Its one day since I have watched Vikram and I cant get over what a terrific theater experience this film has been. Vikram’s biggest success is in how Lokesh Kanagaraj gives good space and builds strong characterisation for all actors in the movie and not just the superstar – (a technique that seems to working fine in recent years since Murali Gopi did the same in Lucifer).
Fahadh gets the meatiest role and delivers perhaps the best performance in the film as well. Watch out for how his even subtle expressions bring out laughter during his interrogation scenes in the first half. His dialogue delivery is sharp and his intensity and urgency in the 20 minutes leading to the interval plays a major part in making it one of the most memorable interval blocks in recent memory. At the end , you wish you get another standalone (spinoff) film featuring Amar and his gang.
Vijay Sethupathi is fine as Santhanam. But the strain he goes through to give the character different mannerisms than usual shows at times. The flamboyance that his Bhavani had in Master is missing here. Chemban Vinod on the other hand even scores above Vijay Sethupathi in some scenes. What great casting decisions to bring in Fahadh and Chemban Vinod in key roles !
Kamal Haasan surrenders himself to director’s vision like he did few years before in Vettaiyaadu Vilayaadu and what great results ! The actor is in his elements when he speaks to Bejoy(Narain) and gang on what the group’s mission should be. On one side, you are reminded how great he is in emotional scenes when he is with his grandson. On the other side, when he prepares milk for his grandson and fights with a set of men while doing the same, you witness the action superstar at his best. Kamal Haasan is 67 years old. But the dedication that he puts to make the action scenes so convincing is amazing. The camera work, editing and action choreography are all top notch here as Kamal uses the skills and experience he has earned over years to make the stunt scenes a treat on screen.
Girish Gangadharan keeps up with his reputation as his night cinematography is nothing short of remarkable in the film. Anirudh redeems himself after Beast . In Beast, he had a single Backgroud score which he used through the film that after a point it gets mundane. In Vikram though, Anirudh has a different score for each scene depending on the mood and situation. Both the title track and “Once upon a time” track are brilliant. How he uses the emotional and slow “Porkanda singam” for a fight sequence in second half is genius.
The 15 minute sequences leading to both the interval block and the final end credits are the key points in Lokesh Kanagaraj’s writing and making. Lokesh’s adamance that the viewers should leave the halls on a high during both the occassions is what will keep Vikram memorable in years to come. There is a strong Dark knight series influence in both interval and climax sequences but Lokesh finally adds his own signature style too. You know what is going to unveil in the interval . Still you are hooked because Lokesh brings on all his key characters for the sequence and then switches the scenes so swiftly between one another. Watch out for how he even brings Kamal, Fahadh and VIjay Sethupathi symmetrically in a single line in both the interval and climax scenes whenever all three are together on sceeen !
The much hyped climax cameo works. The key references and connections to Kaithi work. The references to Kamal Haasan or his old movies work. When Fahadh tells Kamal – ” I am a big fan of your work” or when his daughter-in-law asks Kamal Haasan the iconic ” Neenga Nallavara Kettavara”, it all comes at the right places. After the cameo in the climax ,just as you expect the film has ended, the final closing shot accompanied with Anirudh’s rousing BGM gives you further goosebumps.
Few weeks back you could have asked- “None of the superstar movies in Tamil Cinema are working in recent times, do you think Vikram will work with Kamal Haasan- who is also not in form in this genre for a while ?”. But then Lokesh would have replied – “Tha Paathukalam”.
And he delivered.