Vanjagar Ulagam Review – Too complex for its own good!
You know there are movies that you are desperate to say good things about for the simple reason that the makers have tried a lot. Debutant Manoj Beedha's Vanjagar Ulagam could be a classic example. The man seems to be full of ideas, so much so that he seems to have found it difficult to fit in all in one movie. The end result is a film that does a whole lot of things but sort of misses out on something basic – engagement quotient.
The film kicks off with a murder and is basically a whodunit. Then there is a separate gangster track and both these run parallel as we wait for them to converge. There are two questions for the audience to be interested in. Who is the murderer? Who is the dreaded gangster Durairaj that everyone keeps talking about?The good thing for the film is that most might not guess the answers for these two questions. But the worrisme part is that you hardly feel the tension or the thrill to keep guessing.
The film seems to be meticulously made. The cinematography is exquisite. Sam C.S. has produced an extremely interesting score. These two reasons keep us engrossed even when we are disinterested with the narration on screen. Editing Vanjagar Ulagam might have been a herculean task. Non-linear narration is one thing but this film keeps changing tracks at such a frequency, that you blink an eye and you might have missed the transition. Well, things do get tied together in the end but you wonder whether it had to be so complex. It is the murder mystery angle that holds some interest. The gangster portions rely too much on style (I am not sure even that works out as expected) but pretty much nothing is actually happening. The comedy almost always falls flat.
The performances again are difficult to evaluate. The actors in general perform in a meter that is very different from what we are used to. Guru Somasundaram plays someone who has to leave us confused. So is his performance. This kept me wondering if it was intentional. To be honest, most of the other actors keep falling short. The movie invloves love, lust, fear, betrayal and what not. But the actors never convincingly bring out these emotions on screen.
The timing of the release could have not been any better. I am not talking about box office prospects. But the film partly deals with an important topic that is currently the talk of the nation. Again, this serves to justify the twist but by then we are actually too tired to think about the importance of the theme being handled.
The fearlesness in being experimental without bothering about the pacing of the narration can definitely be lauded. But this is a film that keeps tying so many knots for no particular reason, that after a point you sort of give up.