It's a terrible sign when the interval card rolls up and you let out a sign of exasperation, realising there’s another hour and fifteen minutes to sit through. The film opens with the usual cocktail for Tamil commercial ventures: the hero enters to an action block (in this instance, a wrestling match) followed by a song where his strength, bravura and good nature are praised, and soon after we are introduced to the romantic interest.
Prakash Raj’s Muniyandi has four sons, the last of which upholds an intense rivalry against his father due to reasons revealed later in the film through flashback. Karthi plays the scoundrel with a heart of gold Viruman, who would not hesitate to put his neck on the line for his brothers, who do not think twice about him. The first half slogs through with all the usual staples one can expect. However, one scene in the first half caught me slightly by surprise. There have been multiple films about a feuding father and son, but whenever the father faces an issue, it is standard practice that the son turns up to avenge his disgraced father. In Viruman, however, this cliched arc plays out a lot differently. Viruman’s response to this age-old situation is definitely a pleasant surprise. Nevertheless, the screenplay does meander a lot, and a lot of the film is unmemorable.
The cinematography was decent: the attention to detail with the colour scheme coordination during the ‘Kanja Poovu Kannala’ song was a great touch. The music seemed sadly forgettable: Yuvan Shankar Raja doesn’t tend to make bad music, but can slip into uninteresting territory from time to time. Karthi seems to be on ‘rural rascal’ autopilot. He played this role much better in his debut film appearance Paruthiveeran, where his character is much more nuanced. Aditi Shankar does a fine job for a debut effort, thankfully playing a character with some semblance of an original personality.
Even Saranya Ponvannan, who usually scores without even trying, seemed to be uninspired and lacklustre. Saranya’s stoic demeanour was particularly unconvincing during one notable distressing scene. Saranya plays the role of the quintessential Tamil mother much better in films such as Emttan Mahan and VIP. Soori is his usual self, however has an injured leg to spice things up. If we take away the limp, he is almost indistinguishable from his roles in films such as Varuthapadathu Valibar Sangam and Rajini Murugan. However, Prakash Raj does brilliantly with his portrayal of a father filled to the brim with toxic masculinity, and truly carries the film. He plays a very similar character in M Kumaran Son of Mahalakshmi, which although it falls in the aforementioned plot trope, is an objectively better film overall. The best aspect of the film, and arguably it’s main focus, is the character arc of Muniyandi.
The shoddily built house of cards is set on fire in the climax though, and I felt the final bow in the relationship was wholly undeserved, leaving a sour taste from the events that preceded.
Overall, the film is an underwhelming feat, with refreshing moments which helped carry it across the finish line. I would recommend this film if you enjoyed Kadaikutty Singam. Personally, both films are equally not great, but Kadaikutty Singam at least had the song ‘Sandakaari’ which has a permanent place on my playlist to remember the film by. This is not the case for Viruman though.
Krishna's rating: 2 stars
Images 2D Entertainment
Official trailer for the film below.