logu. There’s Veera’s gender-curious brother Kumar, who opts to be Kumari. This is a character that needs all the sensitivity that it can get, but the character’s struggle or story doesn’t make much difference to the narrative. Even after he becomes Kumari, Veera chooses to call him ‘da’. There’s also Adithya’s aunt who sells drugs for a living and is shown to be consuming some as well. She again doesn’t make any difference to the film. I understand wanting to show a holistic perspective of a particular community, but why choose to have them if you aren’t going to go beyond the surface?
The performances aren’t convincing enough to make us buy this haphazard script anyway. Adithya refers to a kick as a straight punch. Speaking of which, none of the action sequences pack one. The cinematography doesn’t help either. Vaandu looks like a short film that has been shot on a small budget. I guess the sepia tone that film has is probably an attempt to make the film look gritty. Well, only if all of us achieved what we set out to.