Vedalam

Vedalam (transl. Phantom / Genie) is a 2015 Indian Tamil-language action film written and directed by Siva, and produced by A. M. Rathnam, under his then-newly established production house, Shri Sai Raam Cinemas. The film features Ajith Kumar and Lakshmi Menon in the lead roles, with also featuring an ensemble cast of Rahul Dev, Kabir Duhan Singh, Shruti Hassan and Soori in supporting roles. Set in the backdrop of Kolkata, the film focuses on a former gangster and mercenary named Ganesh aka Vedhalam (Ajith), who reforms to protect his adoptive sister Thamizh (Menon) from a ruthless international criminal syndicate.

Vedalam
Vedhalam.jpg
Release poster
Directed bySiva
Written bySiva (Dialogues)
Screenplay bySiva
Story bySiva
Aadhi Narayana
Produced byA. M. Rathnam (Presenter)
S. Aishwarya
Starring
CinematographyVetri
Edited byRuben
Music byAnirudh Ravichander
Production
company
Sri Sai Raam Creations
Distributed bySri Sai Raam Creations
Release date
  • 10 November 2015 (2015-11-10) (India)
[1]
Running time
154 minutes[2]
CountryIndia
LanguageTamil
Box office120 crore[3]

The project was announced in mid-2014, shortly after their success of Ajith and Siva's previous collaboration Veeram, whereas in October 2014, A. M. Rathnam was announced to venture the production. The team underwent through significant changes in the film's casting and crew, with the completion of Ajith's another film Yennai Arindhaal by Gautham Menon, which further delayed the film's production.[4] The principal photography of the film began on 9 April 2015, with filming took place in major portions across Kolkata, and also in Chennai and Milan, Italy and completed within that October. The film began production under the working title Thala 56, before the title Vedalam was announced officially on September 2015.[5]

The film features music composed by Anirudh Ravichander. The cinematography was handled by Vetri and editing was handled by Ruben. Vedalam was released worldwide on 10 November 2015, coinciding with the festival of Diwali, to lukewarm reviews.[6] The film collected more than 125 crore (US$18 million), at the box office upon its release, becoming a profitable venture for the traders and exhibitors.[a] It was remade in Bengali as Sultan: The Saviour (2018).

PlotEdit

A squad of soldiers with their leader infiltrate the private jet of Rahul, the leader of international French Indo-Cartel criminal syndicate. Suddenly all the guns of the other soldiers point towards their leaders head. They reveal that Rahul's two younger brothers Abhinay and Aniket have kidnapped the families of all the other soldiers hostage earlier, leading to them betraying their leader and killing him on the spot. Before he's killed, the leader declares that a good man will rise and take Rahul down, to which he responds that only someone as bad as him will stand a chance.

Elsewhere Ganesh has recently moved into the city of Kolkata with his sister Thamizh to enroll her in an art college. Ganesh is kind and soft-hearted, and his kindness proved effective to immediately reforming rowdy Kolkata Kaali. He escorts Ganesh and Tamizh to their new house where they acquaint with neighbors.

After enrolling Thamizh, Ganesh seeks work at a taxi company under his boss Laxmidas. He accidentally gets his first customer: the phony lawyer Swetha. Subsequent events, where Swetha poses Ganesh as a fake mute eyewitness to a case leads to her firing when Ganesh messes up by talking in front of everyone. Swetha teams up with Laxmidas after he too is embarrassed by Ganesh. However, Swetha falls for Ganesh. Meanwhile, Ganesh fixes Tamizh's marriage with Arjun who came as his customer, and was attracted to Tamizh.

Ganesh and all the other taxi and auto-rickshaw drivers are called in by the police commissioner Yashpal and asked to report any activities by the syndicate members who have been causing trouble in the city. Ganesh reports a case of arms smuggling which leads to Aniket and his men capturing him. Aniket orders his men to kill Ganesh brutally but Ganesh surprisingly escapes. Eventually,Ganesh brutally kills all of the gang members and stabs Aniket multiple times.

Abhinay reaches India and investigates the murder the next day and works on tracking the culprit down. Abhinay and his technical team track Ganesh's mobile signal to their own tower. However Ganesh overtakes their effort and brutally ambushes his entire squad and kills Abhinay. Swetha follows him and is horrified by his actions and wishes to stop the marriage between Arjun and Thamizh, but Ganesh reveals that Thamizh is not actually his sister.

A year ago, Vedhalam (Ganesh) was a terrifying rowdy and mercenary who was arrested but freed from custody in return for saving the police from a rival gang in exchange for money. Ganesh is stabbed by opponents but is saved by Thamizh, who admits him into the hospital, lying that she's his sister to get him through.

Thamizh and her blind parents are threatened to sell their house for a company site, so she and her friend Ester hire Ganesh. Ganesh betrays them for being paid earlier, and the family leaves the house and started living in Ganesh's house. But they leave his house in return to Ganesh who saved Thamizh and 99 other girls from being trafficked by the syndicate. The syndicate's brothers find them vulnerable on the streets and kill Thamizh's parents and injure her. Ganesh rescues her, in which he demonstrates empathy for the first time. Thamizh gets loses her memory, so Ganesh states that he's her brother and takes care of her.

Swetha chooses to accept Thamizh's marriage. Shortly after, Rahul uses an injured victim of Ganesh's assault to find his brother's killer. He coincidentally hires Thamizh to draw a forensic sketch. Ganesh comes prepared and takes one of Rahul's henchman's son hostage to ensure Thamizh's freedom. Rahul later abducts Thamizh and Ganesh goes after him. Without revealing his violent side, Ganesh guns Rahul down and rescues Thamizh. The movie ends with Thamizh's marriage.

CastEdit

  • Ajith Kumar as Ganesh a.k.a. "Vedalam", a local gangster who pesters the citizens in the Chennai vicinity and extorts money from them
  • Lakshmi Menon as Thamizharasi "Thamizh", Vedalam / Ganesh's adopted sister
  • Shruti Haasan as Shweta, a phony lawyer who later fell in love with Vedalam
  • Ashwin Kakumanu as Arjun, Shweta's brother and Thamizh's husband
  • Rahul Dev as Rahul, the leader of international women trafficking, the main antagonist
  • Kabir Duhan Singh as Abhinay, Rahul's 1st younger brother who killed Thamizh's parents.
  • Aniket Chouhan as Aniket, Rahul's 2nd younger brother
  • Soori as Laxmidas, Ganesh's call taxi owner
  • Rajendran as "Kolkata" Kaali, a local gangster in kolkata who is Ganesh's friend
  • Thambi Ramaiah as (Thamizh's father and a blind man in past)
  • Mayilswamy as Ganesh's house owner in kolkata
  • Sudha as Gomathi, (Thamizh's mother and a blind woman in past)
  • Appukutty as Kuzhandai, (Vedalam's assistant in past)
  • Avinash as Rahul's assistant
  • Mansoor Ali Khan as Manimaran, (a police officer in Chennai in past)
  • Vidyullekha Raman as Esther, (Thamizh's best friend in past)
  • Raviraj as Shweta's and Arjun's father
  • Yogi Babu as Chatterjee, Kaali's assistant
  • Sriranjini as Shweta's and Arjun's mother
  • Sharmila Thapa as Lakshmi, Laxmidas's wife
  • Kovai Sarala as Maalu, Lakshmi's mom and Laxmidas's mother-in-law
  • Nagineedu as (Doctor in past)
  • Sreeja Ravi as (Nurse in past)
  • Tamil Selvi as (Receptionist in past)
  • Bala Saravanan as Balu, Swetha's junior
  • Swaminathan as Swamy, Swetha's junior
  • D. R. K. Kiran as Bombay gangster
  • Ramesh Thilak as Phony Witness
  • Amit Tiwari as Aniket's henchman
  • Rajkumar as Arjun's friend
  • Meera Krishnan as House Owner's wife
  • Jasper as (Manimaran's brother in past)
  • Kalairani as (a victim's mother in past)
  • R. N. R. Manohar as (Corrupt Police Officer in past)
  • Mukhtar Khan as Yashpal (RAW officer, who failed to arrest Rahul and his brothers in past)
  • Sukran as (Sub-Inspector in past)
  • Aryan Ashik as (Doctor in past)
  • "Nandhini" Sriganesh as (a part of the doctors team in past)
  • Mippu as (Vedalam's henchman in past)
  • Kannan Ponnaiya as (Vedalam's henchman in past)

ProductionEdit

DevelopmentEdit

Following the success of their previous collaboration Veeram (2014), Siva announced that he would direct Ajith Kumar again in May 2014, with the planned venture announced to begin after the completion of Ajith Kumar's prior commitments with his ongoing film with Gautham Menon's, Yennai Arindhaal (2015).[9][10] Siva worked on the script in Bangalore and approached leading production companies, including PVP Cinema, to produce the film, though eventually A. M. Rathnam announced that he would finance the project on October 2014.[11][12] It was announced that Ajith would romance two heroines in the film.[13] The makers announced that the film will go on production in the first week of February 2015,[14][15] however, production was briefly delayed because Ajith Kumar took a two-month break, to spend quality time with his wife Shalini, who following the completion of his other film Yennai Arindhaal, and planned to shoot the film during the offset of summer.[16] In mid-February 2015, director Siva reported to the media stating that, Ajith would sport a new look in the film.[17][18] Siva went on location scouting in March 2015, with Kolkata being served as the primary location.[19][20] The film was developed with the tentative title Thala 56, before it was confirmed that it would be titled as Vedalam in September 2015.[21]

CastingEdit

During October 2014, Hansika Motwani, Samantha Akkineni and Shruti Haasan were reported to play female leads.[22] Hansika denied reports that she had signed on to appear in the film in the same month.[23] In November 2014, it was reported that Yuvan Shankar Raja, who worked with Ajith in several projects, was speculated to compose the music for the film.[24] Later G. V. Prakash Kumar was reported to be on board.[16] However in 11 March 2015, Anirudh Ravichander, was roped in to compose the music, bagging his maiden project with Ajith Kumar and Siva,[25] and it was confirmed officially on 19 March 2015.[26] The same day, Shruti Haasan was signed in to the project.[27][28] Cinematographer Vetri, who worked previously with Siva in Veeram and editor Ruben was brought in to the project. On 1 April 2015, Kabir Duhan Singh was roped in as the antagonist.[29]

The role of Ajith's sister in the film took considerably longer to finalise, with several actresses approached to portray the character. On 6 April 2015, Bindu Madhavi was rumoured to play the second leading role, however she deined the negotations.[30] Actresses Sri Divya and Nithya Menen were under consideration to play Ajith's sister,[31] with the latter saying she was only interested in playing the lead actress opposite Ajith.[32] After further unsuccessful negotiations with Parvathy Nair,[33] actress Lakshmi Menon was signed on to play the role of Ajith's sister in the film in April 2015.[34] Santhanam, who initially signed a comic role in the film,[35] was replaced by Soori after he became busy with his own productions.[36][37] Ashwin was also added to the cast to portray a supporting role in 1 June 2015.[38]

FilmingEdit

An official launch was held on 9 April 2015, with scenes intermittently shot for the rest of the month.[39][40] The first official schedule began shooting in Navalur, Chennai with scenes featuring Ajith and Lakshmi Menon entering a college.[41] Subsequent scenes were shot around sets at Binny Mills in Chennai throughout 7 May 2015, with Kabir Duhan Singh joining the shoot, and on 18 May, a song resembling Vinayagar Chathurthi celebration, featuring Ajith, Lakshmi, Mayilswamy, and with the presence of 150 dancers, was also shot at the same location.[42][43] Sources reported that the song is similar to "Pillayarpatti Hero" from Vaanmathi (1996) and "Maha Ganapathi" from Amarkalam (1999), which garnered huge expections from fans.[44] Stills from that song featuring Ajith and Lakshmi were leaked into the internet.[43]

The team then moved to Kolkata and scenes were shot featuring Shruti Haasan as a lawyer and Ajith as a taxi driver,[45] with images from the shoot being leaked on social networking sites.[46] The makers announced that the producers went on location scouting at Dubai with 30% of the shoot being completed.[47] However, the government had refused permission to shoot in Dubai, citing the month long Ramzan celebrations from mid-June 2015.[48] The unit then moved to shoot few scenes and a song sequence in Milan, Italy featuring Ajith and Shruti Haasan.[49][50] After the schedule completed, the team moved to Kolkata on July 2015.[51]

The unit then returned to Chennai in August 2015 to film the final schedule in Chennai, and actor Rahul Dev joined the team for the shoot.[52][53] Scenes were shot at the Ramee Mall and a special set erected at AVM Studios in Vadapalani, Guindy Race Course and also at the Fortis Malar Hospital, featuring Ajith and Haasan.[54] The team also filmed night shots and few climax scenes.[55] A final schedule was held on 12 September 2015,[56] at Mohan Studios in Chennai, with Ajith Kumar with cropped hair, resembling his look from his earlier film, Red (2002).[57][58] The team finished production in mid-October 2015 after completing patch-up work on a song. Ajith was injured during the final day of the shoot, causing a minor delay.[59] Despite his injury, Ajith began dubbing for the film immediately, in order to ensure that it would release to coincide with the festival of Diwali in November 2015.[60]

SoundtrackEdit

Vedalam
Soundtrack album by
Released21 October 2015 (2015-10-21)
Recorded2015
StudioAlbuquerque Records, Chennai
GenreFeature film soundtrack
Length18:33
LanguageTamil
LabelSony Music
ProducerAnirudh Ravichander
Anirudh Ravichander chronology
Naanum Rowdydhaan
(2015)
Vedalam
(2015)
Thanga Magan
(2015)

The film's soundtrack was composed by Anirudh Ravichander, collaborating with Ajith Kumar and Siva for the first time. The album featured four songs written by Madhan Karky, Rokesh, Viveka and Siva, and a theme track, although media falsely reported the film has five songs.[61] On 1 May 2015, coincidng with Ajith's birthday, Anirudh reported to social media, that the introduction song and theme music for the film has been completed.[62] "Veera Vinayaka", the introductory number is based on the Vinayagar Chathurthi celebrations, similar to "Maha Ganapathi" from Amarkalam (1999) and "Pillayarpatti Hero" from Vaanmathi (1996).[16] The theme track of the film is rumoured to be titled "Verithanam" which was proved untrue.[63]

The album featured songs recorded by Shruti Haasan, and Punjabi-rapper Badshah, in his first Tamil song.[64] The audio rights were purchased by Sony Music.[65] The film's incomplete track list featuring the song titles, was released through Anirudh's Twitter handle on 12 October 2015,[66] and the official track list was unveiled shortly after two days.[67][68] It was reported that the soundtrack album will be released during the composer's birthday on 16 October 2015.[69][70] But the album was eventually released on 21 October 2015, coinciding with Dusshera.[71][72]

Reviewing for The Times of India, Sharanya CR wrote "After giving a hit album like Naanum Rowdy Dhaan, Anirudh effortlessly changes his game in this mass album."[73] Behindwoods gave the album, a rating of 2.75 out of 5 saying "Anirudh serves it hot for Ajith fans!"[74] Milliblog reviewed it as a "punchy" and "likeable commercial soundtrack."[75] Indiaglitz gave a rating of 3 out of 5 and stated the album as "Modern", "youthful" and "energetic".[76] In contrast, Bollywoodlife.com gave 2.5 out of 5 stars and stated the album as "okayish",[77] while India.com rated the same and opined that "the album is a let down and the four songs and the theme fail to meet expectations."[78]

Track listing
No.TitleWriter(s)Singer(s)Length
1."Veera Vinayaka"VivekaAnirudh Ravichander, Vishal Dadlani4:23
2."Don't You Mess With Me"Madhan KarkyShruti Haasan, Shakthisree Gopalan4:58
3."Uyir Nadhi Kalangudhey"VivekaRavi Shankar3:05
4."The Theri Theme"SivaAnirudh Ravichander1:52
5."Aaluma Doluma"RokeshAnirudh Ravichander, Badshah4:20

ReleaseEdit

In May 2015, producer A. M. Rathnam confirmed that the film will be released on Diwali day, 10 November 2015.[79] The film's title was expected to be announced on Independence Day, 15 August 2015.[80] Later, the film's title and first look poster were reported to be revealed in 17 September 2015, on Ganesh Chaturthi, which did not happen.[81] On 23 September 2015, Ajith's manager Suresh Chandraa officially confirmed via Twitter that the title and the first look would release on midnight, which confirmed the title Vedalam.[82] The film's first look poster also unveiled on the same day.[83][84]

The film received a U certificate from the Central Board of Film Certification with a runtime of 157 minutes,[85] and also became eligible for entertainment tax exemption.[86] Prior to the official release, the introductory scenes and songs were leaked onto the internet.[87] The film opened in 62 screens in the UK, being the widest release in the country[88] and 80 screens in the USA, on 9 November 2015, a day before release in India.[89] The film released on 10 November 2015, clashing with Kamal Haasan-starrer Thoongavanam (2015)[90] and also simultaneosuly dubbed and released into Telugu as Aavesham.[91]

DistributionEdit

The film was sold in all territories of areas, through India and abroad, on September 2015.[92] In India, Jazz Cinemas and Sushma Cine Arts acquired the Tamil Nadu theatrical rights.[92] The Karnataka rights of the film was bought by Gokulraj of Sri Gokul Films. K.G. Nair of Shenoy films has bought the distriubtion rights of Kerala.[92] For the overseas, MM Media acquired the distribution rights of Vedalam in USA.[93] Ayngaran International has bought the distriubtion rights in UK & France.[93] Vedalam's Tamil Nadu rights were sold to Jazz Cinemas for 33 crore (US$4.6 million).[94]

MarketingEdit

The official teaser of the film was speculated to be released on 1 October 2015. However, the teaser was released on the midnight of 7 October 2015.[95] It became the fastest teaser to cross 50,000 likes within hours of its release on 7 October.[96][97] The makers planned to release the trailer of the film, on 22 October 2015, coinciding with Dusshera,[98][99] however there was no trailer release, instead audio teasers of the songs "Aaluma Doluma" and "Veera Vinayaka" were released on 25 and 30 October respectively.[100][101]

Home mediaEdit

The satellite rights of the film were sold to Jaya TV.[102] The film's television premiere took place on 5 September 2016, coinciding with Ganesh Chathurthi.[103]

ReceptionEdit

Critical receptionEdit

M. Suganth of The Times of India rated the film 3 out of 5 and called it "A packaged mass entertainer for Ajith fans and family audiences".[104] Sify gave a rating of 3 out of 5 and stated, "Vedhalam is Ajith's one man show and it might enthrall his ardent fans for others, it's a formulaic film with few enjoyable moments."[105] Indiaglitz rated the film 3 out of 5, calling it an "enjoyable mass entertainer."[106] Avinash Gopinath of Filmibeat gave the film 3.5 out of 5 stars and concluded, "Though this movie suffers from logical loopholes and melodramatic sequences, it gets saved by Ajith and director Siva's propaganda that puts human values before money, which makes Vedalam watchable."[107] Behindwoods rated the film 2.5 out of 5, stating, "Vedalam – Sparks do fly but not frequently enough."[108] Gauthaman Bhaskaran of the Hindustan Times gave 1.5 out of 5 stars and stated "Vedalam is but an Ajith Kumar show (all the way where Menon and Haasan are wasted). The man arrives with a big bang and never tires of bashing up baddies -- but now and then taking a break to cleanse society of minor evils like fooling law courts or cheating on wives. Certainly not for children, who might wonder how Phantom sprung out of their favourite comic books in such a horrifically mutated form."[109] India Today, gave the film a rating of 2.5 out of 5 stars and stated "Siruthai Siva has worked the 'mass' image of Ajith in Vedalam and the family sentiments to his advantage. In the process, he has not cared much about logic, which goes right out of the window."[110] News18 gave the film 2 out of 5 and stated "'Vedalam' is another star vehicle that rides with expectations and mutilations."[111] Sudhir Srinivasan of The Hindu reviewed as "Vedalam needed more inventive storytelling, and seems too forced, too easy, too mawkish."[112] Anupama Subramanian of Deccan Chronicle gave the film 2 out of 5 stars and stated "This Ajith starrer largely depends on the mass appeal and star power of the actor with a script sans solid content and logic and just tailor-made by for him. Though the story travels in predictable lines, it has high-octane stunt sequences, bro-sis sentiment, and loads of punch lines, hit songs to satisfy the mass audiences."[113] Daily News and Analysis gave a review stating "Director Siruthai Siva has ensured that there is plenty for Ajith fans and the family audience. Ajith has punch dialogues, high octane action sequences and all the right dance moves. He plays the good and the bad with ease and is a treat to watch on screen. The sister sentiment (the story revolves around Tamizh) and the fact that men need to respect women is a major highlight in the film. The storyline may not be new for Tamil cinema, but the director has tailor-made it for Ajith and the mass audience."[114]

Box officeEdit

Vedalam opened to 95% occupancy, on Diwali day, despite clashing with Thoongavanam (2015).[115] The film which opened across 750 screens worldwide, with 500 screens belongs to Tamil Nadu, set a highest opening of 15.3 crore (US$2.1 million).[116] On the second day, the film had collected 12 crore (US$1.7 million), despite a significant drop.[117] The film had collected more than 50 crore worldwide, within 6 days of release.[118] Within 11 days of its release, the film had collected 100 crore worldwide.[119] On 23 November 2015, trade analyst Ramesh Bala stated that, the film had earned a major revenue of 60% from Tamil Nadu, with 12% from Karnataka, Kerala and rest of India, 10% from Malaysia, and 18% from rest of the overseas.[120] At the Chennai box office, the film's performance had been affected due to the 2015 South Indian Floods,[121] failing to cross the 7-crore mark.[122] Despite, the film had collected 110 crore (US$15 million), becoming a profitable venture for the traders and exhibitors.[123]

According to International Business Times, the film had collected 125.7 crore (US$18 million) worldwide, as of February 2016.[124] The film collected more than 76.9 crore (US$11 million) in Tamil Nadu, 5.45 crore (US$760,000) in Kerala, 9.10 crore (US$1.3 million) in Karnataka and 2.25 crore (US$320,000) from the rest of India. The film had collected 93.70 crore (US$13 million), with a net business of 89.40 crore (US$13 million). In overseas, the film has minted around 32 crore (US$4.5 million).[125]

RemakesEdit

Shortly after the film success, A. M. Rathnam wanted to remake the film, in Kannada as well as Telugu,[126] with Puneeth Rajkumar and Darshan reprising Ajith's role in the former, directed by Nanda Kishore,[127][128] while the latter has Pawan Kalyan playing the lead role.[129] Though the Kannada version failed to materialise as per reports, the Telugu version had Chiranjeevi playing the lead, replacing Pawan Kalyan, and was reported to be directed by Meher Ramesh.[130] In 2018, Raja Chanda remade the film in Bengali as Sultan: The Saviour, with Jeet playing the lead role.[131] In September 2019, T-Series acquired the Hindi remake rights of Vedalam, and announced the film will feature John Abraham in the lead role, directed by Rohit Dhawan.[132]

In popular cultureEdit

Ajith's transformation and the following fight scene from this film has been parodied in Thamizh Padam 2.[133]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ According to International Business Times, the film collected more than ₹125.7 crore upon release,[7] however the film had reported to collect more than ₹110 crore from official sources.[8]

ReferencesEdit

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