Vinnaithandi Varuvaya is Gautam Vasudev Menon as his self-indulgent best. If Vaaranam Aayiram was Gautam’s tribute to his late father, VTV seems more like Gautam reminiscing about his first love and how it never really leaves you. Be that as it may, VTV is a good attempt at making a commercially viable love story. And the fact that this is his first effort in which he has teamed up with virtuoso AR Rahman, makes this a brilliant movie, musically. ARR’s melodies, Nalini Sriram’s lovely costumes, Manoj Paramahamsa’s slick cinematography, all of these under Gautam’s watchful eyes make the songs of this movie particularly memorable. And the standalone soundtrack as well scores simply because of ARR’s wonderful melodies.
The movie starts off with the protagonist Karthik (a wonderfully underplayed role by Simbu) narrating how he fell in love with Jessie (Trisha in a refreshingly girl-next-door role, more importantly a good, solid, pivotal role akin to her role in Abhiyum Naanum). The usual hurdles exist in the form of Karthik being a Hindu, an unemployed mechanical engineer looking to become an Assistant Director in films. Added to this is the fact that Jessie is an orthodox Malayalee Christian, whose father hates films in general, and to top it off, she is an year older than him as well.
As is the norm, Jessie spurns Karthik’s advances, eventually falls in love with him, and then the mother of all cliches, the separation sequence happens. What happens after that, whether the two of them get together again is what makes up for the climax of the movie. All said and done, there is absolutely nothing new about this love story, but then, Gautam’s unique way of handling the subject, and his flair for relatively natural story-telling is what makes this movie a must-watch, especially if you are a fan of Gautam’s earlier outings as director.
In terms of critical reception, while most people have loved Simbu’s portrayal of Karthik, people are divided over Trisha’s outing as Jessie. In all fairness to her, she has done justice to the confused state of mind and frustratingly fickle mindedness that Jessie is supposed to portray. And if you go by recent interviews she has done, apparently she is like that in real life as well, guess it shows in this character. To me, the chemistry between the leading pair was simply awesome and has to be seen to be believed. The fact that a majority of the movie deals only with these 2 characters also makes it all the more important that their chemistry on-screen clicked so well.
A completely spoiler-ridden review of the movie by Sudhish Kamath (hat tip to you Thalaiva) can be read here, and you could also read Baradwaj Rangan’s thoughts (as usual, Rangan at his candid best) here and Balaji’s views here. To sum it up, go catch this movie only if you are fan of romantic movies, Gautam Vasudev Menon’s style of story-telling, ARR’s music, not necessarily in that order.