Though Dhanush and Velraj have already collaborated before in the films PolladhavanAadukalam, 3and Naiyaandi wherein Velraj was in charge of the cinematography, Velraj makes his directional debut through Dhanush’s much hyped 25th film – ‘Velai Illa Pattathari‘ which is an absolute commercial entertainer. VIP is an honest try at mass masala and a fun ‘n’ frolic film. It delivers on that, riding on the sincerity of Dhanush’s sheer performance laced with family sentiments. At the end of it all, you get a feeling of amusement and satisfaction – just the kind of feeling to ring the year down. The film which is bankrolled by Dhanush’s home banner – ‘Wunderbar Films’ has Amala Paul playing his love interest and music by Anirudh.

VIP is a film which touches upon the lives of engineering graduates who struggle to get a job in their area of specialization and the impediments faced after they get posted of their choice. The film also accentuates the unemployment prevailing in our country which is a huge issue today and the dreadful ratio of number of passed out graduates to the number of employed people. This has been the foreground topic of the film. The plot of the film is pretty simple & straightforward.

Raghuvaran (Dhanush) has completed 4 years of engineering, he is jobless and somehow wants to get placed in a civil engineering company. He is often teased and ragged by his father (Samuthirakani) by analogizing his brother Karthik (Hrishikesh) who made a name for himself in the family by rising tall in the IT space. Raghu has a good camaraderie with his mother (Saranya) and she is there to help him always. Meanwhile, Shalini (Amala Paul) the new neighbour and Raghu meet up in an interesting accident and eventually both fall in love with each other. As life seem to go on a happy note for him, a tragic event leaves him lamented, decides to take up a job. There he faces some obstacles and is he able to overpower them or not follows the rest of the story which is predictable.

Director Velraj makes a dream debut through VIP. His paperwork is obviously not the wafer thin storyline one but also one cannot deny that the script is weighty enough to admire to say the least. He has kept the entertainment factor in mind very well. The characterization, the beaming narration and presentation sans even a dull moment makes it engaging. Although, VIP seems to be a rehash of Dhanush’s previous films, director Velraj has handled every aspect of the film in such a way that we neglect them and focus as if we are seeing a refreshing feature. The film has a couple of solid punch dialogues that would definitely excite the fans. VIP is character-based movie, in that it relies more on its characters than its story to engage our attention. Thankfully, it has characters who seem real and are strong enough to hold up the film and the director pulls it off easily.

The 1st half of the film is remarkable with typical Dhanush being shown jobless and its ultimately fun on enjoyable fare with a couple of peppy numbers that gets its place well to gel along with the narration. One can sense a lot of deja vu if we compare Dhanush’s role to that he played in Yaaradi Nee MohiniThiruvilayadal Arambam and Padikathavan to name a few. But the spectacle of the film never drops even for a while. The 2nd half of the film is also fair enough to keep you hooked but a standard treatment where the hero raises above all the odds and uses his brain power to confront the rivals is very familiar and stereotyped. The end climax was rather convincing than keeping it melodramatic.

Dhanush has already matured into a very good actor and now he is turning into a natural actor. The film purely relies on him as the one man show. VIP perhaps can be considered a good comeback after consecutive clinkers. He is able to exhibit a lot of emotions with his expressions and body language and generates sympathy for his character. He makes you laugh, cry and applaud for every frame he appears. Terrific screen presence and charisma he possesses. He completely immerses himself in the character. In one particular scene where he recites a lengthy dialgoue is EPIC and the 6 pack finale with a cigar in hand with so much of intensity he shows that the entire theatre burst into spontaneous applause. Amala Paul as Shalini the dusky beauty in a salwar-kameez-clad looks very apt to her girl next door role and she does her part well. The chemistry between her and Dhanush is fine and adds more depth to the narration. Samuthirakani shows a lot of elusiveness in his character, while Saranya the usual mother on screen is spot on. Vivekh keeps you in splits almost throughout the 2nd half. Hrishikesh as Dhanuh’s brother was cool but it was Amitash’s disappointing performance who needs to improve, he can be excused because it is his debut film, but considering the fact that its a cat and mouse game, a equally good villain to the hero would have lifted the tension of the film to a different level. He could have emoted better well atleast. Surabhi makes a brief appearance and she doesn’t get much to do.

From the technical respects, Anirudh’s title track is the only one that keeps you penetrating whenever it gets played in the 2nd half. Rest of the songs are nothing big to rave about but they are not damb squibs either. The picturizations for the songs are fresh and vibrant, songs fit in their places perfectly and no complaints whatsoever. The background score is of high standards and certainly elevates the mood. Cinematography by Velraj is okay and he could have focussed more on some uncanny shots and ediitng by Rajesh is adequate. Stunts are done in a veritable way.

On the downside, the the 2nd half could have been better had director Velraj concentrated more from the scripting angle for which its slightly mediocre. The lip sync for some of the artists was not perfect. The entire movie is predictable if one had analysed the film’s trailer.

To conclude, even though VIP might have to carry the tag of being called a ‘conventional commercial’ flick, this has a potent message and an important issue that gets spotlighted. VIP is a film that will surely suffice the demands of the masses. Dhanush is lucky enough to get a better script in recent times through his silver jubiee outing. Satisfaction and immaculate entertainment affirmed.

My Rating – 3/5