Movie Review: Velaikkaran (Tamil)

If last week came an Aruvi of rage and social anguish, this week it's the turn of Arivu in Velaikkaran. Having grown up amidst slum-dwellers who make their ends meet as plumbers, electricians and domestic helps, Arivu's (a bland if quite charming Sivakarthikeyan) fights to push his people towards a life away from crime come to a screeching halt when he lands a job as a supermarket sales executive for a premier FMCG company, only to realise his shot at a better life was nothing but a means to an end in a cut-throat business environment and that if he had to change it he needed to channel his disillusionment into a form of protest against companies engaging in unlawful food adulteration practices.

Films coated with social messages are nothing new in Tamil cinema, but director Mohan Raja, coming off the high that was Thani Oruvan, throws subtlety out of the window, instead resorting to incredulous plot twists and overly preachy harangues to drive the story forward. And as much interesting as it is to witness the psychological manipulation behind marketing at play (called Gruen effect) and the intentional low-keyness of it all (be it the romance, the class barriers notwithstanding, or the idealogical fight between Arivu and Aadhi), it is that much more tedious and unexciting when characters become a casualty, turning into exposition dumps that can put Wikipedia to shame. It is good to know that a director has done his research, but please next time, show, don't tell!