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'Vellithirai' - an unflattering mirror of Tamil cinema (Review)
By S.S. Chandralekha
Film: "Vellithirai"; Cast: Prakash Raj, Prithviraj, Gopika, Lakshmi Rai; Director: Viji; Music Director: G.V. Prakash; Producer: Prakash Raj
This film on filmdom, from the makers of the offbeat "Mozhi", is more than a mere remake of Malayalam hit "Udayananu Tharam".
Holding up a rather unflattering mirror to the Tamil cinema of today, "Vellithirai" tells a tale abounding in ironies.
The story is about the strange relations between Kannaiyan (Prakash Raj), an aspiring actor who has waited for 16 yeas and is now willing to do anything for stardom, and Saravanan (Prithviraj), who dreams of becoming a director but has to settle for the life of a taxi-driver.
An added ingredient in the cocktail is Mythili (Gopika), an established actress, whose brother forces her to sign films without even seeing the storyline. She is a suffering woman, who marries Saravanan only to give him an agonising inferiority complex.
Exposing the seamy side of Tamil cinema, the story ends up in the supremely ironical sequence where Saravanan directs a film with Kannaiyan now sizzling as superstar Dilipkanth. A confrontation follows, leading to a climax, which we won't give away.
Hats off to Prakash Raj for a highly entertaining performance, which is also a convincing portrayal of an unscrupulously ambitious character. Prithviraj presents a striking and satisfying contrast.
Lakshmi Rai, who appears only in the film's second half, has a meaty role that overshadows Gopika's.
Supporting actors Mustafa, M.S. Bhaskar and Sathya have done their job well. Guest stars Ravi 'Jeyam', Trisha and Sandhya add glamour to the proceedings.
The dialogues, with heavy political undertones, tickle the funny bones and make up for the lack of a separate comedy track.
G.V. Prakash's music does not disappoint, with "Uyilrile" lingering on in the viewer's memory. One of the songs takes a dig at stars-turned-politicians.
"Vellithirai" may not be as good as the Malayalam original, but the remake provides refreshing proof that Tamil films can succeed without violence alone as their staple fare.
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