Film: VIP 2
Director: Soundarya Rajinikanth
Cast: Dhanush, Amala Paul, Kajol, Vivekh and Samuthirakani
Dhanush’s Velaiilla Pattadhari was unanimously well received and loved because its story, thought tried-and-tested and predictable, could connect with all the sections of the audiences. It worked because of the way it was packaged, apart from a terrific Dhanush winning us over in the role of a jobless graduate. It wasn’t one of those commercial outings you could easily write off and that’s what made the film stand out. Unfortunately, its sequel Velaiilla Pattadhari 2 fails miserably in every aspect, ending up as a movie that shouldn’t have been made in the first place.
VIP 2 is set a few years after the first part. Dhanush is married to Amala Paul, whom he wooed in VIP and made us root for their romance. As husband and wife, their relationship is outright boring and that has been achieved by making Amala’s character look silly. She is made to look like an authoritative, nagging wife who controls Dhanush. It’s surprising that why even a female director — especially someone like Soundarya who is well-read, smart and is expected to write stronger, better roles — would portray a wife’s character in such poor taste.
VIP, with this ‘sitcom-y’ quality, is very much a film that deserves a sequel. But is the Soundarya-directed Velaiilla Pattadhari 2 a worthy follow up? That’s not something one can be sure of.
For one, Velaiilla Pattadhari 2 is never really an underdog story. The film opens with Raghuvaran winning the Engineer of the Year Award. He still works for Anitha Constructions (though, curiously, Ritu Verma replaces Surabhi) but he’s an executive now and has a parking spot reserved for him among Mercs and BMWs.
So when Vasudhara (a lost Kajol), the chairman of the biggest construction company in South India, makes Raghuvaran a job offer, she doesn’t expect him to refuse.
He does and she begins to go after him, placing one obstacle after another. Yet their confrontations never feel like a Goliath taking on a David. It’s among equals, and we realise that VIP 2 isn’t really half-and-half like the first part. It’s all about Dhanush the star, and a repeat of what we’ve already seen in his own Maapillai.
It’s also amusing how it deals with its ‘strong’ female villain. Raghuvaran, at one point, patronisingly claims that he sees no difference between him and her. He even tells her to stop playing the ‘I’m a woman’ card when she speaks of her struggles and achievements. But when his own wife Shalini (Amala Paul) asks if she can return to her profession when he loses his job, he almost sounds dismissive. There’s something terribly wrong with portraying her going back to work as if it were a sacrifice she’s making.
Yet there are moments where we see glimpses of the first part. There’s a nice massy scene where Raghuvaran uses his tact (and an Illaiyaraaja song) to bag a ₹600 crore deal with a old-fashioned businessman. There’s also a recurring ‘Amma sentiment’ joke, where people leave the room every time Raghuvaran speaks about his mother.
But these are just shadows of the original. What more can you say about a film in which a moped gets a better role than Kajol?