Vezham Movie Review: A middling thriller with a pensive ending
With too many twists and a lot of gaping loopholes, this Ashok Selvan-starrer gives a mixed feel
Vezham begins with a series of murders in the Nilgiri Hills. The killing pattern points towards a serial killer on the loose. From there, we randomly move to a romantic song featuring the lead pair, Ashok (Ashok Selvan) and Leena (Iswarya Menon), who share lovely moments in the misty hills. On their way back through the woods, they are attacked... Five years after this horrific incident, Ashok is still reeling in trauma of being the only survivor of the attack. His only purpose in life is to find the killer. But all he remembers is the voice that says, 'gammunu irundha uyiroda iruppa'.
Cast: Ashok Selvan, Janani, Iswarya Menon, Shyam Sundhar
Director: Sandeep Shyam
If you think about it, Vezham has quite a few similarities to Badlapur (2015). A wounded hero trying to avenge his loved one's murder. Like in Sriram Raghavan's classic neo-noir thriller, the protagonist in Vezham is also obsessed with revenge. Though the central plot is not something new, having an intelligent screenplay could have helped in making Vezham an exciting whodunnit. However, the film is let down by a lot of convenient writing choices. Here, the protagonist lands up on crucial pieces of information 'accidentally'. Ashok comes across the killer whom he has been searching for years in a tea shop that he stops randomly. An old man vividly remembers spotting someone in the dark although it happened five years back. These easy routes rob the film of its potential of being a brainy thriller.
Vezham also suffers from writing inconsistencies. In the second half, the film has an array of twists. While some land, some fall flat. The twists and turns keep on coming and there's hardly any breathing space for the characters (and the audience) to reflect on the proceedings. However, this raciness does help in covering up some logical loopholes. It is only in retrospect that the flaws become more evident.
Shouldering the film, Ashok Selvan puts on a decent performance. The actor appears in two different looks -- as a young, charming romantic, and a man tormented by his past. For the latter portions, he seems to have worked on his physique as he looks strong and bulky. It is perfectly in tune with the character's psyche of getting himself ready to overpower the killer.
The film's title Vezham, which translates to 'elephant' in English, seems to be based on Ashok's character traits. They say elephants are ferocious and have the ability to remember their enemies till revenge is served. Likewise, Ashok has a strong memory, which is underlined by how he remembers voices. He also turns wild and rogue after a point. To further spoonfeed this aspect, you can also see elephant props in Ashok's house. If only the makers had put in such efforts to make the writing consistent and convincing.
Thrillers come with a set of cliches, but Vezham, thankfully, doesn't have many. I liked how the psycho killer angle and their tropes get subverted. It still could have easily done away with reiterating the age-old cliche of the second heroine falling in love with the hero, who's sulking over the loss of his girlfriend. Janani's character hardly brings anything new to the table other than serving as a tool to get into the flashback. Iswarya though gets a better deal, and the actor's performance is also effective.
To give credit where it's due, Vezham has a great, introspective ending, which kind of quells a lot of complaints I had about the film. The crisp runtime of about two hours keeps us engaged. The multiple twists towards the end did elicit a few claps, but they would have landed better if executed with more finesse.
Vezham isn't as intelligent as it should have been, but it's still worth a watch for the momentary thrills.