Verdict: A brilliant beginning to the most anticipated trilogy!

Vetrimaaran’s Vada Chennai is the first part of the much-awaited gangster film starring Dhanush in the lead and Andrea Jeremiah, Aishwarya Rajesh, Samuthirakani, Kishore, Daniel Balaji, Pawan, and Ameer in pivotal roles. Produced by Dhanush under the banner Wunderbar Films, the movie also has some familiar names like Santhosh Narayanan, Velraj and GB Venkatesh adorning the technical side in music, cinematography and editing departments respectively.

What’s Vada Chennai About:

Vada Chennai revolves around Anbu (Dhanush), a state-level carrom player from North Chennai with a happy-go-lucky attitude. He falls in love with Padma (Aishwarya Rajesh), a very bold and educated girl who lives in his locality. Their relationship becomes the talk of the town. Local men end up teasing Padma and calling her names. In order to protect his girl’s dignity and to stand up for her honor, Anbu attacks one of the local goons, which eventually gets him connected to the bigger picture – he becomes part of the gang wars between gangsters Guna (Samuthirakani) and Senthil (Kishore). We are also introduced to Chandra (Andrea Jeremiah) now Guna’s wife, a very smart but silent woman who knows her plots well. The movie takes us through various periods to narrate the story of Rajan (Ameer), the Don who loved his hood and his brotherhood, their greed, deceit, the eventual rivalry between Guna and Senthil and how Anbu, who wants a life unlike his hood, becomes part of all the mess.

What Works:

Vada Chennai is a well-written and neatly executed piece of art. Dhanush is exemplary as the innocent, smart, fighting-for-survival Anbu. His character would be a classic example of the phenomenon “survival of the fittest”. There are not many women in the entire plot but everyone in the film has mettle –be it Padma, the lover who could stand up for herself and also did not give up on her love, Chandra who may not be expressive much but has a tale of deceit fuming inside her, Anbu’s mother who knows that she and her son deserve respect despite their economic status, Senthil’s wife who wants justice for her husband’s tragedy, or even the girl in the neighborhood who says she could slit someone’s throat for survival. Ameer has a brief role but his Rajan is the anchor of the film. All the other actors, including Samuthirakani, Daniel, Kishore, and Pawan are equally good and the credit must go to the casting team. Santhosh Narayanan’s songs that are used in the background and the BGM are pivotal and make quite an impact. The art director deserves a huge round of applause for making the slum and prison sets look quite realistic. Velraj has played quite well with the lighting and camera and GB Venkatesh’s editing make the scenes more crisp and interesting.

The best part of the movie is the language – pakka local, raw and expletive. Vetrimaaran is one of the few filmmakers in the recent times who knows his craft and that is quite visible in Vada Chennai. The first half has very few action scenes and stresses on establishing the characters. While you wonder whether Dhanush’s Anbu would remain under the shades of powerful people, he emerges from the ashes. The crisp scenes, slow motions, mass placement of characters and events make the second half kolamass. It leaves you with many questions unanswered until you see the title card of Vada Chennai II in the end. In short, this 15-year-old dream of Vetrimaaran would have been a great loss if it were shelved.

What Could Have Been Better:

Vada Chennai may not have an unpredictable plot or characters that we haven’t seen before. We constantly get reminded of various other movies including Kaala and Adukalam. However, you can ignore that in favor of the spiraling events and their placement.

Why You Should Watch the Movie:

Vada Chennai has all the elements to entertain a crowd. Both emotions and stunts are excellent. You’ll find yourself at the edge of your seats quite often. Book your tickets now for some action-packed brilliance!