Review: Vanamagan

Director: Vijay; Cast: Jayam Ravi, Sayyeshaa Saigal, Prakash Raj, Thambi Ramaiah, Arjunan, Thalaivasal Vijay and others

As expected, director Vijay delivers yet another neat, clean romantic entertainer that can be enjoyed with the entire family. Vijay uses that good old formulae of a rich girl falling in love with a poor guy in Vanamagan to great effect. This time, though, it is not a poor guy but a tribesman from the Andamans.

The story is pretty simple but it is the manner in which it is narrated that makes the film interesting and heartwarming.

Kavya (played by Sayesha Saigal), an extremely rich girl, is heir to a business empire that has been left behind by her late parents. Although she is quite capable of running the business herself, her father’s close friend (Prakash Raj) takes it upon himself to take care of a major chunk of her responsibilities. Kavya has ample trust in him and his son Vicky, who mistakes her trust in him to be love.

What does one who has so much wealth do? They party! And so does the heroine of this film as well. She chooses to welcome one particular New Year by partying with her friends on an exotic island. Eventually, after deliberation, it is decided that she will go to the Andamans with her friends.

Along with Vicky, and her friends, Kavya lands in the Andamans. There they booze and have fun, breaking the law. Vicky, who is drunk on power that is provided by his wealth, chooses to enter an area earmarked by the government for tribals. The forest guards there take note of the violation and give chase resulting in rash driving by the group. Eventually, their vehicle knocks down a tribal (Jayam Ravi) unconscious.

Initally, the group of friends look to flee the place and let him die, but the good natured person Kavya is, she chooses to take him to a nearby medical facility. The doctor there advises them to move the patient to either Chennai or Kolkata where there are better facilities or risk the possibility of letting him die and thereby getting arrested. Kavya names the tribal K Vasi, short for kattuvasi (which in Tamil means tribal).

Taking his advice, the group gets Vasi to Chennai. They admit him to a hospital and look to sneak away, leaving him to his fate. However, Kavya, out of curiosity, makes an anonymous call to the hospital to find out about his state the next day. This results in the hospital authorities tracking down her address. Thanks to a goof up by an overzealous attendant at her residence (played by Thambi Ramaiah), Vasi, who has regained his conscious by now but has lost his memory, is promptly transported by the hospital to her residence. He ends up staying at Kavya’s home. Initially, she is uncomfortable with the idea but then, begins to take a liking to him. Vasi too begins to like Kavya, much to Vicky’s displeasure.

It is under these circumstances, that on her birthday, Prakash Raj throws a party in which he chooses to announce Kavya’s wedding with his son Vicky. However, Kavya is shocked by Vicky’s plans and makes it clear that she is not romantically interested in him. That alters the situation and with Vasi coming to Kavya’s aid, things spiral out of control. The net result is that Vasi is arrested by the cops and taken back to the Andamans. Kavya, however, is determined to save Vasi and bring him back. So, she once again heads to the Andamans. There, she learns that Vasi has bigger problems to handle and eventually realises that she herself is the problem.

The film works primarily because of Sayyeshaa and Jayam Ravi’s convincing performances. This film could have easily ended up being a big joke and the director could have ended up being a laughing stock if the casting hadn’t been perfect. But then, Vijay is a master when it comes to picking his cast and this time too, that skill of his seems to have stood him in good stead. Both Ravi and Sayeesha deliver big time.

Jayam Ravi has almost no dialogues in the film. Despite that, he manages to come up with an impressive performance. His looks, body language and movements convince one that he is one who is accustomed to living in the jungle.

Sayyesha’s performance is in no way inferior to that of Ravi’s. She effortlessly portrays several shades of her character. In one scene, she is this arrogant rich businesswoman, in another she is a child longing for protection, in a third one, she is a mature adult who knows what to do exactly even when contradicting facts are produced before her. She beautifully expresses the transition that the character of Kavya undergoes as she begins to fall in love with Vasi. In short, Sayyesha can both dance like a dream and emote like a theatre artiste, skills that not many can claim to possess.

The lead pair is ably supported by Prakash Raj and Thambi Ramaiah, both of whom add immense value to the film. Harris Jayaraj’s music is as always ok. However, Tirru’s cinematography is outstanding. He captures with glee the beauty of the natural forests of the Andamans and the artificial concrete jungles of the city with equal ease and expertise. Tirru is at his best, delivering some breathtaking pictures.

Vijay, who is known for his hearttouching stories, tells this story with so much sincerity that one ends up liking it despite its flaws. On the whole, Vanamagan does manage to get your attention!