Vanamagan: A Predictable Film Succumbs to its Aping Tendencies
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
Director Vijay is known for borrowing and lifting ideas from Hollywood and making them his own by serving the audiences with a locally appreciable script. This tendency to borrow has worked well for him in Madrasapattinam and Deiva Thirumagal because the local nuances were relatable and the content (though borrowed) seemed fresh. But with Vanamagan, the director borrows elements from Tarzan, George of the Jungle, Kadamban and various other films only to put them together in a carelessly strung screenplay that is dull, stale and quite predictable.
Jara, a tribal member in Andaman is on the run from ruthless captors who are after his tribe. In his efforts to escape, he gets rescued and taken to Chennai by Kavya, an uptown girl who initially comes to the island to ring in the New Year. On reaching Chennai, Jara’s closeness to Kavya troubles her probable suitor Vicky. The trouble that arises due to this love triangle forms the rest of the story.
It is apparent that Director Vijay seems to be running out of fresh perspectives to place in his array of familiar and lifted plot points. From the beginning till the end, Vanamagan lacks imagination. It gets increasingly predictable as time passes and after a while, sitting through its unfunny characteristics becomes quite a daunting task.
Whether it’s in establishing Jara’s innocence or staging speedy chase sequences, every little detail in Vanamagan’s execution are bits and pieces borrowed from films we’ve already seen before. There are no surprising elements in the film to cause excitement. Borrowing a theme and lending it a fresh and locally viable perspective might work. But aping popular films without even caring enough to fill the spaces with distinction displays the director’s carelessness.
Once the second half begins, the film starts to contradict itself consistently. A secondary story track belonging to Kavya and her parents disappears abruptly. An initially arrogant Kavya, who never even permits her servant to attend his son’s wedding, is seen rescuing Jara with a melting heart. Such a drastic change in her character should’ve been supported by a convincing explanation.
At first, Jara is introduced to us as an animal-like man-child, later we are told that he belongs to a tribal community that has cultural norms and a value system of their own. Isn’t it irresponsible of the writer to change their mind in this manner when they are halfway through the script?
Director Vijay has tried to render comic relief every now and then but it becomes clearly visible that he is desperately trying to give the audiences what they like. This forced execution is the reason why these presumably commercial elements never take off.
Though Jayam Ravi’s portrayal resonates with the audience in places, he is seen trying too hard most of the times. If he had eased into his role organically, his version of Jara could’ve been effortless and impeccable. Sayyeshaa’s acting skills need a lot of fine-tuning in order for her to prove her mettle in challenging roles that might come her way in the future.
Cinematographer Tirru’s visuals are a sight for sore eyes. The film’s careless narration is undeserving of such refreshing visuals. Harris Jayaraj’s music lacks spark and lies in the shadow of the film’s familiarity. His Hans Zimmer inspired BGM construction follows right in the film’s unoriginal scheme of events.
On the whole, Vanamagan loses its individuality due to its aping tendencies. If you enjoyed Tarzan, stay far, far away from this film’s cape of predictability.