Vazhaku En 18/9 Film Review Experience
By Kannan Vijayakumar (Singapore)
‘Vazhaku En 18/9’ is a film straight from heart done with a sharp eye of society. Balaji Sakthivel’s brave attempt and Lingusamy’s strong belief in this non-commercial product is laudable. This film is a certain milestone in Tamil cinema with such simplicity and novelty in it. The main theme of the film was to spread awareness and it has done it with a big impact. Both parents and teenagers will find this film disturbingly thought-provoking.
There are only few directors who show reality as it is and Balaji Sakthivel is one of the prominent ones. If ‘Samurai’ was socially relevant, ‘Kadhal’ was hard hitting. If ‘Kaloori’ was soulful, ‘Vazhaku En 18/9’ is a perfect combination of all these aspects.
Story & Screenplay
The main strength of the film is its brilliant screenplay which engages the minute it starts by opening with the case. It evokes curiosity immediately and by the time it hits the second half, the audience are soaked in with its slow but steady pace of events. The writer has once again proved his forte in doing ‘cinema verite’ (parallel storytelling).
The characters are well etched out by Balaji and it certainly elevates the film further. Balaji Sakthivel has used certain interesting characters to showcase the shocking truth of society. Be it prostitution, MMS scandals, corruption, politics or poverty, Balaji has nailed the truth intact, leaving the audience awe-struck. He has tastefully handled them without being very preachy. The beautiful nature of sacrifice and the wait for love for a life time has been shown in screen at its best. Mark my words, ‘at its best’.
Moreover, the writer has also stayed away from clichéd characters. The triviality in teenagers on love is nicely shown on screen. The small details such as the street prostitute character and the struggling street play actor, give an example of how the writer has tried to collate the civilian stories. These are just examples of how a screenplay can have so much of details without looking messy. Once again, Balaji have proved that he is a brilliant writer with a keen eye for detail.
Casting & Performance
The castings for Balaji Sakthivel’s films are always fresh and choose actors rather than popular faces. All the four debutants have given their best by living in their characters. Sri as Vel is the real show stealer with such a convincing play of a simple fun loving poor youngster. Right from his body language to dialogue delivery, he impresses. Especially in the climax, he steals the show. Urmila as Jothi, is a silent killer who have acted out with her eyes most of the time. As an acting student, she proves her finesse. She is certainly a promising young talent. Manisha as Aarthy plays her role of a school girl well. She balances well the innocence and the curiosity of the teenage well. Mithun as Dinesh is very much convincing as an innocent looking perverted youngster. His transition between the good and the bad in certain scenes are commendable. Other than these 4 main debutants, there is a whole list of debutants who played the roles of, Dinesh’s politician mother, the prostitute, the blind man, struggling stage play actor and the police inspector Mathuravan. They have all done a great job and as it is a character driven film, the casting was very important. Without disappointment, they have all given their best.
‘Vazhaku En 18/9’ is a soulful experience, not only because of its screenplay, direction and acting, but also the strong support from the technical team to bring out the realistic romantic crime thriller on screen impact fully. First to be mentioned, will no doubt be the man behind the lens, Vijay Milton. He has brought out the dryness of the film with earthy tones. The body mount used at many parts looks experimental but interesting. With a simple DSLR camera, he has brought out that realism of the content well which is certainly praiseworthy. Guitarist R. Prasana’s music debut is above average with composing just what is required for the film without overdoing in any aspects. All the songs come in with just vocals suits the genuine flow of content. Special mention to certain experimental details in the BGMs such as the cute theme music he gave for the stage play actor. In overall, kudos to the technical team, for supporting the maker execute his honest script.
The maker’s soul and anger on the society is evident in the film throughout. He also has handled love in a different yet lifelike way. The last scene and shot of the film will never be able to be forgotten by the audience. In overall, a huge salute to the whole team of Vazhaku En 18/9.
Experience Rating: 4.5/5
About Reviewer : Kannan Vijayakumar, born and brought up in Singapore, got a spark to become a film maker at the age of 15 and followed his dream by completing Diploma in Digital Film making course at Temasek Polytechnic. He has been working as assistant director and scriptwriter in Singapore TV shows and directing several short films and documentaries which participated in film festivals. Kannan also has a strong interest in Soccer and a die-hard Liverpool fan.