Valimai (transl. Power) is an upcoming Indian Tamil-language action thriller film written and directed by H. Vinoth[1] and produced by Zee Studios and Boney Kapoor under Bayview Projects LLP.[2][3] The film stars Ajith Kumar, Huma Qureshi, and Kartikeya Gummakonda. The film's music is composed by Yuvan Shankar Raja, whilst cinematography performed by Nirav Shah. The film is scheduled to release on 13 January 2022, coinciding with Pongal.[4]

Valimai
Valimai poster.jpg
Fist look poster
Directed byH. Vinoth
Written byH. Vinoth
Produced byBoney Kapoor
Starring
CinematographyNirav Shah
Edited byVijay Velukutty
Music byYuvan Shankar Raja
Production
companies
Zee Studios
Bayview Projects LLP
Distributed byZee Studios
Romeo Pictures
Gopuram Cinemas
Release date
  • 13 January 2022 (2022-01-13)
CountryIndia
LanguageTamil

CastEdit

ProductionEdit

Pre-productionEdit

Soon after the release of director H. Vinoth's second film Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru (2017), he approached actor Ajith Kumar for a high-profile action film, which will feature the actor in negative shades to his character. However, Ajith declined the project and asked the director to work on the Tamil remake of the 2016 Hindi film Pink titled as Nerkonda Paarvai.[16] In January 2019, during the film's making, producer Boney Kapoor announced that he would collaborate for the second time, with Ajith Kumar and director Vinoth for another Tamil film, which will be tentatively titled as Thala 60.[17][18]Kapoor also stated that, the film will have racing sequences,[19] suggesting that the movie would be an action thriller genre that uses the actor's passion for speed.[20][21]

DevelopmentEdit

The film's production was expected to launch on 29 August 2019,[22][23] however was briefly delayed, due to Vinoth's completion of the final draft of the film's script. A formal launch ceremony for the film was held on 18 October 2019, at the office of Kapoor's production house.[24] The makers also announced the title of the film as Valimai.[25][26] Yuvan Shankar Raja was hired as the film's music director, and Nirav Shah was confirmed as the cinematographer.[27] National award-winning art director Thota Tharani was reported to join the film's technical crew,[28] but was replaced by K. Kathir.[29] Editor Vijay Velukutty and stunt choreographer Dhilip Subbarayan too were a part of the technical team.[29] Sources claim that Ajith will essay the role of a police officer in the film,[30][31] and he will sport two different looks,[32] with one of them being similar to Ajith's bald look in Vedalam (2015).[33]

On the release of the trailer glimpse on 23 September 2021,[34] many cinephiles noted about the storyline revolving around Satan's Slaves Motorcycle Club, which was founded in Shipley (England) in the mid-1960s, and later spread on to various countries including Germany, North America, Scotland and Australia.[35] They were known for the heinous activites being involved such as drug peddling, trafficking in stolen goods, gunrunning, extortion, and prostitution. It has been referred that the film's plot has a resemblance to the crime drama documentary covered on the outlaw motorcycle club, titled Sons of Anarchy.[36] It was also revealed that the film also feature a connection to World War II, however, it was not true.[37]

CastingEdit

S. J. Suryah was reported to play the antagonist in the film,[38][39] however the actor denied the claims of being a part of the film.[40] The makers approached Janhvi Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra to play the female lead, thus marking their debuts in South Indian cinema.[41] but both the actresses denied the offer due to call sheet issues.[42] Nayanthara and Keerthy Suresh were was also reported to play the female lead, which became untrue.[43][44] Nazriya Nazim was reported to play a pivotal role in the film,[45] but the actor denied such rumours.[46] While there have been questions surrounding over the film's female lead, with Ileana D'Cruz and Yami Gautam were under consideration,[47] Huma Qureshi was cast as a lead, in her second Tamil film after the Rajinikanth-starrer Kaala (2018).[48]

Bollywood actor Ajay Devgn was reported to play the antagonist, he could not act in the film due to his commitments with S. S. Rajamouli for his film RRR.[49] Similarly, Arvind Swami, too denied being a part of the film, since he has been shooting for Thalaivi.[50] Prasanna was also reported to play a pivotal role in Valimai,[51][52] but he turned down the offer.[53][54] Later, the makers finalised Kartikeya Gummakonda as the main antagonist.[55] Apart from Kartikeya, two other antagonists, were reported to be featured in the film,[56] with Pavel Navageethan of V1: Murder Case fame, being hired as one of the film's antagonists.[57]

Yogi Babu was approached for a comic role,[58] whilst Raj Ayyappa who played the antagonist in 100, plays Ajith Kumar's brother in the film. A leaked picture of the film in December 2020,[59] features Achyuth Kumar and Sumithra in the film's cast,[11] The latter was reported to play Ajith Kumar's mother in the film, which the makers stated her character as a crucial one in the film.[9][60] Popular television actor Pugazh was reported to play a pivotal role in the film.[61] However, Pugazh himself later clarified that he is in the film.[62]

FilmingEdit

Principal photography of Valimai was expected to begin on 13 December 2019,[63][64] but the shooting was launched two days earlier at the Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad.[65][66] The makers have filmed an action sequence for Ajith in Hyderabad,[67] which was completed within two weeks.[68] Soon after the completion, the team planned for a three day shooting schedule, at Rekha Gardens in Chennai, and parts of the city.[69] It was reported that, Ajith met with an accident during the filming of a bike sequence before completing the schedule in Chennai, which resulted in the film's delay.[70][71] Filming was reportedly halted in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, where, the team planned to shoot few sequences, which include car and motor race at Switzerland, within April 2020,[72] and also planned to shoot in Spain and Morocco, after lockdown.[73][74] However, the pandemic affected the foreign shooting schedules,[75] which made the team to make major changes in the shooting plan, with the planned foreign schedules to be shot across India.[76] The post-production works of the film did not happen after Ajith's request.[77] Nearly 60% of the shoot completed before the coronavirus lockdown imposed.[77]

After multiple delays, the film's shooting plan was resumed on 23 September 2020,[78] with Kartikeya joining the shoot.[79][80] Major portions of the film were shot at Red Hills in Chennai. The makers stated that, Ajith will join the film's shoot by January 2021 and planned to complete the shoot within February,[81] as more than 50–60 days of shoot is pending, including the actor's portions which will be completed within 30 days.[82] It was reported that a popular Hollywood stunt choreographer, was hired to direct the few action sequences, which will introduce a new-style stunt in Tamil cinema.[83] In October 2020, the team planned to shoot few sequences at New Delhi, but after the government denied permission to shoot the film citing the coronavirus pandemic,[84][85] the makers chose Hyderabad as the shooting schedule.[86]

Ajith Kumar joined the sets in Hyderabad, after which he resumed shooting on 25 October,[87][88] despite reported that he will start the shoot in early 2021.[89] In an interview with an online portal, H. Vinoth stated that the makers may not cancel the foreign schedule because the crucial scene involves more international stuntmen.[90] In mid-November 2020, it was reported that Ajith may take a month-long break in order to start the next phase of the shoot in Hyderabad.[91] After the shoot being resumed, the makers filmed a stunt sequence with Ajith performing a bike stunt without body double, however the actor lost his balance while performing a stunt, and fell off the bike.[92] Despite sustaining injuries, Ajith completed the schedule without delay.[93] As of December 2020, the makers have completed 80% of the film's shoot and talkie portions, whereas the songs and stunt sequences were yet to be under completion.[94] It was further reported that the makers planned to film the major stunt sequences in foreign countries post lockdown relaxations,[95] with a major schedule in South Africa and Spain,[96] where high-octane bike stunts will be filmed in the country.[97] The film's shooting was wrapped on 15 February 2021, barring the foreign schedule,[98] which was filmed in Russia during 26 August 2021 and was completed on 2 September, thereby shooting of the film was wrapped.[99][100]

MusicEdit

Valimai
Soundtrack album by
Released2021
Recorded2020–2021
StudioU1 Records, Chennai
Panchathan Record Inn and AM Studios, Chennai
Unique Studios LLP, Chennai
New Edge Studios, Mumbai
GenreFeature film soundtrack
Length4:14
LanguageTamil
LabelSony Music
ProducerYuvan Shankar Raja
Yuvan Shankar Raja chronology
Maanaadu
(2021)
Valimai
(2021)
Maamanithan
(2021)
Singles from Valimai
  1. "Naanga Vera Maari"
    Released: 2 August 2021

Yuvan Shankar Raja composed the soundtrack album and background score, in his second collaboration with Vinoth and Boney Kapoor after Nerkonda Paarvai (2019) and eighth collaboration with Ajith Kumar after Dheena, Billa, Aegan, Mankatha, Billa II, Arrambam and Nerkonda Paarvai.[101][102] According to a report from The Times of India, the album of Valimai will have five songs including a theme music.[103][104] In a press interaction with Vikatan, Yuvan further revealed that, he had completed three songs and the theme music, and for the latter, which he composed, without the help of his signature guitar notes,[105] as per Ajith's suggestion, in order to give something fresh and massy appeal.[106][107] Yuvan started composing the music for the film at in mid-December 2020 at composer A. R. Rahman's AM Studios in Chennai,[108] with the studio's chief sound engineer S. Sivakumar worked on the film's audiography.[109][110] The film's soundtrack has different set of songs, consisting of various genres.[111]

On 10 February 2021, Yuvan's newly launched website U1 Records, revealed the details about the film's introductory song for Ajith Kumar,[112] with Vignesh Shivan writing the lyrics; touted to be a folk number, Yuvan also brought in folk drummers from Orissa to record the song.[113] Discussing the song, Yuvan stated it as an "ecstatic mass number",[114] which gained expectations around the song, after his work in the iconic theme music from Mankatha (2011).[115] The opening song was reported to have two versions with a rough cut was recorded by Yuvan, along with Anurag Kulkarni, a prominent playback singer in Tollywood, and Anirudh Ravichander was reported to give vocals for its dual version.[116] The composer, later recorded three melody tracks written by Thamarai; one song being directed on the mother-son sentiment.[117][118] Rapper-cum-lyricist Arivu also contributed to one song in the soundtrack.[119]

After much anticipation among fans, the aforementioned introductory track titled "Naanga Vera Maari" was released as the first single from the album on the night of 2 August 2021,[120] to coincide Ajith Kumar's 30th anniversary in the film industry.[121][122] The song lyrics talk about how youngsters should be, when it comes to their attitude and behaviour.[123][124] It received a humongous response from the audiences and the song crossed more than 6 million views on YouTube, within 17 hours of its release.[125] As of November 2021, the song currently has 34 million views.[126]

Track-List
No.TitleLyricsSinger(s)Length
1."Naanga Vera Maari"Vignesh ShivanYuvan Shankar Raja, Anurag Kulkarni4:14

MarketingEdit

Despite the film's title being announced on October 2019, there was no update regarding the film's first look. In April 2020, Boney Kapoor claimed that the team will not indulge in any promotional activities citing the COVID-19 pandemic, and also stated that the team will kickstart the promotions post-lockdown.[127][128] However, there was no clarification about the film promotion or first look which prompted fans of Ajith Kumar to trend the hashtag #Valimaiupdate on Twitter. Furthermore, the producer had confirmed that the first look will release only after the film's shooting being wrapped.[129] Although few members of the production team claimed that the first look will release on the end of February 2021,[130] some of the fans had prompted for the film's update at sporting[131][132] and political events and other public venues,[133] which left Ajith Kumar disappointed and asked his fans to remain patient till the team releases an update.[134] Although the film's first look was scheduled for a release on the first week of March,[135] the producer tweeted that the makers will unveil the first look on 1 May 2021, coinciding with Ajith's birthday.[136] However, a week prior to the said date, on 23 April 2021, the makers postponed the release of the film's first look due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in India.[137]

While the makers planning to launch the first look with release date,[138] on 11 July 2021, without pre-announcement, the makers launched the first look and motion poster of the film.[139][140] Apart from receiving positive response for fans praising Ajith's look in the film,[141] the motion poster received more than 10 million views on YouTube, within 48 hours.[142] However, it also fetched criticism as cinephiles apparently noticed that similar images from the poster are widely available on the internet, alleging that the makers have lifted random images from the internet and made it into a motion poster, while also saying the motion poster did not meet its expectations.[143]

ReleaseEdit

Valimai was scheduled to release on 12 November 2020, coinciding with Diwali.[144] However, the film's shoot was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, thus resulting in the delay of its release.[145] The theatrical rights of the film were acquired by Raahul of Romeo Pictures and film financier Anbu Chezhian's Gopuram Cinemas.[146] It was initially scheduled to be released on 4 November 2021, coinciding with Diwali.[147] However, the producer Boney Kapoor, tweeted that the film will be postponed to Pongal (14 January 2022),[148][149] thereby clashing with other big-budget films including S. S. Rajamouli's RRR and the Prabhas-starrer Radhe Shyam.[150][151]

ImpactEdit

The impact of this film even before the release, has been noted by several cinephiles, with the hashtag #ValimaiUpdate becoming a trending topic on Twitter.[152] Producer Boney Kapoor too admitted the immense fan following of the actor in regard to this. Speaking in an interview with The Hindu, Kapoor clarified that "Fans are well within their rights to ask for updates, because they love Ajith a lot. However, I did not want to mislead them. I wanted to give out material only when there was something concrete at hand."[152] This trend, influenced celebrities from the film fraternity,[153] sportspersons,[154][155] politicians and media outlets too popularizing the film.[153][156] Ravichandran Ashwin shared the same in an online interaction, when he experienced a fan asking Moeen Ali and him,[157] for an update regarding the film during the first test match, between India and England in Chennai.[158][159] Politician Vanathi Srinivasan too said that "after her win in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly election, the fans might get the update about the film".[160] #ValimaiUpdate campaign also influenced the elections, with Election Commission's Tamil Nadu wing advertising the title on the neccesity to urge every individual to vote.[161] Valimai topped the most tweeted hashtags of 2021, in the past six months, according to a survey report by Twitter.[162]

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