Suppose you compare Valimai with a Vivegam (making the comparison mainly because of the action genre). In that case, Valimai is definitely a better product. But the benchmark set by H Vinoth through his previous films is much higher. Thus, when going in for an H Vinoth movie, you expect a solid entertainer that looks unique. But on that scale, Valimai is Vinoth’s Vivegam. Valimai felt like Vinoth’s attempt to showcase Ajith Kumar as the Tom Cruise equivalent, but then he had to do all the compromises and spoon-feeding.
The story is set in the backdrop of Chennai. The alarming number of crimes influenced by the usage of drugs causes a massive headache for the city police commissioner, and he decides, “I need a people’s cop” (He literally says it). Enter Arjun Kumar IPS as the ACP who will solve this issue. Arjun’s tactics to find the chief behind the whole operation and what surprises await Arjun in the process are what we see in Valimai.
Promising directors compromising on the content when it comes to making major star vehicles is a thing that we have seen in the past, and this one also belongs to the same league. After introducing the deadly bike gang in the first 15-20 minutes of the movie, Vinoth takes a drastic turn from the mood he set, and we have an almost an hour-long personal story of the hero. We have him being the all in all sacrificing brother of the family. He sings and dances at the festival (That song came out of nowhere). And after all the good-hero ingredients are covered in the checklist, Vinoth takes him to Chennai. The cat and mouse game could have been interesting. But instead of tightening the script and making the villain a tougher one, Vinoth is making it more of a set-piece-driven masala.
Ajith mixes the family guy image created by Siva through the V series with this urban cop attitude. There are no specific scenes here to remember his performance. But Vinoth makes sure that his fans get to see him ride the motorcycle for a longer duration. Kartikeya Gummakonda, as the antagonist, is that animated villain whose eccentricity at times looks funny. Huma Qureshi as Sophia has nothing much to contribute. Sumithra plays the role of the highly dramatic mother of Arjun and Raj Ayyappa, as Kutty is a bit too naïve.
Even when I hated the romantic track in Theeran, the fact that the film had a very intriguing core made it enjoyable. In Theeran and Sathuranga Vettai, there was a solid and exciting concept at the center. Like how Arjun IPS says in the film about the reverse process to find the criminal, I think Vinoth did a reverse process in scripting Valimai. When I finished watching Valimai, it felt almost like they decided on Ajith doing the bike stunts and then created a script that could accommodate that. The technical perfection of the stunts is of good quality (barring the Dhoom 4 like treasury stunt). Still, all the other fight sequences felt far too stretched apart from the bus stunt. Nirav Shah captures the style and scale neatly. The background score is typical, but it works for the film.
Doctor starring Sivakarthikeyan and Maanaadu starring Silambarasan are two of the major blockbusters of last year, which somewhere showed that you can make commercial entertainers without introduction songs, pointless stunts, sidetrack comedy, etc. The interval twist, the cheesiness of some of the revelations, the melodrama featuring the mother, etc., are something that I would have expected in a Siva film. Female police officers, who are experts in handling the control room operations taking selfies because their senior officer told them to do so as part of a fun activity during work time, is the kind of lame humor I never expected to see in an H Vinoth film.
When I finished watching Valimai, it felt almost like they decided on Ajith doing the bike stunts and then created a script that could accommodate that.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended