An action drama that does what it set out to do-Entertainment News, Firstpost

Love alone doesn’t win at the end of the day in Yaanai. Dysfunctional families that remain functional during dysfunction also gain.

i don’t know if i can call Yaanai a comeback film for Arun Vijay. But I can say it loud and clear for the director of the film, Hari. He can finally breathe a sigh of relief. The new action drama, coming out four years after Ridiculous Saami Square, does what he set out to do. It’s not a comeback for the idea behind the Singam series. But then, what is its original form?

Hari is known for making masala movies that feel like you’re running on adrenaline. While not much of that happens here, there are places where its sparks do float. And some of that credit has to go to Vijay, because he’s not only the poster child for brawn and candor, he’s also playing a character that speaks directly to the audience.

Ravi (Vijay) gets out of his car and walks to a grave and pays his respects in order to build a bridge for reconciliation in one of the opening scenes of Yaanai. And about half a minute later, the main antagonist enters from another corner of the screen and engages in staring game with Ravi and the others. Everyone looks at everyone and it makes the tension rise in the air.

Lingam (Ramachandra Raju) is in no mood to shake Ravi’s hand and forget the past. He wants revenge, a bloody sacrifice – you know how that works in Hari’s world. Or even in the world of Tamil cinema for that matter where the hero and his sworn enemy share a dirty story. From this configuration, Hari tells you who you should root for. The answers are there: Lingam is very bad and Ravi is very good.

But the standoff between the good and the bad doesn’t come until an hour later. Lingam disappears over large stretches in the middle. And Ravi has to take care of small fish. But small fish also matter. He is the youngest of four brothers and therefore he is loved by all the women and children in his family. It’s a common family I’m talking about. Honestly, I couldn’t keep track of the number of children in the house. And a large family does not always mean a happy family. There are insults everywhere he goes, and he digests them all because he’s a good man, because he’s a family man.

Who is a family man anyway? Wasn’t he the protagonist of Maamanithan, Radhakrishnan (Vijay Sethupathi), also a father? He runs away from his wife and children when he finds himself at the bottom of a scam. But he still makes sure that his hard-earned money reaches them every month through his friend. In Yaanai, Ravi doesn’t pack his bags and travels to a neighboring state in the middle of the night. Rather, he simply beats his attackers to a pulp and wins the argument. The cops also listen to him without losing a word, because he is rich.

Perhaps Yaanai’s biggest drawback is its comedy track. Jimmy (Yogi Babu), as Ravi’s sidekick, is funny. But when he walks around town making silly comments and eating biryani for five rupees, it gets a bit tiring. Stand-alone jokes aren’t fresh, and since Babu isn’t paired with actors who can match his verbal marathon, they seem pointless and silly. Vivek did a great job at Saamy nearly two decades ago. But we have moved on now. We need comedy that accompanies the script and not stink bombs that walk away from the herd.

The insults I mentioned above mostly come from Ravi’s brother (played by Samuthirakani). This brother is the kind of guy who judges people around him based on the castes they belong to. It is therefore not surprising that his daughter falls in love with a Muslim. Ravi, too, is in love with a woman who is not of his caste – Malar (Priya Bhavani Shankar) is a Christian. And this is how Hari covers the holy trinity. But Yaanai does not destroy casteism.

Ravi doesn’t hold a mic and lectures about the wrongs that are spreading in our country. Nor does he make overt political statements. His conversations and confrontations are more like a quarrel in a forest – strangers won’t understand. But it is still a step forward. However, the Castist, who is also a wife-beater, gets away with almost everything he does. Is this a typical depiction of an Indian wedding? It’s kind of a punch in the gut to see that some things will never change, on and off screen.

Love alone doesn’t win at the end of the day in Yaanai. Dysfunctional families that remain functional during dysfunction also gain.

Rating: 3 (out of 5 stars)

Yaanai plays in cinemas

Karthik Keramalu is a writer. His work has appeared in The Bombay Review, The Quint, Deccan Herald and Film Companion, among others.

Read all latest news, trending news, cricket news, bollywood news, india news and entertainment news here. follow us on Facebook, Twitter and instagram.