Vetrikkodi Kattu

Sermonizing & predictability run high as Cheran's

sure-fire success formula runs out of gas!

Stars: Parthiban, Murali, Meena, Malavika, Manorama, Charlie & Vadivelu
Music: Deva
Director: Cheran
Released: July 2000
Reviewer: Sandya Krishna
Rating: 2 1/2 stars

Cheran has struggled immensely to retain the name and success that he had earned after Bharathi Kannamma and Porkkaalam.   Unfortunately for him, Desiya Geetham not only fell to its knees at the box office, but unnecessarily earned him the wrath of politicians and big-wigs in Tamilnadu.  What's more; he ploughed through creating the Prasanth starrer, Vinnodum Mugilodum, which went through several title and producer changes and finally succumbed to financial and political pressures. 

That Sivashakthi Pandian dared to produce Vetrikkodi Kattu, by itself, is a big surprise, considering that 1) he is not one to contest political power and pressures and 2) to-date he has never tried risky 'social realization' projects (in other words, anything outside Kaadhal is taboo!).  Being bogged down by pressures he had faced after Desiya Geetham, Cheran has chosen to tried to take the high-road without earning anybody's wrath.  But given the sign of the times and considering even Director V.Sekhar's family-oriented 'message' movies are falling flat at the box office, Vetrikkodi Kattu could not have become much more than 'just another sermonizing film.'  This time around, Cheran takes to task poverty-striken folks who are desperate to get visas to foreign countries to make a better living for themselves and their families.

Murali, Manorama and Parthiban in Vetrikkodi KattuParthiban and Murali come to the city from their respective villages, paying huge sums of money to con-man, Anandaraj to get them visas to Dubai.   Predictably, fake-wig, fake-personality, Anandaraj grabs the dough and disappears into thin air.  Parthi & Murali find themselves stranded, ripped off and practically in each other's arms for comfort.  Charlie, another innocent villager, stunned by his financial loss, disappears into the annals of self-destruction. Commissioner Rajeev comes across Parthiban, Murali and others and advises them to dwell on the future and create a decent livelihood with what they have in hand.  Worried and depressed about what their family members would do to themselves (suicide, being one of the options!), Parthi and Murali switch roles and each of them heads out to the other's home.  Murali arrives in Parthi's village as his friend from Dubai while Parthi reciprocates the favor at Murali's village.  Parthi's wife, Meena, Parthi's two sisters, Malavika being one of them, are quite glad that Murali has visited them and Murali, for his share, sets up a nice 'moving' hotel for them for revenue.  Meantime, Parthiban struggles and comes up with a brilliant plan to support Murali's mom, Manorama and his two sisters, by building a milk farm with the help of a bank loan.  As things start falling into place for Parthi & Murali professionally, both face a lot of pressures on other fronts, with Murali being accussed to having an affair with Meena and unnecessarily trying to elicit Malavika's love, while Parthi deals with Murali's brother-in-law's dowry demands and more.

Meanwhile, Poor Man Charlie, who takes up a fruitless pilgrimage in finding Anandaraj's whereabouts and nabbing him, succeeds but succumbs to the knife of Anandaraj's goondas. His telegrams to both Parthi's & Murali's homes trigger the confusions between the family members leading to the dramatic climax, once again headed by Rajeev and more sermons :-(.  The main problem with Vetrikkodi Kattu is its predictability.  After Parthi & Murali reach professional success, it becomes almost widely known that societal/familial pressures are about to surface in their lives.  To add to this, Malavika falling in love with Murali has no foundation and just occurs because she prefers a dark skinned guy (Karuppu dhaan enakku pidichcha color-u is a great song, though!).  Parthiban & Murali provide average performances.  Parthi spends most of his time regurgitating his Bharathi Kannamma routine with Vadivelu, while Murali bursts into tears as often as possible.  Surprisingly, Meena is extremely good in a few sequences, especially worth mentioning is her strong-willed character returning her father Vijayakumar's money and turning him away for VaLaikkaappu food services.  Malavika is her usual 'sexy' self in black clothes, 'yearning' looks and all. Deva's two compositions, one thille-le le.. anandham and the other, karuppu dhaan make you realize soon enough that this is a Sivashakthi Pandian production.  Obviously, Deva's numbers are worth mentioning. All-in-all, Vetrikkodi Kattu is your average, predictable, clean, and reasonably engaging tamil movie fare.

Sandya Krishna

Original Photograph (Vetrikkodi Kattu): Thanks to Cinema Express
Photograph scanned & reworked by: Sandya