A red-earth innocent youth from Tiruchendur loses his innocence due to unexpected twists and turns in Mumbai and it is ‘Vendu Tanithan Kadu’.
Muthuveeran (Silambarasan), who lives with his mother and younger sister in the redwoods of Tiruchendur with oak trees, moves from his hometown Madhukurichi in an unusual environment. He goes to Mumbai in search of survival after crossing some hurdles and seeks shelter in a hotel. The rest of the story of ‘Vendhu Tananthana Kadu’ is not only about how the city of Mumbai evolves Muthu who tries to stay away from some of the other happenings in the hotel, but whether he escapes from a life he doesn’t want or not.
Simbu, who gives an intro as a 21-year-old young man who lives in the heat of the sandy forests of South Tamil Nadu, has molded his body to suit the body of a young man living in a village called Madhukurichi. He has treated the fans as a completely different, innovative Simbu, who has no usual mass, action, punch, duet. Starting from talking about a local case of Thoothukudi, he is brilliant as Muthuveeran as he innocently tells his girlfriend his age. Despite living in a simple house and not wanting to give up his character, Simbu has made his mark (next to Manadu) by giving a very good performance in the climactic scene, speaking lines like ‘Kai Aayi Chichi Bona Karukku Arua’.
Siddhi Itnani as the female lead plays Gautham Menon’s template love interest. Itnani’s role passes without much strain as there is no duet, as there is a lot going on in the scenes. Radhika Sarathkumar as Simbu’s mother. Although there are only a few scenes as a mother who thinks about the future of her son trapped in a thorn forest, she has done her job perfectly. Apart from them, the character actors of Malayalam cinema like Siddique, Neeraj Madhav and others like Appukutty and Jafar Sadiq have given their hand to the film’s flow.
The first half of ‘Vendhu Tanantha Kadu’, which opens with an entry scene with Simbu as a young man who regrets the lack of a job suitable for his studies, tells the hardships faced by migrant workers from Tirunelveli, Tuticorin and Mumbai with the necessary detailing, and makes a small story like the heat and land of the hamlet of Madhukurichi enjoyable. The soul of the film emerges before the intermission. Gautham Menon, who created the hype by telling the story of writer Jayamohan through a small single shot fight scene, fails to convey the same hype to the audience in the second half.
The second half, which turns out to be a conflict between two groups, falters with a screenplay that lacks pressure. Trying to highlight Muthuveeran’s role, the character design of the two dons who are his equals has been reduced and hinders the flow of the story. Mumbai gangster films like Nayagan are the films that have revolutionized Tamil cinema before. The basis for them is a clear vision for the gangster role, its politics and the script. But, here are two gangsters; Moreover, director Gautham Menon has wasted not giving him a strong screenplay by keeping the veteran actor of Malayalam cinema like Siddique.
Even he is okay, the gangster role of Simbu’s Guru is a bad portrayal that tests the fans. It is not even clear why the fight between them. Director Gautham has made the romantic scenes enjoyable with his usual touch. For example, Simbu saying I am 21 when the heroine tells me I am 25 brings back memories of the movie VTV. However, the love scenes are not told out loud to suit the flow of the story, they are told as a duty in between which gives a sense of boredom.
There are a lot of carelessness in the second half, such as putting the lines like ‘land is like a girl here, the land is reclaimed, the conflict is taking away,’ and it is not clear who the land politics is against, and it is said to be antagonism between the two Malayalam and Tamil speaking groups.
The biggest highlight of the film is Simbu’s acting and Rahman’s music with songs like ‘Marakuma Nenjam’ and ‘Mallipoo’. Rahman has proved himself once again in the background music as well. Siddhartha’s cinematography and Antony’s editing are other consolations. From the beginning to the end of the film, the earthy vernacular of Thoothukudi does not change, and the good dialogues also get attention.
Like the first half, which was very realistic, if the second half had been told perfectly with clear detailing, ‘Vendhu Thanithantha Kadu’ would have become an inevitable film of Tamil cinema. But it fails to stick in the mind as a soulless gangster story with many flaws.
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