Bhaje Vaayu Vegam Movie Review: When thrills are not enough

Bhaje Vaayu Vegam Movie Review: When thrills are not enough

There are a few decent twists in the latest Kartikeya-starrer, but this melodramatic thriller majorly struggles to maintain a consistent pace and tone
Bhaje Vaayu Vegam(2 / 5)

You would not be wrong to expect the latest Kartikeya starrer, Bhaje Vaayu Vegam, to be an out-and-out thriller, as the trailer itself promises. However, it is easy to see why director Prashanth Reddy takes his own sweet time to set the plot before getting to action. There is something inherently affirming and joyous about watching an underdog find an extraordinary opportunity to bring their life back on track.

Cast: Kartikeya, Rahul Tyson, Ravi Shankar P, Tanikella Bharani, Iswarya Menon

Director: Prashanth Reddy

In Bhaje Vaayu Vegam, Kartikeya plays one such underdog named Venkat, a down-on-luck cricketer who finds himself in dire need of money after facing plenty of misfortune. The peripheral stereotypes are all set in place: a loving and financially struggling father figure, a politician’s son clad in all black, a jealous (and rivalling) neighbour who still harbours a 15-year-old insult, two young and sincere men defeated by a cold, manipulative world, the works. Despite the slow-paced first half, you expectantly await the film to dazzle you once the tables turn. However, director Prashanth Reddy struggles to weave a seamless thriller without melodrama. Even when the plot is set in motion, Bhaje Vaayu Vegam never truly picks up momentum for a smooth ride. The result is a middling, albeit occasionally rewarding, affair.

To begin with, there are too many twists and flashbacks that keep putting you off. Things pick up briefly in the second half when Venkat decides to confront the villain figure head-on instead of cowering down with fear. There is an effectively executed chase sequence on the city outskirts that delivers the thrills. However, the narrative consistently recedes into expository flashbacks and lull segments, shuffling between adrenaline and melodrama. The narrative is too inconsistently paced for a thriller or event-driven narrative to be effective as a drama. 

But more crucially, Bhaje Vaayu Vegam never fully realises the strong potential of its material. When you take note of all the characters and elements on the periphery, they are pretty exciting on paper. For instance, the equation between the two politically powerful brothers who rule the city, David and George, offers some unexpected developments. George (Ravi Shankar P) in particular is an interesting character, with many dark secrets up his sleeve. There is a loyal cop who, unwittingly, ends up betraying his boss. Even the character of the prototypal love interest (Iswarya Menon) becomes integral to the plot in surprising ways. And then, with how the protagonist, Venkat, finds himself being pulled deeper into a web of crime, you begin to wonder if these elements could work better in a dark comic thriller. Murphy's law is in full swing in Bhaje Vaayu Vegam, with so many characters crossing each other’s paths in the most unexpected ways, but Prashanth’s half-hearted indulgence in gooey melodrama keeps the film from becoming inventively fun in any capacity.

Even from a dramatic point of view, the director misses more targets than he hits. Venkat’s cricketing talent, which is established in the first scene itself, is not woven satisfyingly; Venkat could have been a mathematician, for all that matters. Further, for a film that’s essentially about a son fighting against all forces to save his father, Bhaje Vaayu Vegam doesn’t make enough space for the latter character (Tanikella Bharani puts in a heartfelt performance for a role that has too little screen time) or a resolution-offering scene with him in the final act.

More importantly, the relationship between the two brothers, Venkat and Raj (Rahul Tyson), doesn’t have enough dramatic pull. It is established early on that Venkat is adopted by Lakshmayya (Tanikella Bharani), while Raj is his biological son. Prashanth Reddy never uses this dissonance to build any sense of internal tension between Raj and Venkat, even as they together tackle the precarious situation they have landed up in, except once to build a contrived confrontational moment in the second half.

The one moment that works the most is Venkat's decision to put everything he has at stake and bet on a match against all odds. We can see his victory coming from a distance. However, Prashanth Reddy treats it with a surprising restraint as Venkat quietly lets it sink in for a moment before throwing a fist pump in the air.

Bhaje Vaayu Vegam works best when it’s not desperately trying to pull the rug from under our feet. That, unfortunately, doesn’t happen very often. 

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