VENDHU THANINDHATHU KAADU Part I: The Kindling
Producer: Ishari K Ganesh
Director: Gautham Vasudev Menon
Cast: T.R. Silambarasan, Siddhi Idnani, Neeraj Madhav, Radhikaa Sharatkumar, Angelina, Jaffar Sadiq and Siddique
Platform of Release: Theatrical
By Jyothi Venkatesh
The film is all about how Muthu (Silambarasan) a youngster from Tamil Nadu leaves his village in Naduvakurichi, Tirunelveli, to work as a migrant labourer in Chembur, Mumbai in search of a better life and also to provide a better life for his mother Latchuhmi (Radikaa Sarathkumar) and sister Gomathi (Angelina) but only gets inadvertently sucked into the abysmal vortex of the underworld.
In Mumbai, Muthu works at a parotta shop run by a Tamil. His co-workers are all from different villages from Tamil Nadu but with very similar stories. They are all invisible people that make a city look visible. But Muthu doesn’t know that the shop is an underbelly of the underworld. His boss is Gaarji, a gangster from Tirunelveli, who has a beef with Kutty Bhai (Siddique), a Malayali gangster. Will he be able to find a way out of the violence and bloodshed and lead a normal and happy life, especially after falling in love with Paavai (Siddhu Idnani) is what the crux of the film is about?
Muthu’s mother Latchumi has sent him away from his home in the hope of preventing him from committing murder — which, she believes, is his destiny as per his horoscope. There is Sreedharan (Neeraj Madhav), a Malayali, who lands up in Mumbai at the same time as the former and becomes part of Kutty’s gang. With the character of Sreedharan, director Gautham Vasudeev Menon sets out to show how there is hope for someone who chooses to get away from this world.
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The film is as much of a triumph for its director Gautam Vasudev Menon as it is for Silambarasn Gautham Menon who proves that he isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty as he captures the grime and dirt of the decadent living space that the Tamil immigrants in Mumbai—Muthu included—are holed up in and that includes the dirty walls, the open latrines, and the sounds and sweat that lurk behind them.
Newcomer Siddhi Idnani is pleasant to look at and she is a revelation but the character of Paavai that she plays is left alternating between looking coy when Muthu flirts and looking frightened when Muthu fights and there is hardly any trajectory as far as the dimension of her role is concerned, while Neeraj Madhav who is otherwise a very good actor has not been utilised to the hilt. Radhika as Muthu’s mother has been wasted.
The dialogues are quite incisive and though the screenplay seems at times far too repetitive, Gautam Vasudev Menon has taken a calculated risk to come up with a film which is not exactly just don his alley or for that matter comfort zone but you just cannot help but notice that in the climax when here is the trailer of the next part, Silambarasan looks exactly like how his actor director father T. Rajinder used to look like on screen with his beard