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‘Vikram Vedha’ film review: An exciting gangster tale

Directors Pushkar and Gayatri’s narrative style makes this movie a must-watch

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With two brilliant actors Madhavan and Vijay Sethupathi playing the lead and in opposite roles, whom do you root for?

Vikram Vedha follows a policeman and his team who are pursuing a much-dreaded gangster.

What makes this investigation interesting and engaging is directors Pushkar and Gayatri’s narrative style. Told through the prism of the popular folktale, Vikram Aur Betaal, we are first introduced to Vikram (Madhavan), a police specialist. He is heading a special task force to nab Vedha (Vijay Sethupathi), a gangster with 14 killings to his credit. Taking a cue from an informer, Vikram and team arrive in Vedha’s neighbourhood of North Madras and in the shoot-out that follows, Vedha’s teammates are killed. But Vedha is not caught.

As the police plan their next attack on Vedha, they are surprised when the gangster himself walks into their police station and surrenders. Vedha is silent during the interrogation that follows. He only opens his mouth when he meets Vikram and he baits the policeman with a story of his life. At the end of it, similar to Betal from the folklore, he has a question for Vikram. And, then Vedha walks out on bail.

Shifting between the past and the present, the story unwinds to reveal the rise of Vedha from an ordinary young man who impresses Chettah (Harish Peradi), the man ruling the harbour, by bringing in Chettah’s goods despite tight police surveillance. Vedha becomes Chettah’s trusted man and his power in the neighbourhood is undisputed.

Does Vikram nab Vedha ultimately? You will be pondering over that question even when movie ends.

Pushkar and Gayatri’s powerful writing moves the story at an interesting pace. The characters are well defined, not just the two lead characters but every character in the story carries its own identity. Chettah, the Malayali don at the harbour breaks stereotypes; Puli (Kathir), Vedha’s younger brother, an ace in mathematics; Priya (Shraddha Srinath), Vikram’s wife and a practicing lawyer, whose work comes in the way of her husband’s investigation; Chandra (Varalakshmi Sarath Kumar), Puli’s lover who cannot resist the temptation of money; Sam (Prem), Vikram’s close buddy who even the new police recruit is terrified of shooting, all of them have a distinct personality.

Supported by flawless performances, Vikram Vedha is not just another gangster tale with blood and gore thrown around randomly, but comes with a sprinkling of good humour and romance. The dialogues are one of the pillars here.

Madhavan wears Vikram’s garb with the ease of a veteran. Easy and spontaneous, you see Vikram in every movement and in the lines that he delivers. Vikram believes that as a policeman he is doing the right job, even if it means manipulating an encounter and taking lives.

Playing the perfect tango is Sethupathi. He effortlessly brings out Vedha portraying different stages from his life. Kathir as Puli, Shraddha Srinath as Priya and Varalakshmi Sarath Kumar as Chandra are bang on. Malayali actor Harish Peradi as the Chettah is a treat to watch, the veteran actor is a natural.

Vikram Vedha is a smartly made thriller. Don’t miss it.