Although inspired by British thriller ‘London to Brighton’, debutant Balaji K Kumar’s Vidiyum Munn is a cut above the rest of the Tamil films of the recent past. It’s bold, daring and treads a path very few films would ever attempt to walk on. Unlike several films in the same genre, VM stands out because its treatment is distinctly unique, be it the color tones or the constant use of VFX, it uses it effectively in its favour.
A hooker named Rekha (Pooja) while trying to save a 12-year old Nandini (Malavika) commits the biggest mistake of her life and flees the town. She is chased down by her pimp and his close friend, who have to produce her along with the girl in the next 24 hours to avoid being killed. What mistake has Rekha committed? Who has given the pimp an ultimatum to capture Rekha and Nandini? All this forms the rest of the story.
The film’s narrative is slow but the suspense which I think was brilliantly managed throughout the film keeps you hooked from start to finish. While most thrillers across any language tend to break the suspense right before the interval bang, VM steers away from such clichés and unveils the suspense only at the later stage of the film.
The film isn’t a frame-to-frame copy but does feature scenes that look similar for all those who may have watched the original. It’s also probably the film’s title cards doesn’t even include story, while screenplay and direction was done by Balaji. Thankfully, VM has a strong cast that holds the film together and never let its narrative pace cause much of a problem. Balaji deserves special mention for choosing actors who just didn’t act but lived in their roles.
Pooja and Malavika shine in their respective roles. While I had some issue with the dialogue delivery of Pooja, I think she made a very strong comeback. Malavika, the child artist, can indeed act and will leave you stunned with her performance.
Vinoth Kishan plays the baddie but I liked him more in ‘Naan Mahan Alla”, in which he was meaner. John Vijay evokes sporadic laughter but kind of mouths the same dialogues over and over again, and therefore, gets boring to watch after a while.
The film’s music elevates the overall visual experience of VM, which is further heightened by the fitting background score. Composer Girishh’s tunes are apt and are place at the right junctures in the film never breaking the flow of the narrative.
If Tamil industry ever aspires to make parallel films not with the intention of entertaining audiences, it should probably use VM as an example. Balaji Kumar takes a baby step film towards parallel cinema with VM, which needs audience with some intellect to watch and appreciate.