Viswasam Review - Never Ever Underestimate the Power of Family Sentiment !
The Siva-Ajith combination has had it’s share of hits and misses, but the public sentiment (including those of his fans) largely post their previous outing, Vivegam (2017) has been that of exhaustion. So when it was announced that Ajith’s next film would be Viswasam, it certainly raised a lot of eyebrows. Not surprising actually as the film was once again to be directed by Siva and produced by Sathya Jyothi Films (who had produced Vivegam as well). Having watched the film it’s possible to guess the reason for this project to have materialized, but let’s talk about that later. While Ajith fans were disappointed not to see any film of their “Thala” in 2018, the Pongal release announcement had something for them to cheer about. Eventually despite all the not so great expectations from the film and despite facing a strong opposition in the form of Karthik Subbaraj-Rajinikanth’s Petta, it is good to see Viswasam managing a good release both in Tamil Nadu and outside the home state.
The hero is a firebrand and the local do-gooder and he falls in love with the heroine, who is a doctor and a successful entrepreneur from Mumbai. While he knows that he is in love with her, he also knows that he does not make an ideal match for her. And thus there is no sadness to the whole thing, no pathos song for a love failure etc. But then fate has other things in store for the couple, and they do get married. These are all some sweet little moments from Viswasam as we get to see the romance being built up betweenThookudurai (Ajith) and Niranjana (Nayantara), unfortunately the film doesn’t have too many of these bright moments. Thookudurai is an uneducated chap but the darling of the masses in Koduvilarpatti village of Theni district. Unlike poles attract, and thus Thookudurai and Niranjana fall in love. Their life turns out to be even happier with the entry of their daughter Swetha (Anikha) but soon circumstances force Niranjana to move away from Thookudurai along with Swetha.
Straddling two time zones and two distinct geographies It’s clear from the very outset that Siva has tried to revisit Veeram in a way, his very first film with Ajith. After all this is again a film with a rural background and featuring a whole host of characters, with some decent scope for humour in the first half. But the comparisons sort of end over there, the writing by Siva and his team seems to have been focused with one straightforward objective, that of ensuring that the film makes the family audiences happy and caters to the B & C centres for sure. Hence we see Nayantara and Anikha being given prominent screen space and a lot of time devoted to the rift between Thookudurai and Niranjana, along with the father-daughter sentiment aspect too.
The film actually comes across as a little too safe beyond a point, especially when the actual reason behind Gautham Veer’s (Jagapati Babu) attempts to eliminate Swetha become clear. For Ajith fans there’s definitely scope to cheer, he does play his role with conviction and has a few crowd pleasing dialogues and everything else expected from him. But if one is looking forward to a really sharp tussle of sorts between him and the antagonist, then you are certainly going to be disappointed. D.Imman’s songs are strictly average, suiting the requirement of the film, nothing beyond that. The supporting cast includes people like Yogi Babu, Thambi Ramaiah, Robo Shankar, Vivek, Kovai Sarala, all of them generally good with comedy but they do not have anything significant to contribute here. Jagapati Babu plays a standard antagonist, nothing memorable about his performance as such. Anikha and Nayantara do well, the latter’s chemistry with Ajith being one of the highlights of the film.
Life has probably come a full circle for the Siva-Ajith combination, Viswasam appearing to be a film made on a reasonably controlled budget and without too many frills. This is most likely as a result of the scenario that emerged post Vivegam. Ajith here does give his full support to the director, he is charming both as the brash and cheerful Thookudurai and also as the mellowed down father and husband. He even admits his true age in a scene, very well done I would say. But Siva seems to be totally relying on his leading man’s electrifying presence and the deliberate attempt to woo the family audience. If only he had managed to come up with something nearly as entertaining as Veeram then I would have called it a job well done.
Viswasam is a safe film of sorts from Siva where he depends on the charm of his leading man and tries hard to keep the family audience happy. Not really a festival delight, but not a cause of concern either.