Tamil Reviews

Vanmam Review: All Brawn

There’s always the guilty pleasure of scanning faces when a movie ends. The moment when lights flash on quite abruptly – without any warning whatsoever – that there’s just little or no time to hastily rearrange features; look dispassionate enough. While I hate being the subject – there’s nothing more invasive, is there? – I’m also quite the hypocrite that way.

And when Vanmam ends, I am not really surprised to see a whole lot of incredulity on display. For it delivers a lesson in friendship.


A very sound one, thanks to Dolby Atmos.



Vanmam, set in the countryside, is written for Vijay Sethupathi. It’s all brawn, brimming with muscle and some misplaced heroics. Grim, brooding, and forever roughing up someone in a deafening clash of sickles and metal – and a flash of some really white dhotis – Sethupathi barely cracks a smile through this two-hour long affair. And when he does grin – in the final few moments, it is a little unsettling to behold.

Vijay Sethupathi as Radha exudes this very Thalapathi-ish quality; he has certainly amassed some bulk for this one. In fact, Vanmam is perhaps just Thalapathi told backwards, with a few nips and tucks, and without Mani Ratnam. There’s a lot of blood and gore – some mindless hacking – twice as many tears, a friendship that had seen better times, and a bewildering romance. Also, Vijay Sethupathi as the murderer, Vijay Sethupathi as the savior, and Vijay Sethupathi as the victim. And finally, Vijay Sethupathi as the misunderstood rowdy who takes the law onto his own hands, arm-twists the cop into submission, and has a wide-eyed Chelladurai (Kreshna) for a friend.


The movie follows their friendship amidst some massively engineered drama – romantic and otherwise – two warring businessmen, quite a few henchmen, stern families, and a narrative that probably belongs in the 90s. The songs are unrefined, the violence so thoughtless and deafening that I feel quite betrayed after watching this beautiful advertisement for Dolby Atmos that was screened earlier. Of course, I could hear Vijay Sethupathi sniff and clear his throat; that’s not the point, though, is it?

But what brings on some comic relief, endearing the director (and the editor) to me in the process is this particular interval block: The two friends are locked in a fierce battle with each other; the lights flash on, and the screen splits into two. Vijay Sethupathi and Kreshna are separated by a jagged, yawning rift.

Idaiveli, it says.


The Vanmam review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have an advertising relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.