In Vadhandhi: The Fable of Velonie, director Andrew Louis is actually trying to show us two different aspects. One is the conventional thriller route, where you will have too many subplots, backstories, twists, and turns. The other one is the emotional investment of the police officer into the case to make it a social commentary about how we judge women in society. While Louis managed to land the thriller track without too many issues, the dilemma-driven trail of the investigating officer feels very preachy.
In the rural side of the Kanyakumari district, a young girl’s body is found, and everyone initially thinks it is a famous film actress. But later, it was discovered that it was a girl named Velonie who belonged to that village. The suo motu intervention of the court forces the police to properly investigate the case, and Inspector Vivek is given the task. How the investigation proceeds are what we see in Vadhandhi: The Fable of Velonie.
In terms of the setting, there are some resemblances between this one and Suzhal, another project that was produced by Pushkar Gayathri. But like I said, the emphasis here is more on the preachy side as it is loudly talking about judgemental viewpoints of a male-dominated society. Andrew Louise’s writing is able to generate a basic curiosity in terms of the way it structures the mystery behind the killing. But whenever he tries to talk about the gossip-seeking mentality of society and media, there is a jarring tone shift that unsettles the rhythm.
As a performer, the series offers SJ Suryah a platform to be much more natural and subtle. I really loved the chemistry between him and Aruvi Balaji, who played the role of Alex. Even though the scenes where Vivek becomes personally attached to Velonie didn’t gel well with the narrative, the performance was excellent. Sanjana, who played the role of Velonie, was a perfect choice for that character. She portrayed the attitude of the rebellious girl with conviction, and even in dialogue delivery, she made things sound much more organic. I am saying this because the mother character, played by Laila, was a major disappointment as her dialogue delivery felt far too theatrical. Vivek Prasanna, with that Kanyakumari accent, was really memorable. Nassar’s narrating skills help the series in some crucial areas.
In order to give the series that eerie vibe Andrew Louis has used these remote and isolated areas as the prime locations of the series. But, like I said, he is a bit clueless about that emotional track of the film. He is trying to create this structure where the viewer is given the impression that the case is closed by the end of almost every episode. But a moral dilemma will force Vivek to recheck everything. When you already know that there are three or four more episodes with nearly 50 minutes plus duration, this style of scripting becomes repetitive. I remember watching Reema Kagti’s Talaash, which had a similar thing. But there, the makers invested entirely in the thriller track. And the emotional conflict of the lead character played mainly in the heads of the audience.
By the time the series reached its final moments, I did wonder about the relevance of the film actress confusion, minister scandal, etc., that were there in the initial episodes. Vadhandhi: The Fable of Velonie is an old-school thriller that tries its luck in a modern-day format and ends up as a half-baked attempt.
Vadhandhi: The Fable of Velonie is an old-school thriller that tries its luck in a modern-day format and ends up as a half-baked attempt.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended