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Vanjagar Ulagam simply known as VU is an upcoming 2018 Indian Tamil romantic crime thriller film directed by Manoj Beedha on his directorial debut and has also written dialogues to the film along with Vinayak.
Initial release: September 7, 2018
Director: Manoj Beedha
Vanjagar Ulagam Synopsis: A woman is murdered and her neighbour is picked up as a suspect. Meanwhile, a journalist believes he can use this murder to lure an elusive gangster, with help from the guy’s former accomplice.
Vanjagar Ulagam Movie Review: Vanjagar Ulagam opens with a man coming to consciousness. He is inside a van, and notices flames engulfing the vehicle. He manages to get out. In most movies, this would be a tense scene, but Vanjagar Ulagam is gives us nonchalance. Right away, Manoj Beedha establishes that more than anything, he wants his film to be cool. And right till the end, we get that – in the stylish visuals (the cinematography is by Rodrigo Del Rio Herrara and Saravanan Ramasamy) and in Sam CS’s eclectic score.
Back to the plot, we learn that the youngster who escaped from the van is Shanmugam (Ciby Bhuvanachandran), who prefers to be called Shaam. In the very next scene, he is picked up by the cops under suspicion of murdering his neighbour, Mythili (Chandini Tamilarasan). The youngster’s colleague, Vishagan (Vishagan Sulur Vanangamudi), a journalist, feels that the murder could be used to lure the elusive gangster Durairaj. And he tries to woo Durairaj’s former right-hand man, Sampath (Guru Somasundaram), who has quit the business, to help him get the man.
A whodunit, a gangster drama, and a neo-noir all rolled into one, this hard-to-classify quality of Vanjagar Ulagam is both its strength and weakness. There are a few moments, like the shootout involving Sampath and Mahalingam (Azhagamperumal), a cop who is after Durairaj, or the lead up to a love-making scene between two characters (with a Carnatic-dubstep score), where the filmmaking flair keeps us transfixed.
That said, the film overplays its hipness quite often, and this results in it lacking the tautness of a whodunit, the energy of a gangster drama and the cynicism of noir. We view the characters at a distance and are never really sure whom to root for – the impish Shanmugam or the determined Vishagan or the unpredictable Sampath. The director seems to lean towards the latter, and Guru Somasundaram gives a captivating, if a little too mannered, performance in this role, but the role isn’t as forceful as it should be. And for a film that wants to be uber-cool, this one feels dialogue-heavy.
But what keeps us involved is the circuitous manner in which the director tells this tale. Even if the climactic revelations are easy to guess, the constant shuffle between scenes in the present and from the past lends the film some novelty.