Cast- Ajith Kumar, Vivek Oberoi, Kajal Agarwal, Akshara Hassan & Karunakaran
Music Director- Anirudh Ravichander
Art – Milan
Stunts – Kaloyan, Ganesh
Choreography – Kalyan
Lyrics – Yogi B, Siva, Kabilan Vairamuthu, Rajakumari
Co Produced by G Saravanan
Costume Designer – Anu Vardhan
Executive Producer – Raahul
Production Executive – Nirmal, Anbazhagan
Stills – Sittrarasu
Co Writer – Adi Narayana
Co Director – Raja Sekar
PRO – Suresh Chandra & Done Team
Publicity Designs – Gopi Prasanaa
Sound Design – Uday Kumar
VFX – Hari
DI Colorist – G.S. Muthu
Make Up – Sakthi
Trainer – Yousuf
Producer- Senthil Thyagarajan, Arjun Thyagarajan
Banner – Sathya Jyothi Films – T.G.Thyagarajan Presents
Music Label – Sony Music Entertainment India Pvt. Ltd.
The Siva-Ajith combo has established itself firmly in Tamil cinema. You know what they are looking to deliver and so the expectations for Vivegam too were crystal clear – everybody knows that they are going to watch an unabashed utilization of Ajith Kumar’s star power playing to the galleries. Vivegam is no different; it has been made with AK’s (that’s how he is called in the film) fans in mind. This is the third time AK is working with Siva and their canvas has grown bigger each time.
Vivegam is by far the most ambitious project attempted by Siva so far as leaves his comfort zones of Chennai and Tamil Nadu and sets his movie entirely in Europe. We see right from the first frame that the director wants to deliver a product that looks glossy and stylish in every frame. The locations, the sets, the costumes and detailing are quite elaborate right from the beginning. We can see that no expense has been spared. And looking at AK’s physique, we also know that no effort has been spared. It is tough to look like an undercover agent in terms of fitness, and AK has gone an extra mile to make the cut. This is not to say that he has set any benchmarks for fitness standards of a Tamil hero – that still belongs to Vikram. But, AK’s physique in Vivegam is definitely a huge improvement over Vedhalam. And then comes the finesse and style part that is usually associated with a spy/undercover agent character that AK aces with ease. His screen presence remains as electric as ever which makes some of the improbable sequences watchable.
Vivegam tells the story a secret service/anti-terrorist squad somewhere in Europe which carries out many operations – the details on this are quite fuzzy and run through in a racy edited ‘Surviva’ song. All is well until one operation takes an unexpected twist. That twist will be unexpected to those who are new to espionage thrillers. But anyone who has been through the Bond and Bourne series can see it coming. And then, AK rises like a phoenix from the ashes. One just wonders – with all the money at their disposal and with VFX standards touched by Baahubali, is it so tough to create a realistic visual effect of an eagle or similar bird flying off a tree? Or was it just added on as an afterthought in the end? Revealing any more of the story would be a spoiler about the major twist.
The good thing about Vivegam is a pretty interestingly written story. It might not be completely new, but it definitely has passages that hold your attention quite well. Notable among them is the episode we like to call ‘the tracking of Natasha’ (a short cameo played by Akshara Haasan), which is perhaps the best part of the movie where the modus operandi of tracking down an absconding suspect who is an expert at deception is quite well laid out. Also, the entire second half is like a game of chess between AK and the antagonist (which is quite literally played out on screen with some ‘in your face’ graphics), with moves trying to outsmart each other that comes to a neat conclusion in the end. The other good thing about Vivegam is the action. Well, it may not be the best and the most realistic action you will see by any standards. But again, please remember that the metric that should be used here are previous movies of the Ajith- Siva combo. The intro fight is a bit tacky and has an overstretched final act. But, the ones that come through the length of the movie have a certain level of finesse even though one feels they could have been edited better. The regular cliché of all shooters from the antagonist’s team having a very poor aim holds true in all fight sequences. The final showdown in a cave would have been much better had it not been for Siva’s idea of making Kajal Aggarwal (who has nothing much to do but be by Ajith’s side) sing an inspirational Tamil song in the background – I’m sorry, but it’s almost farcical. Another major strength to the movie is definitely Anirudh’s BGM and re-recording. In keeping with the overall mood of the movie, the sounds are never subtle, but ringing in your eardrums. But to his credit, Anirudh knows the line between loud and jarring music. Also, the picturesque locales of many countries in Europe have been captured quite well.
Vivegam had plenty of potential to be a good espionage thriller that was inspired partly from Bourne. Vivek Oberoi looks dashing and convincing as an agent, but his lip sync does get awry at times, which can be overlooked. But, Siva has certain things that he just can’t let go off and they make many scenes more funny than thrilling. For instance, his fetish of making foreigners speak in Tamil is on overdrive here. We saw a bit of that in Vedalam and he takes it to a higher level in Vivegam. One doesn’t get the general idea behind this. If you want all characters to speak in Tamil, make a movie about Tamil Nadu police, not Europe secret service. He makes things cheesier with a restaurant scene of Europeans clamouring for South Indian food, a pregnant Kajal Aggarwal teaching ‘Achchamillai Achchamillai’ to European kids etc. etc. There is also a subtle message about secularism that is slid in right in the middle of a furious bike chase. Also, there is the secret service headquarters which has enough gadgets and big flashing screens to put the Avengers’ office to shame. The list of cheesy things in Vivegam is too long – but thankfully it does not include unnecessary songs. Then of course, Siva does seem to have a certain liking for countdowns with random characters shouting out random numbers from time to time. That too is a carryover from Vedhalam.
All that apart, Vivegam is racy espionage story that has its motives very clear – make the fans happy. And going by the reaction in theaters, they are more than happy, especially when AK rips off his shirt in the final fight. One has to say that the director and AK have managed to deliver what they set out to accomplish. But, one wonders whether they are underestimating the fans’ tastes by packing in so many cheesy over the top elements just to make them happy. Vivegam minus all the cheesy flab would have been a spy/action movie that would have had a much wider acceptability. Right now, it’s difficult to see anybody but fans being able to digest at least some parts of it.
Verdict : Well-written story. More wisdom in execution would have helped.
Progress Meter: 😊😊😊
TimesofCinema Rating : 3/5
Vivegam Movie Review
Ajith Kumar, Vivek Oberoi, Kajal Agarwal, Akshara Hassan, Aarav Chowdhary, Karunakaran, Actor Ajith Kumar, Actor Vivek Oberoi, Actress Kajal Agarwal, Actress Akshara Hassan, Actor Aarav Chowdhary, Actor Karunakaran, Director Siva, Music Director Anirudh Ravichander, Cinematographer Vetri, Editor Ruben, Art Milan, Stunts Ganesh, Kaloyan, Choreographer Kalyan, Lyricst Kabilan Vairamuthu, Lyricst Vivekha, Lyricst Yogi B, Lyricst Siva, Co Producer G Saravanan, Costume Designer Anu Vardhan, Executive Producer Raahul, Stills Sittrarasu, Co Writer Adi Narayana, Co Director Raja Sekar, PRO Suresh Chandra, Publicity Designs Gopi Prasanaa, Sound Design Uday Kumar, VFX Hari, Make Up Sakthi, Trainer Yousuf, Shoot & Edit RP, Producer Senthil Thyagarajan, Producer Arjun Thyagarajan, Music Label Sony Music Entertainment, Song Surviva, Movie Vivegam, Singers Yogi B, Singers Anirudh Ravichander, Music Anirudh Ravichander, Banner Sathya Jyothi Films, T.G.Thyagarajan Presents