In his very first film Kalavani, director Sarkunam proved that he is a film maker with a potential. And in Vaagai Sooda Vaa, he continues to reiterate this fact as he narrates his tale adhering to a rural milieu set in 1966.
Vaagai Sooda Vaa is a tribute to teachers and tells the story of young man who is trained to teach and waiting for a government job which in those days was a highly revered commodity. The incidents that unfold when he comes to a village involved in making bricks and the shape that his dreams take on, become the base on which Sarkunam builds his story.
Vaagai Sooda Vaa works big time due to the brilliant detailing of Sarkunam and team, art director Seenu, cinematographer Om Prakash and music director Ghibran.
Sarkunam’s research is evident in the numerous articles of 1966 from the transistor, its announcements, the alum used during shaving to the bar soap being cut by thread. And he has also brought out the traditions of people living in that period through the ‘oppari’ and the customs during a death ceremony. Sarkunam’s eye for perfection is palpable when Vimal walks with a limp after he is attacked although his limp does not form part of the core of the sequence at all.
Credible characters and a fairly good screenplay are the positive components of VSV. In the performance department, debutante Iniya is a worthy find and cruises through emotions. The scene where she breaks into a pompous jig in front of Vimal’s hut and where she expresses her disappointment on knowing Vimal’s intentions speak about the girl’s potential. Of course, her body language in a few instances is contemporary which could have been avoided.
For Vimal, VSV offers a different look in terms of a well kempt teacher with neatly done hair style and mannerisms. But Vimal could try bringing in variation in his dialogue delivery which would help the actor in the long run. Kumaravel’s performance as a ‘kuruvikaarar’ and his make-up needs special mention. Thambi Ramiah, K Bhagyaraj, and Ponvannan as supporting cast have done their roles satisfactorily.
The scene where heroine Iniya keeps hitting her shoulders with Vimal purposely, Thambi Ramiah losing out to Vimal on his Maths riddle, Vimal explaining about his brawn to the children and an innocent child’s remark followed by Iniya’s naughty comment, Vimal trying out his courage to a chasing goat are all examples of enjoyable scenes and VSV is replete with such sequences.
Technically VSV boasts of commendable contributions and art director Seenu who is being introduced in the film takes away the honors in bringing the right kind of ambience to Sarkunam’s vision. Cinematographer Om Prakash with his dusty brown visuals and the apt tones and angles create the magic of 1966.
It is difficult to believe VSV is Ghibran’s first project as music director. Under his musical baton, Sara Sara rules followed by Porane and Aana Aavanna. Although the Porane number sounds well, the picturization and its validation appear unnatural. Sarkunam’s juxtaposition of old songs in the narration works in favor of the film especially the ‘Pennin Manadai Thottu Poravare’ ditty.
On the flip side, Sargunam could have avoided taking time to get into the main story knot, which could have made the narration even more engaging. Nevertheless, Vaagai Sooda Vaa emerges triumphant bringing out the period feel with a simple love story and a noble message.
Verdict: A noble message told successfully