Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya

Lead Actors: SimbuTrisha     
Genre: Romance, Drama
Rating: 3/5

Boy meets Girl, falls in love? Check. Boy and girl live in same South Indian conservative community? Check. (Boy’s family is a tenant of the girl’s). Boy is a college graduate without a job? Check. Girl is a responsible kid doing her bit for the family? Check. Boy trying really hard to woo girl? Check. Girl respects strict parents and won’t cross the line? Girl and boy belong to different religions? Girl takes time to realize ‘love’? Check. Check. Check. Boy and girl decide to elope irrespective of parents’ interests? Err…no. OK, I don’t care about the plot…just tell me the boy and the girl are united at the end. Hmm..No.So there, that’s the best part– the last few portions in the story. In short, it’s a love story with a practical ending, a twist if you will. Karthik (Simbu) during his pursuit of becoming a Movie Director, spots Jessie (Trisha) and falls head-over-heels in love with her. Soon after, Jessie ‘realizes’ her true feelings, and officially begins a relationship with Karthik. Her parents are in the know and don’t approve. Jessie ‘being herself’ is in turmoil and decides to end the relationship. Eventually it’s learnt Jessie was married and shipped off to the US. Two years after the break-up, Karthik has a readymade script (of his own love story) based on which he would direct his first movie. Shooting on-location in New York, Karthik and Jessie bump into one another. Later, a pseudo-climax follows which is really a dream, but is also the climax of Karthik’s movie. In reality, Karthik and Jessie did not meet although spotted each other while in New York. The real climax few moments later, is that a happily married Jessie and still-single Karthik are watching the premiere of his new movie with Jessie asking Karthik if he really thought she was so good-natured.


Simbu, after VTV will be officially moniker-ed the Young Super Star. It was time the actor not be ‘Little’ anymore, and the transformation is more apparent with his renewed acting capabilities in VTV. Simbu wasn’t given any room for dappan-kuthu dance to charm his audiences, so his only tool could be emoting, given the story line. In summary, he has carried off the movie well, and for the most part seemed like the only protagonist. He plays a character from a middle-class family, and his language, audible thoughts and lifestyle are well etched, accordingly. His role centered on being a puppy-dog in love and urge Jessie to like him enough until she fell in love with him. In first half of the movie, the emotions had to range from excitement to anxiety to happiness to anger and frustration. This is because Jessie hasn’t ‘liked’ Karthik yet. Simbu had to play a character who remains resolute through and through. This, he proves with the help from a new friend in the movie field Ganesh (Ganesh Janardhan), Karthik follows Jessie everywhere including Kerala and works on improving the friendship/relationship. This, to the extent of picking fights with her brother and being more loud and vocal. Although, the plot was designed in a way to characterize Karthik as an ardent lover, Simbu’s effort shows through his dialogues, emotions. 

From the initial looks of it, Trisha probably did not face a challenge to essay the role of a lover girl. That is not completely true because Jessie is a fickle-minded character who won’t cross the line, yet is involved with Karthik and wants to share life with him. Jessie’s characterization is complex but the credit must go to Trisha for portraying fickle-mindedness so well. Lot of Trisha’s effort is about dialogue delivery, and the adorable part is her *cuteness* (can’t define here), which is Trisha’s forte. The viewer may label Jessie’s personality as bordering on the eccentric, but it’s not impossible for a girl to be under stress and be unable to decide who to ditch – strict parents or the mad lover. Trisha plays a Mallu girl born and brought up in Madras, so her Tamil is straight with a mild flavour of Malayalam. Trisha is Saree-clad mostly, or is in Salwar-Kameez; and has carried off both very well. Her make-up is minimal, and somehow the skin-tone along along with hairstyle and attire may remind some, of a South Indian Christian girl they may even know. Jessie is a year older than Karthik and that probably makes her assume some kind of upper hand in the relationship right from the beginning – Trisha takes the credit away here too, for playing a confident character who Karthik is madly after. For the most part, Trisha has been able to share screen space with Simbu very well, making the viewer take notice of her emoting abilities and not just her glam image.

Another personality needing mention is Ganesh Janardhan who plays Karthik’s friend and acquaintance in the movie industry. Ganesh is a sort of comic relief in the movie who’s able to keep his cool and crack jokes in serious situations too. He is also Kathik’s punching bag, gives him the confidence to keep pursuing Jessie and ideas when necessary. Role-wise, he pushes Karthik to keep at it, so the story kinda moves with his help. He keeps up with Karthik through the end, also being instrumental in helping him gain a firm footing in the movie industry.Performance wise, Ganesh’s character is loosely developed but it does not hamper the story in any way. 

Gautam Menon chose a simple plot and given a twist to it, at the end though. The story really is about how the girl dilly-dallies and finally makes an important decision as choosing a partner. The plot is thinner than the usual Desi love story but the treatment and performances make it somewhat a worthy watch. Elements like strict parents, unsettled career situation, religious differences, and last but not least, the age difference has been used in multiple ways and situations to move the story along. There definitely are some unjustified sequences, and scenes that are not built on a strong platform – a) How Jessie soaks in Kathik’s proposal in Kerala b) How Jessie is able to be a friend, yet let Karthik kiss her in the train on way back from Kerala c) Jessie’s on and off confusion whether or not to accept Karthik d) Karthik’s growth in the movie industry e) Scenes with Karthiik directing his first movie.

Everything about Jessie’s confusion has been portrayed well by Trisha, but the script-content is not adequate. The nature of the script allows only so much for the actor, and Jessie’s erratic behaviour is more realistic than cinematic. This movie did not offer much scope for screenplay, given the thin plot. The actors had to say and emote a lot of the same thing at length, and with pauses. But to carefully observe, the second half has more content-rich than the first. It’s in the second half that Jessie sets out to marry and calls off the wedding, Karthik goes to Kerala, Jessie agrees to begin a relationship with Karthik, his career takes off, his parents and Jessie’s parents fight, the action scenes between Karthik and Jessie’s brother, and finally the climax. Performance scope wise, the movie provided a pure white canvas to the actors and looks like they have stretched beyond expectations. But the best part, to re-iterate, is the climax. Menon has been brave enough to try and show what most of the viewers can relate with – that an unhappy ending is just as common. The protagonist need not lose himself to being a Devdas if things don’t work out and they can continue pursuing their dreams!

Cinematography by Manoj Paramahamsa is worth mentioning. The slow motion of the actors, the song sequences in European locales, Kerala backwaters (Allapuzha), movie sets with K S Ravikumar, etc are well-captured. Indoor scenes in homes have good interiors like in most of Menon’s movies. Solo shots with just Trisha or Simbu have been well-done to highlight the sharp features of both actors, who otherwise haven’t dressed extraordinarily well. Manoj has been been extremely good with emotional give and take between Simbu and Trisha with Simbu’s outbursts or Trisha’s stolid stance. The best picturization though is of the Central Park bench scene. 

He is called the Mozart of Madras and it is for a reason. A R Rahman continues to do a brilliant job with Tamil music. Two songs which are absolutely awesome are Anbil Avan, and Aaromale. The visuals in both are very good too. The album has a couple of peppy numbers like Hosanna and Kannukul and a couple of slow, sad numbers which run in the background as the story progresses. The background music is also by ARR and the experience shows, really. For example, the first scene (in the Church) with Aaromale guitar strumming in the background generates great amount of curiosity for the viewer. The quality of the sounds used is very appealing and the overall background music is new-age fusion, Indian and Western.

WHY 3/5:
The plot could have been developed better by including more elements – like making Karthik’s resolution somewhat unstable, or by allowing more time for the love relationship to mature before it fell apart. Elements like these add more uncertainty even to an experienced movie-watcher. How Karthik carves a career for himself is not justified fully, but that’s not the crux of the movie anyway. It’s good that unwilling parents are not shown to act like goons and act human, which is the saving grace. Simbu and Trisha have delivered well and are able to justify their roles by also displaying varying ranges of the same emotion at different times. All in all, the climax makes the viewer’s heart go all out to Karthik. The viewer knows by this point how much he wants Jessie back in his life; gets an opportunity to meet her by chance only to learn his dreams are now crushed forever. A performance oriented film, not a chick-flick for sure and a movie meant for mature audiences not looking for nitpicks in a romantic story.
10 Responses to “Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya”
  1. Prash says:

    Interesting, very interesting. I’ve seen the telugu version and it has a different ending. A ‘happier’ ending, a cliched boy-weds-girl ending that pissed me off. When Karthik realises Jessi is married and settled in UK (yes, it says UK) I thought.. ok… it gets interesting…. Menon has managed to screw-up the 2nd half, but he at least has the balls to think different… lets see how it pans out. The way he scripted the remaining 20 mts made me throw up.That apart, I think ARR’s track will carry the movie.. some tunes are just hallucinating. Naga has something about him. Like his dad, limited acting skills (pretty 1-dimensional), but a definite charm factor. Jessi is the new Shalini…. Which makes me wonder.. If Mani Ratnam had directed this movie…… – Prashanthp.s. mast hobby hai be… accha likha… pretty impressive…. looks like you are very busy at work

  2. Sunny says:

    – Liked the movie for the climax mainly. Would not have analyzed the movie for long if not for climax! – I thought I heard UK too, but saw US in the end, so wasn't sure I heard it right :)- I could not appreciate Naga Chaitanya's guest appearance either. He's not old enough for these kind of movies. No strength in voice, emoting is far far away. Dance? Aba cha.- ARR seems like a star himself in the movie, so if you see the posters and the ending credits , they called it an ARR musical-visual or something..and his name shows up before anyone else's. Marketing gimmick may be, to cash in on his Oscar/Grammy!- Would be interested in watching Samantha. GreatAndhra says she's doing Jr. NTR's 'Brindavanam'.PS: Very busy at work. Very productive too 😀

  3. Stinger says:

    you have a lot of patience!!!nice review!

  4. Sunny says:

    Thanks! Actually, patience is not one of my virtues :)..but being a cinema junkie helps quite a bit!

  5. Vicky says:

    Even I thought I heard it as US in the end, i.e. when they come out of the premiere. I liked the movie because of its realistic climax and am yet to watch the telugu version , just for the feel good factor of an "Happy Ending". BTW a very good analysis and write up sunny 🙂

  6. Sunny says:

    Thanks Vikas! Wait for more 🙂

  7. LeGiOnArY ! says:

    Hey friend…Nice review,I watched the movie on the second day of its release.As I walked after watching this movie my mind was fully engaged in their world.A world of Karthik,Jessie..Climax is unusual but interesting.Very different from stereotypes.The music is greatttttttttttttttttt…..Sorry for that extra t's.I'm not able to find another word. 🙂

  8. Sunny says:

    Hey thanks friend! Yep, decently-made movie..very good pick for Simbu and Trisha for sure.

  9. hie sandeep…nice reviewcouldnt watch in tamil version…had watched it in telugu..technical departments ..par excellence…gautam menon has proved his fans in these depts…samantha the new entry is charming n has amazing screen presence…thanks to the eyes behind the lenses…story dint deviate and stayed focussed…the long sequence between the main lead was shot very well..dialogues were clear n apt….climax scene was the best of all..most folks who have seen say ..they have faced similar sequences once in thier life…not sure how ?overall a good one …the main lead of the movie …chaitanya…is a big no no…should be given a production role rather a on screen role…

  10. Sunny says:

    Good stuff Krishna! Hmm..more rave reviews about Samantha eh? Seems to be a great performer. I guess the treatment did not change for both languages then, climax did although. Of course, the actors make all the difference for a movie such as this and NagC, how much you disappoint!

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