Valiyavan – Much ado over nothing
Action hero!!! Probably the most revered phrase for an aspiring star in tinsel town. More often than not it is an actioner which would have metamorphosed an erstwhile actor to someone who gets a crazy fan following. Would Valiyavan pave this path for Jai?
The basic one liner is not too hard to guess. For anyone who is yet to attain a certain level of mass appeal the underdog versus goliath template is what works best. But to his credit Saravanan has camouflaged this for most part of the running time.
Humour is Jai’s forte and he relies on it for a major portion of Valiyavan. The performance however feels a tad below what he usually pulls off. There is a particularly long stretch in the first half when he has to go overboard after he becomes inebriated for the first time. This portion turns out to be a mixed bag with some very fine moments and few that really turn out to be damp squibs. He looks convincingly macho with a well-toned body in the second half. Andrea does with ease what is expected of the leading lady in a film as this. That we feel happy with her perfect lip sync reflects the pity state of heroines and audience of Tamil Cinema.
The title music of Valiyavan does ring a bell but is definitely catchy. The songs too are the typical commercial songs that you do not really mind in a film like this. But the number of songs and their frequency test your patience.
It is quite clear that Saravanan is very particular that his films are drastically different from each other. Valiyavan bears no resemblance to either Engeyum Eppodhum or Ivan Vera Madhiri. But without a second thought, it is definitely his least impressive so far. The first one hour seems all over the place. While the intention to keep the audience guessing cannot be faulted, you just cannot have scenes that are rushed and seem to serve no purpose. No doubt that all these are justified later. But a certain amount of clarity and seriousness was definitely found wanting in these initial portions. The screenplay and the way he has tried to stitch the scenes together show that he definitely has put in some thought and effort. But the most crucial aspect of an underdog film has gone for a toss due to this. The hero proves a point and then we are shown the reason for this. Hence the cinematic orgasm that you are supposed to feel when our man has his nemesis on his knees is lost. Despite all the flaws you see glimpses of promise and you remain invested with the film till the curtains roll.
True to the title, a timid hero turns macho to prove a point. What we needed was a more convincing portrayal of the genesis for this.