The only thing that can be considered as an improvement in Hari’s direction style in his new film Yaanai is the fact that the camera is getting enough rest. Besides that, he is pretty much stuck in the era where Singam was a blockbuster, and something like a Vikram was a risk. With the typical Namma Veettu Pillai + Thangachi Paasam ingredients, Hari works on a formula that no longer excites the viewer.
PRV group is an influential business family. They have multiple business ventures, and it is all run by four brothers. Ravi, the youngest of the brothers, who handled the bus services of the PRV group, is our hero. The family has a rough relationship with this guy named Samuthiram and his men, especially Lingam, who lost his twin brother Pandi due to the feud. Things take an interesting turn when Ravi’s niece Selvi goes missing. The efforts to find Selvi and how that disrupts the equation between the brothers is what we see in Yaanai.
Every element in the script is outdated. Even the recently released dramas that were targetting the B and C center audience dared to avoid good-for-nothing track comedies. But Hari still believes such jokes are hilarious, and Yogi Babu is burdened with that responsibility. Hero worshipping introduction, followed by a fight, a TASMAC ambiance song, etc., are there to satisfy the formula. The love track in the movie would have felt like an okay one if this movie was released along with Singam. But for a 2022 audience, it looks bizarre.
For Arun Vijay, it is that opportunity to be that hero who says rhyming dialogues with uncontrollable anger, and as a typical Hari hero, he did his part neatly. Priya Bhavani Shankar, as Jebamalar, gets this weird character who will stand up for everyone else but will stand like a dumb idiot when it comes to explaining her side. Samuthirakani as the elder brother, was fine. Poor Ramachandra Raju gets a pointless bad-guy role in a movie dealing with a family feud. Yogi Babu is doing the Vadivelu/Santhanam/Soori bit, and they still think it is okay to make body-shaming jokes. Radhika Sarathkumar, Jayapalan, Ammu Abhirami, etc., are the other major names in the star cast.
I think the troll videos that mocked Hari’s cinematography pattern have impacted how the director looks at movies. If the next round of trolls can focus on his way of building stories, an evolved version of Hari might arrive. The pitch of the drama in the story is loud, and the script feels like a compilation of bullet points. Even in tense situations, Hari’s characters can come up with rhyming dialogues. The anti-caste politics of the movie is somewhat funny as the lower caste is still treated like barbarians who need to be shown the right path by the upper caste people.
Yaanai is Hari’s way of saying he has no plans to evolve according to the time. They had actually pushed the release of the movie due to the tremendous theatrical run of Vikram. I hope Hari will see that film and understand that a commercial action blockbuster can be created without unnecessary formulaic inclusions.
With the typical Namma Veettu Pillai + Thangachi Paasam ingredients, Hari works on a formula that no longer excites the viewer.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended