This is the first time after ‘Boys’, I’m watching a film featuring Nakul. So I had least expectations from him considering the fact that he hardly had a role in it. But surprisingly he turns in a decent performance in “Vallinam”, which is about sportsmanship set against the backdrop of a campus story. I believe the film is not great but I seriously feel the director, who gave us a brilliant film called Eeram few years back, deserves to be lauded for his effort to at least try something against the grain. It’s probably the best Basketball film to have been made on Indian screen.
A small accident during a college Basketball game forces Krishna, played by Nakul, to leave Trichy and move to Chennai. He enrolls into a new college and tries to stay away from the sport as much as possible, but circumstances push him to start playing again. This time he plays to keep their basketball court in college where cricket is given too much of importance. Since the cricket team has won the championship twice, naturally even the college management favors cricket and sidelines basketball. To prove their mettle and keep their court in the campus, Nakul and his team have to win a basketball championship.
Drawing inspiration from several sports dramas made in recent times, director Arivazhagan gives us a film that inspires as well as entertains. The effort to openly address the divide between cricket and other sports in the country is laudable, but the fact that the film leans towards commercial zone to satisfy all kinds of audience is a letdown. You can’t blame the director because we are so used to be entertained that we don’t care if a film even tries something remotely different besides entertaining. However I honestly feel the director should have avoided the romantic angle and concentrated solely on the sport because he somehow constantly kept evoking laughter through comic lines by Jagan. Scenes featuring him are a laugh riot and remind is again that he’s a much better actor than Santhanam.
Vallinam’s biggest problem is its running time. While it tests your patience in the first half, the subsequent half is very gripping. It’s a story about an underdog team and a sport rising to earn the glory and the process has captured well. The fact that the actors trained in basketball to give us an authentic experience shows the commitment of the director in the film, which released almost after a year. The basketball sequences are too good and something to look forward in the film if you plan to watch, especially the last match towards the climax.
Vallinam is a brave attempt that might appeal to college students and all those who have a passion for sports. It might not be another Chak De India, but it definitely deserves to be watched for some sincere effort by the director as well as the lead cast.view less