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Velan Movie Review: A poorly cooked, forgettable entertainer- Cinema express

Velan Movie Review: A poorly cooked, forgettable entertainer 

A weak conflict, lacklustre dialogues, and a rape joke! This Mugen Rao is a snoozefest that could have been so much more

Published: 31st December 2021
Velan Movie Review: A poorly cooked, forgettable entertainer 

Since the age of romance, having to choose between one's parents and the love of their life is a conflict that has been done to death. In Velan (Mugen Rao) forgets logical thinking for some weird joy and fights for his father's honour even if it means sacrificing the love of his life. The major part of the film is vehement on letting the patriarchial honour construct the emotional arcs. Though we do get some reasoning for this at the very end, it is too late to salvage the damage that has already been done.

We are introduced to Velan as a carefree, spoilt brat who threatens high school teachers just so he can pass off as a studious, disciplined student to his father, Pazhanisamy (Prabhu). His act falls apart one fine day, destroying his equation with his father. Like every Kollywood hero, he eventually clears 12th grade and gets into college. There, he falls in love with a Malayali collegemate, Ananya (Meenakshi Govindarajan). His quest to win love hits a roadblock when Pazhanisamy's past threatens his family in the form of RK Velusamy (Haresh Peradi), an MLA from Palakkad.

Director: Kavin
Cast: Mugen Rao, Prabhu, Soori, Meenakshi Govindarajan

RKV's revenge on Pazhanisamy is probably the film's major conflict, but the film chooses to introduce the character first and disclose the backstory at a later time. While much of the first act follows regular commercial tropes of romance and comedy, none of it works. Prankster Rahul plays a character named Sathish—a friend of Velan—and his attempts at inducing laughter only infuriate us. For instance, since Sathish doesn't understand English, he asks Velan what 'same pinch' means and the latter translates it as 'Sema Killi'. This even becomes a running gag that we didn't ask for. Rahul also disappears all of sudden, and that is probably one of the better creative choices in the film.

The film becomes interesting when the long-awaited interval arrives. When Velan writes a love letter in Malayalam to Ananya, the plot thickens with multiple unexpected reveals. The scene ends in the most bizarrely interesting fashion, with a 'hero introduction' shot for Soori's character Mamukka Dineshan. The interval block does keep our hopes high, but everything that follows is in tune with the bland first half.

Soori was marketed as a second hero of the film during the promotions. The character also shows promise initially, but eventually gets reduced to just another comedian. While a few of his oneliners make you chuckle, Soori's presence is entirely underutilised. It was also painful to see a rape joke in the middle of this film when Soori kidnaps a woman to force himself on her and marry her, because his brother-in-law, Anandakuttan, did the same to marry his sister.

None of the women in the film, like Ananya, Vidhusha (Maria Vincent, who plays a woman entangled in the love story), Amirtham (Sri Ranjini, who plays Velan's mother), and Sellathaayi (Sujatha Sivakumar, Anandakuttan's wife), have a say in any of the decisions that are taken about them or their family. In fact, we hardly get to know Ananya. From how she falls in love to how she reacts to the complicated situation she is forced into, we learn everything about her only through songs. 

When things get more serious in the later parts of the film, one realises that the entirety of the conflict could have been prevented with just one proper conversation between two characters. When the conflict is so weak, the resolution is weaker. Haresh Peradi's arc ends up as an unintentional spoof of Prakash Raj's character from Annaatthe. At a very pivotal point, the audience burst into laughter when it is intended to make us feel overwhelmed with goosebumps.

Though the camera seems to like Mugen at places, the dialogues and the story doesn't help his cause. In commercial family entertainers like Velan, at least one of the many elements cooked together should work to pull in the audience. Sadly, except for the interval block, none of the scenes works in its favour. To all poorly cooked commercial entertainers, Velan screams "Sema Killi!"

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