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When a jobless graduate flounders around trying to find work, he loses respect from his wife, family and friends. But when he gets involved with a powerful woman in the corporate world, his life turns around and he becomes a powerful man himself.
Initial release: August 11, 2017 (USA)
Director: Soundarya Rajinikanth
Music composed by: Sean Roldan
VIP 2 SYNOPSIS: Raghuvaran, the happy-go-lucky engineer, is forced to battle it out with Vasundhara Parameswaran, a powerful but arrogant owner of a construction company. Has he finally met his match?
VIP 2 REVIEW: How do you take a story where the villain has been vanquished and the hero emerged triumphant forward? Soundarya Rajnikanth and Dhanush attempt an answer in Velai Illa Pattadhari-2. Raghuvaran (Dhanush), the brilliant engineer from a loving, middle-class family, is now trying to come to terms with married life, and hoping to build on his previous success. It’s lovely to return to the characters whom we have liked in the first film, right from Raghuvaran, his father (Samuthirakani), wife Shalini (Amala Paul), and his colleague Azhagusundaram (Vivekh) to even Harry Potter, the family’s dog.
But there is an interesting role reversal in Raghuvaran’s household! Shalini is the dominant person who keeps everyone on their toes. The father, played by Samuthirakani, is now more of a friend and guide, the role that his mother played when she was alive. Talking about the mother, the film does overplay the mother sentiment a bit — it is aware of this and even uses it as a running gag — but a scene on the terrace mirroring a similar one from Part 1 still manages to be heartwarming.
These scenes in Raghuvaran’s home play at a different pitch than in the previous film… from closer-to-real-life tone, we now get almost spoofy episodes, with the focus clearly on generating laughs. And yet, these scenes, involving Raghuvaran and the people close to him are still the film’s charm.
That brings us to the antagonist, Vasundhara Parameswaran. Kajol is a good choice to play this character, who feels entitled, is arrogant and stubborn as much as she is self-made and successful. Her first encounter with Raghuvaran sets the stage for their conflict. They are opposites in every way. But, she sees that he is talented and wants (orders) him to work under her. And, Raghuvaran turns down her offer earning her wrath. Their encounters offer scope to prop up the hero and give him a larger-than-life image. Vasundhara isn’t an Amul Baby like the previous film’s antagonist, and proves to be quite a match for Raghuvaran.
Where the film fails is in how it takes their conflict forward. The first film offered the chance to set up the characters in Raghuvaran’s life in the first half and then turn Raghuvaran into a mass hero in the second half. Here, Soundarya has to set up the conflict right away, so by the time the first half ends, we feel as if VIP-2 has only covered the whole trajectory of the first film’s narrative. And in the second half, we get another villainous character, Prakash (Saravana Subbaiah), a corrupt businessman who wants to build a theme park on a marshy land. This is hardly a compelling arc, and the film seems like it is running around in circles, and desperately trying to gain mileage out of recent events like the jallikattu protests and the Chennai floods.
Also, VIP-2 wants to provide a context to Vasundhara’s behaviour — a female making it big on her own in a male-dominated world. It is an appreciable thought, but as drama, this doesn’t really work. Soundarya realises that the concept of ‘a man putting an arrogant woman in her place’ is outdated and misogynistic. So, she tries to show Vasundhara’s change of heart differently, but the way it is done here is hardly convincing and feels implausible.
The other aspect where the film falls woefully short is in the songs and the score, which lack the catchiness of Anirudh’s work in the earlier film. While Sean Roldan did well in Pa. Pandi, here, the music lacks the pep that the genre needs. With the script also lacking punch, the film ends up being underwhelming.