V Creations and Wunderbar Films present “VIP 2”
Produced by: Dhanush & Kalaipuli S. Thanu
Directed by: Soundarya Rajinikanth
Written by: Dhanush & Soundarya Rajinikanth
Music: Sean Roldan & Aniruddh Ravichander
Starring: Kajol, Dhanush, Amala Paul, Saranya Ponvannan, Vivek, Samuthirakani, G. M. Kumar, Raiza Wilson, Ritu Verma, Lokesh, Saravana Subbiah, Cell Murugan, Mirchi Vijay and others
Some films are meant only to entertain, and today, the South (Tamil, Telugu and even Kannada cinema) rules in such fare. They are full of masala-like action, songs with seemingly thousand junior artists, over-the-top emotions, innovative touches in the most unexpected parts of the moth-eaten plots and a lot of titillation in songs or otherwise. Not only are such films hits down South, but they also are a cult in dubbed formats on television across the country and overseas.
“VIP 2 Lalkar,” a true sequel to Dhanush’s hit “VIP” is one such film. However, instead of the titillation, there is drama, a family ethos and a subject that tries to be different. And full marks to the writers and directors for wasting no time in this crisp 2.09-hour film and establishing a connect immediately.
As the film is a true sequel (to “VIP” which this critic has not watched and which was never made or dubbed in Hindi), the story begins now with Raghuvaran (Dhanush) no longer being an unemployed graduate, but being good in his job and getting the Engineer of the Year award. And so, Vasundhara Parmeshwaran, the chief of the topmost construction company in the country, wants to grab him. But Raghuvaran dreams of starting his own company with 1000 devoted friends and spurns her job offer.
As if that is not bruising enough for the self-made Vasundhara, who wears her arrogance the way others wear dresses, there is further insult in store. Raghuvaran is working for Anitha Constructions in the interim and grabs an 800 crore project from under Vasundhara’s nose just because of what he is – a simple, normal but idealistic young man. He tells the incredulous Vasundhara that she lost out because of her arrogance and rude behavior to an older man and nothing else.
From then on, the impossibly egoistic Vasundhara not only grabs this project by using her influence with a minister whose party she funds but also creates hurdles for him at every step. How Raghuvaran crosses them despite difficulties, and how life finally teaches the right lessons to Vasundhara through a simple thing like the Chennai floods, form the rest of this light-hearted film with a message.
The film diverts into many routine angles – corrupt officials and builders who think of theme parks on marshy lands, the unscrupulous use of every fair and foul means in the corporate rivalry, and the usual use of the media as a powerful tool.
There are absurd or unrealistic angles, like Raghuvaran’s dentist wife (Amala Paul), who mysteriously does not practice despite being a post-graduate until there is a financial need, absurd aspects like friends being loyal to the hero when they are financially zero, and the hero drinking like a classic inebriate almost every evening. But the pace of the film makes up skip attention to them.
There are cute touches too – of the hero’s love for his bike (which he calls ‘Sundari’ or beauty) and his talking to the spirit of his dead mother. When he tells his father that his mother always ‘appears’ on his distress call, his father quips, “She never did when she was living, and I would call her!”
The climax, in waterlogged Chennai, is fleshed out convincingly as a gradual but sure camaraderie develops between the two protagonists. The post-climax conclusion is rapid and unexpected, clearly indicating a “VIP 3” soon, that too with Kajol!
The actress radiates the arrogance of Vasundhara well, and one can sense the basic vulnerability of this confident self-made tycoon even before we see Vasundhara in front of her childhood photograph. It is an assured performance, a shade over-the-top only in spurts when the director wants it that way.
Dhanush brings Raghuvaran to life as a likable and principled simpleton who is nevertheless very good at action! His expressions are interestingly apt, and he scores higher than in the two Hindi films in which I have watched him – “Raanjhanaa” and “Shamitabh.”
Amala Paul does well in the limited scope she has, but one fails to understand how Raghuvaran talks of gender equality to Vasundhara but does not insist his doctor wife reap the fruits of her education!
The supporting cast does well, and among those I could trace, Saranya Ponvannan as Raghuvaran’s mother is excellent, as is Samuthirakani as his father. Saravana Subbiah scores as the low-profile villain who cons both Raghuvaran and Vasundhara. The rest of the artists are competent.
If you want to be entertained in a cool, dark hall while munching popcorn and guzzling cola, “VIP 2 Lalkar” can make your trip to the movie hall worth your while.