Here’s a difference between watching a Vijay flick and an Ajith flick. Ajith understands his toolset, his limitations and stays within that comfort zone. While it can get repetitive and recycled, you’re not left cringing in your seat like the adventures that Vijay carries out with emoting beyond his range. In Vedhalam, Ajith does what Ajith does best. As with all his movies in the recent past, he thrusts through the action, dialogues and sprays in a liberal helping of slow-motion swagger.
You’re left with a movie that does not take it too seriously, except when it needs to entertain Ajith fans (and the neutrals, like me. sometimes). None of the messagey, preachy, gooey stuff we have grown to hate in such movies. You know Ajith’s first baby-faced first half character is a unmistakable facade for the நான் யார் தெரியுமா intermission “twist”. The fate of the villains bears no variance. Nothing is left to the imagination. The simple pleasures of watching a masala.
As far as a rollercoaster rides go, Vedhalam goes for a sinusoidal wave. The romance/comedy part of the surge rides smooth/even and gives way to the drama/action drop that leaves you with a searing headache. The director’s concept of creating tension is camera attacking the actors from all directions, a (very) jerky editing and a soundtrack that knock your eardrums off.
Siva tries to work all the devices that get Ajith fans excited and on their feet. Sticking to humour could have made Vedhalam a vastly better experience, but Siva is too invested in delivering the badass Ajith.