Vaathi(Tamil) / Sir(Telugu)
It had been a dull weekend as far as Hindi and English theatrical releases was concerned and so I decided to head South! With that I finished watching the new bilingual film Vaathi/Sir in Tamil/Telugu respectively starring one of my favourite actors Dhanush. Everytime there is a new Dhanush film, I am always excited.
Year 2022 had been a mixed year for Dhanush(discounting his sole Hollywood venture The Grey Man wherein he was brilliant). While Thiruchitrambalam was a runaway hit and one of the sweetest films of 2022, Naane Varuvean which had released along with Kantara and PS1, did tank badly. But what these two films did was showcase the range of Dhanush as a performer. He could pull off a very edgy and an intimidating character with just as ease as a heart-broken character in search for love. His versatility has been his main USP in his filmography. So when he did return with his new film Vaathi, I was really interested despite knowing nothing about the film. So then does Vaathi manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Vaathi is a story based on the education system wherein an assistant teacher takes it upon himself to transform the lives of the underprivileged children despite the ongoing politics around them. The story here is a heartwarming and relevant tale packaged as a mass masala entertainer. And I did not seem to mind it at all! The screenplay standing at almost 135 minutes does make for a brisk watch and an entertaining one too!
The drama does open with a set of students who come across a video tape that comprises of a teacher solving a math problem. Soon the story does transport into a flashback wherein you are introduced to the protagonist amidst the politics around the education system which is subject to privatization. In other words, like in today’s times too education has become more of a business and that is something which is well tapped into. Soon the group of underdogs are introduced in a drama which has its heart in the right place.
The proceedings are interesting and engrossing from the drama point of view. Yes, the approach here is idealistic and at times the drama does get far-fetched. But there is a sense of positivity to the proceedings which results in a feel-good kind of a drama. The action sequences here do not allow the drama to be grounded and you could argue that how can a teacher beat up the bad guys to pulp so easily. But you have to remember that this is always mass masala entertainer at its core. And so if you are willing to forego or look past a few of these action sequences then there are some genuine emotions waiting to be felt.
The drama is fairly predictable with its trajectory as it uses a typical underdog approach as they make their way to the top. But it is done pretty well here as I found myself invested in the drama more than I expected. The issues along the way including that of the caste differentiation and how the education sharks literally own the arena is quite well presented. But given that the drama has its heart in the right place, it will put a smile on your face. The events leading upto the final act are heartwarming although the detailing of the drama(for example the insecurity of the kids or how the kids manage to turn it around for themselves) could have been tapped into a little better. But overall, the screenplay is well written and quite heartwarming.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are quite well written and well intended as well. The music is decent, the BGM is good and it does elevate the drama at various places. The cinematography and art design capture the area where the drama is set in pretty well. Director Venky Atluri does a good job in telling a very heartfelt and relevant tale packaged as a mass masala entertainer, a group of words that I didn’t think I would ever use them together.
The performances are good here. Sai Kumar and Samuthirakani have their moments to shine. Samyuktha Menon as Meenakshi is sincere and her love angle with Dhanush does contribute to some of the sweet moments in the film. But it is Dhanush who shines yet again as Bala in a powerful performance. There is an inherent charm and earnestness to his character that makes him affable. What that does is that you root for him right throughout the drama. And he expresses so beautifully through his eyes in yet another cracker of an act!
Vaathi/Sir is a heartwarming and relevant drama packaged as a mass masala entertainer that makes for a good watch. Available in a theatre near you.