Vallavan Vaghuthadhada Movie Review: A reasonably engaging tale about karma and corruption

Vallavan Vaghuthadhada Movie Review: A reasonably engaging tale about karma and corruption

The interconnected story revolves around a group of Chennai residents entangled in karma's web. It engages with an interesting premise, some quirky characters, and satisfying resolutions, even as predictability and heavy-handed messaging on good vs evil hold it back
Vallavan Vaghuthadhada(2.5 / 5)

Director Vinayek Durai’s Vallavan Vaghuthadhada offers broad commentary about karmic law and poetic justice, within a hyperlink narrative. The notion of virtue being rewarded and vice being punished is a common element in such stories. Vallavan Vaghuthadhada does a decent job of using these themes to tell a story about five sets of characters in Chennai, most of whom have similarly greedy intentions. There is a woman named Agalya (Aananya Mani) who makes fake marriage promises to swindle people out of lakhs of rupees. Her victims range from nice, unsuspecting guys to a loan shark named Kuberan (Vikramaadhithya). It is funny how they all blindly believe her and fall prey to her elaborate schemes. It is even funnier that she has a boyfriend who continues to seek her affection, despite knowing that she is a con artist. Her crocodile tears are enough to melt even his heart.

Director: Vinayek Durai

Cast: Rajesh Balachandiran, Aananya Mani, Vikramaadhithya, Swathi Meenakshi, Tej Charanraj, and Regin Rose

Then there is a corrupt police officer named Neethimani (Rajesh Balachandiran), who uses every case to demand money from the victim or perpetrator. The cop is so corrupt that he follows the trail of events leading to an accident and uses the license plate number of the responsible party to threaten that person with a huge ransom. He does not really solve any crime; he only encourages more criminal activity, and his mere existence itself is a crime. The cop has certain eccentricities, like a laugh that resembles a doorbell and an obsession with his hairstyle. He asks everyone about his hairstyle, including the family members of the accident victim who visit him to discuss updates about the case. There is a clever piece of storytelling showing how Neethimani becomes a believer in God. When he steps away from a chair to pick up a 50 rupee note from the ground, the ceiling fan right above falls onto the piece of furniture where he usually sits. The cop then kisses the note, breathes a sigh of relief, and becomes a God-fearing man. When he asks for money from everyone who visits his police station to use as a donation for a temple, you believe he has genuine intentions. In fact, it is the only genuine thing he does in the entire film. Actor Rajesh Balachandiran is a hoot as the policeman.

The other characters include a daughter (Swathi Meenakshi), who is trying to meet a hefty hospital bill for her father who is battling for his life, the loan shark who falls for the swindling woman, and a gang of two (Tej Charanraj and Regin Rose) who are after a van carrying crores of rupees. The film shows how the paths of these characters, from different walks of life, cross through a bizarre chain of events.

There are very few thrills and very little urgency to the proceedings in Vallavan Vaghuthadhada. The film takes its sweet time to get to the portions where it makes its big points about vice and virtue. Nevertheless, the story never gets trapped in a cycle of hyperlinks. There is a proper closure to every character that Durai introduces early on in the film. This in itself is commendable, although some of the narratives forming the character arcs could have used more drama. Some of the outcomes in the larger narrative are rather predictable, and subtlety goes for a toss with the additional use of a godman to ram home the point about bad karma and good karma. Nevertheless, Vinayek Durai shows signs of a promising filmmaker with Vallavan Vaghuthadhada. Hopefully, over time, he learns how to craft a narrative that makes the audience more invested in his plot and characters. At least with regard to Vallavan Vaghuthadhada, Vinayak displays enough filmmaking virtues to overcome the odd vices.

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