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Vaathi Review

Review by IndiaGlitz [ Friday, February 17, 2023 • தமிழ் ]
Vaathi Review
Sithara Entertainments, Fortune Four Cinemas
Dhanush, Samyuktha Menon, Sai Kumar, Tanikella Bharani, Pammi Sai, Hyper Aadi, Shara, Aadukalam Naren, Ilavarasu, Rajendran, Hareesh Peradi, Praveena
Venky Atluri
Naga Vamsi, S Sai Soujanya
G. V. Prakash Kumar

Vaathi - Impresses with a few touches of ingenuity 

'Vaathi' has come out with comparatively lesser hype considering that its Dhanush's first Telugu/Tamil bilingual.  The same formula was adapted for 'Thiruchitrambalam' that proved to be the dark horse at the box office. Will the same magic repeat remains to be seen.

'Vaathi' opens in contemporary times where three college students discover a bunch of video cassettes that show a master (Dhanush) teaching difficult subjects in an easy manner during the 90s.  Their search for him takes them to the Kadapa District collector (Venky Atluri) who recounts the story of Bala Sir who influenced him and other students to give their best.  In the flashback Bala (Dhanush) , a school employee of Educationist Thirupathi (Samuthirakani) is assigned to a government school in Sozhavanthan. Thirupathi's plan is for his staff to make sure that the government school students don't perform well while his private students automatically become toppers.  Bala however rebels and challenges Thirupathi that he will make all his students toppers and whether he succeeds braving all odds is what the film is all about.

Dhanush carries the entire film on the strength of his performance alone as his characterization has nothing new to write home about.  His underplayed swag comes into play especially during the confrontations with Samuthirakani.  His body language is pretty convincing as an idealistic young teacher who strives to light up the minds of as many as he can.   Samyuktha as Meenakshi the biology teacher who supports the hero and later falls in love with him impresses with her subtle acting and mature romance.  Samuthirakani who has voiced against education barons in many of his films plays one of them with the same intensity.  Saikumar, Aadukalam Narain, Harish Peradi and Thanikalabarani show their class in important roles.  Ken Karunas appears in a fiery role that is as effective as the one he played in 'Asuran'.

The best scene in 'Vaathi' is the one in which Dhanush makes his students realize the evil of caste discrimination by ingeniously uniting them.   One can connect today's online classes with Dhanush appearing on video cassettes to teach students making it an ingenious idea.  But then you need to ignore the logic behind projecting a VHS on a movie screen.   The scene in which the hero is made to walk barefoot in scorching heat and Ken Karunas finding a way to protect him works emotionally.   The climax portions give Dhanush literally a Bharathiyar like stature that elevates his character.  

On the flip side the government vs private school debate has been dealt a hundred times in Tamil cinema and hence lacks freshness.  There is a lack of depth in the writing and for every excellent scene there are five mediocre ones. The film gets preachy right from the word go and stays that way till the very end.  Inconsistencies are glaring like for example, Dhanush bashes up a dozen goons easily several times but allows himself to be overpowered when it matters most.  

G.V. Prakash Kumar's songs are already a hit and his background score is one of the highlights of 'Vaathi'.  Yuvaraj's lighting gives the 90s feel while Naveen Nooli has kept the pacing lively.  Suryadevara Naga Vamsi Sai Soujanya have bankrolled the project.  Writer-director Venky Atluri has succeeded in delivering a feel good film with an important message.  There is also no denying that it could have been much better.

Verdict : Go for this message driven film with yet another breezy performance from Dhanush

Rating: 3 / 5.0


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