Film: Vikram Vedha
Cast: R Madhavan, Vijay Sethupathi, Shraddha Srinath, Kathir and Varalaxmi Sarath Kumar
Vikram Vedha, in every sense, is truly path-breaking and all credit goes to its writer and director duo Pushkar-Gayatri, the husband-wife duo who has made a strong comeback after seven years with a film that’ll be remembered for, say, the next seven years. Not only is their film entertaining from start to finish, it’s equally engaging and it succeeds in piquing the intellect of audiences like no recent Tamil film.
The plot is simple. A team lead by Vikram (R Madhavan), a ruthless, no-nonsense encounter cop, is on the hunt to capture/kill a dreaded gangster Vedha (Vijay Sethupathi). In this battle of good versus evil, as audiences we are left to pick a side but everything you see is not what you believe. There’s always another side to everything in life and Vikram Vedha, in the most entertaining fashion, makes its viewers understand this philosophy.
The film keeps pushing us to judge its characters, judge someone by their actions, judge someone by their upbringing and in the process proves how wrong we could be in our assumptions. Pushkar-Gayatri borrow the narrative structure from popular folklore Vikram Betaal, and use it very effectively to make Madhavan and Vijay Sethupathi lock horns. The confrontation scenes between Madhavan and Vijay are easily the film’s best moments as they end in fireworks.
Vikram Vedha turns every predictable moment into an unimaginable twist and it works in the film’s favour beautifully. The black-and-white metaphor, used extensively throughout the film and even in the theme song, explores the space between good and bad. Every character has shades of grey and it would be impossible to imagine who could be good or bad. Even the costumes are predominantly black and white. Even in terms of shot compositions, in every frame of the film, you’ll find white as well as black space.
The performances of Madhavan and Vijay Sethupathi come as a bonus to some terrific writing. It’s a joy to watch them lock horns and they make you root for both of them. While Madhavan is good, Vijay is unarguably the best thing to have happened to the film. It’s with unmatchable swag he plays Vedha, a character powered by wit, fearlessness and street-smart thinking. The film also has strong women — Shraddha and Varalaxmi — rising above the usual portrayal of heroines in Tamil cinema and leaving a lasting impact.