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Vikram Vedha is a 2017 Indian Tamil-language neo-noir action crime thriller film written and directed by Pushkar and Gayathri and produced by Y NOT Studios. The film features R. Madhavan and Vijay Sethupathi in the title roles of an earnest police officer and a notorious don from North Chennai respectively. The cast also includes Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Shraddha Srinath and Kathir in significant roles. Based on the Indian meta-folktale Baital Pachisi (Vedhala Kadhai in Tamil), the film tells the story of a tough police officer who sets out to track down and kill an equally tough gangster.

Vikram Vedha
Vikram Vedha poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed by Pushkar and Gayathri
Produced by S. Sashikanth
Written by Pushkar and Gayathri
Starring R. Madhavan
Vijay Sethupathi
Varalaxmi Sarathkumar
Shraddha Srinath
Kathir
Music by Sam C. S.
Cinematography P. S. Vinod
Edited by Richard Kevin
Production
company
Distributed by Trident Arts
Release date
  • July 21, 2017 (2017-07-21)[1]
Country India
Language Tamil
Budget 11 crore[2]
Box office est.110 crore[3]

In January 2015, producer S. Sashikanth of Y NOT Studios revealed that directors Pushkar and Gayathri would be making a comeback as directors with a film starring Vijay Sethupathi, having previously made Oram Po (2007) and Va (2010). Following a year of scripting throughout 2015, the team signed Madhavan to play another lead role in February 2016 and pre-production works began thereafter. Production started in November the same year and was completed by February 2017. The film was shot mainly in North Chennai, with the area being used as the film's backdrop. The film had cinematography by P. S. Vinod and editing by Richard Kevin while the soundtrack was scored by Sam C. S.

Vikram Vedha was released following brief delays on 21 July 2017 and received positive reviews from critics, with praise directed towards the film's script and the performances of the lead actors Madhavan and Vijay Sethupathi. Made at an estimated cost of ₹110 million (US$1,725,000), the film performed well at the box office and became the second highest-grossing Tamil film of the year upon release. The film's success resurrected the Tamil film industry, which was experiencing difficulties after a series of box office failures and the changes resulting from the Goods and Services Tax.[4]

Contents

PlotEdit

The story begins with an animated interpretation based on the classical Indian mythology of King Vikramadithyan and Vedhalam. The influences from this traditional mythology correlates with the story of a police inspector, Vikram (R. Madhavan), (who is brave, honest and draconian about right and wrong) and a dreaded crime lord, Vedha (Vijay Sethupathi), (who is wise and seems to understand the grey shades between good and bad) in the present era. Vikram and his colleague Simon (Prem) are part of an 'encounter' unit led by the latter, formed to eliminate the dreaded crime lord, Vedha (Vijay Sethupathi). On one such encounter, the squad kills a few gangsters, framing the death of an unarmed criminal to avoid further inquiry. When a new recruit, Santhanam (Manikandan) is nervous about this, Vikram calms him by saying that he sleeps peacefully at night despite the encounters because he knows that the men he shoots are criminals, and not innocent. The unit makes plans for another raid when, Vedha walks into the police station and surrenders.

Vedha is totally imperious to intimidation and does not acknowledge the police officers until Vikram walks into the interrogation room. Vedha cheekily offers to tell him a story but Vikram, who believes that all evil must be severely punished, shows no interest. Vedha asks Vikram to only listen and then adjudge what is evil and what is not.

Vedha's first story is about how he, a henchman in a cocaine smuggling gang, endeared himself to the boss, Cheta (Hareesh Peradi), and eventually rose to become a gangster and smuggler himself. Vedha actively dissuades his intelligent brother, Pulli, to stay away from crime. However, he is forced by a rival gangster, Ravi (Vivek Prasanna) to carry drugs. When Pulli is caught by the police; he confesses and Ravi is arrested. Under his boss's orders, Ravi assaults Pulli, which leaves a permanent mark in his hand. Vedha asks Vikram if Vedha should kill Ravi who committed the act or his boss who gave the order. Vikram replies that Ravi was merely an instrument; the boss was the real culprit. Vedha replies that he did kill the boss. At this point Vedha's lawyer intervenes and Vedha is bailed out. Vikram is stunned to find out that Vedha is represented by his wife, Priya (Shraddha Srinath).

Vikram realises that unarmed person shot in the last encounter was Pulli, based on a scar in his hand. Vikram assumes Vedha might try to kill Simon, as Simon is instigator of the encounter. Vikram rushes to save Simon only to find him shot and killed by Chandra (Varalaxmi Sarathkumar), Pulli's girlfriend, who has also been killed. The Superintendent of Police (Achyuth Kumar), head of the encounter unit, puts it down as a botched encounter and closes the case. Priya refuses to divulge Vedha's whereabouts to Vikram, which tests their marriage. Shocked and angry, Vikram raids Vedha's tenements, captures him and brings him into the woods to shoot him, when Vedha pleads with Vikram to listen to another story, as his last wish, which may reveal something about Simon's death.

The second story starts with Pulli, now grown up, offering to launder Vedha's ill-gotten income by investing it in shares. Vedha's boss, Cheta invests five million rupees into this venture. One day Chandra is supposedly kidnapped and the money is missing. Chandra later returns and reveals that she had stolen the money to start a new life, away from the tenements and crime, but her love for Pulli brought her back to him. Vedha returns the money to Cheta, but is ordered to kill Chandra for betraying Cheta in the first place. Vedha now asks Vikram if he should respect his boss and carry out the order or if he should follow his heart and disobey Cheta, an action that would escalate into an all-out gang war. Vikram replies that he should support Pulli as he is innocent and oppose Cheta, to which Vedha agrees. Vikram stumbles for a moment when he realizes that Pulli was innocent. In that moment, Vedha attacks Vikram and flees, after telling him to investigate Simon's and Pulli's deaths.

A troubled Vikram starts investigating Pulli's death. He recalls that Vedha opposed Cheta and managed to get Pulli and Chandra out of the city, and wonders why Pulli was present at the site of the encounter. He also notices that Chandra was tortured prior to her death. Vikram finally discovers that Ravi, once Vedha's underling, was behind the initial shootout which, to Ravi's advantage, would have decimated Vedha's stronghold. Vikram informs Vedha, who tracks Ravi down and brings him to an abandoned factory. Vikram arrives to find Ravi, beaten within an inch of his life. Vedha proceeds to tell Vikram the third and final story.

Vedha had sent Pulli and Chandra to Mumbai away from Cheta. Vedha begins to notice a surprising pattern: only his men are being systematically targeted and eliminated by the police. Vedha himself narrowly manages to escape when his friend sacrifices his life for him. Based on Ravi's confession, Vedha narrates that Simon was paid by Ravi to gun down his men. Vedha asks Vikram if Simon was in the right; since he became corrupt to get the money to pay for an expensive medical procedure for his young son, and Vedha's men were gangsters who deserved to die anyway. Vedha then kills Ravi and escapes before Vikram can answer.

The encounter unit arrives and castigates Vikram for letting Vedha escape again. Vikram slowly pieces everything together. The entire unit had come into sudden money which could only be traced back to Ravi. The SP reveals that Ravi had paid them to kill Vedha and Chandra's abduction was intended to get Pulli from Mumbai, which would then lure Vedha out of hiding. The guilt-ridden Simon had arrived early that night to save Chandra, not to kill her, but they were both killed, and their deaths covered up. At this point when the unit prepares to kill Vikram, Vedha appears again and saves him. A gunfight ensues, where Vikram shoots and disables his colleagues, who were mere instruments but kills the SP, the instigator. Vedha, who had acquired a firearm turns on Vikram to find Vikram has a gun on him. Vikram asks Vedha if he should let Vedha go for saving his life or kill him since he is a criminal. The film ends with the standoff between the two men.

CastEdit

ProductionEdit

The project was first revealed to the media by S. Sashikanth, the owner of production house Y NOT Studios, in an interview to The Hindu during January 2015, when he confirmed that he would produce the film to be directed by husband and wife duo Pushkar and Gayathri. Telling the tale of an encounter cop and his pursuit of a gangster, he revealed that Vijay Sethupathi had agreed to feature as the gangster in the project.[5][6] The directors revealed that the story for the film was inspired by the Indian meta-folktale Baital Pachisi (Vedhala Kadhai in Tamil), with the characterisation of King Vikramadithyan and the celestial spirit Vedhalam derived from that plot. The title of the film was also derived from the two key characters from the folktale.[7][8][9] Pushkar and Gayathri continued to develop the script throughout 2015, while working on the post-production works of Sudha Kongara's Irudhi Suttru (2016), where they networked with actor Madhavan. In February 2016, Madhavan confirmed that he was working on the film and had begun research to portray an encounter specialist. He revealed that he would undergo arms training and meet people involved with the police and defence forces, before the shoot of the film started.[10][11]

Rookie actor Kathir was selected to play a third leading role of Vijay Sethupathi's brother, while Malayalam actor Hareesh Peradi also joined the team.[12] Meanwhile, actresses Shraddha Srinath and Varalaxmi Sarathkumar were signed to play the leading female roles in the film.[13][14] John Vijay was also signed to portray a role during late 2016, and revealed he would portray a gangster who will be seen in three different time stages throughout the film.[15][16] However he was later replaced by Vivek Prasanna in the role, as he became busy with his commitments for the Malayalam film Comrade in America (2017).[17] Sam C. S. was signed on as music composer, while Richard Kevin and P. S. Vinod were announced as editor and cinematographer, respectively. For their respective roles in the film, Madhavan and Vijay Sethupathi sported new looks. Madhavan prepared to sport a trimmed beard with facial hair reaching his cheekbones, while Vijay Sethupathi prepared himself to portray an aged gangster with greying hair.[18][19]

The shoot subsequently began on 15 November 2016 in Kasimedu, North Chennai with scenes featuring Vijay Sethupathi, Kathir and Varalaxmi shot first for a period of five days.[20] After a brief schedule break, the shoot resumed in late November 2016 with Madhavan joining the team to film scenes alongside Vijay Sethupathi. Production continued throughout December 2016, with Vijay Sethupathi finishing his work on the film in early January 2017.[21][22] The shoot resumed and was completed in February 2017 with more scenes shot depicting Madhavan as a police officer with Shraddha Srinath joining the team. A first-look poster and a teaser were also released during the same month, drawing praise from media outlets.[23][24] Post-production and dubbing work on the film began in March 2017.[25][26] A theatrical trailer for the film was released by actors Shahrukh Khan and Sivakarthikeyan on 22 June 2017.[27][28]

MusicEdit

Vikram Vedha
Soundtrack album by Sam C. S.
Released 16 June 2017
Genre Feature film soundtrack
Length 28:05
Language Tamil
Label Think Music
Producer Sam C. S.
Sam C. S. chronology
Kadikara Manithargal
(2016)Kadikara Manithargal2016
Vikram Vedha
(2017)

The original songs and background score were composed by Sam C. S. Sam had previously worked for Pushkar and Gayathri in commercials and they consequently chose to recruit him to work on Vikram Vedha after they were impressed with his work in the 2015 album Mellisai.[29] The directors had initially opted against including songs in the film, but felt that lyrics may work better than solely music, so changed their decision. For his work in the film, Sam composed the background music for the script first rather than after watching the edited version of the film.[30][31] Subsequently, he had composed 80 per cent of the music of Vikram Vedha before the team went to shoot, and Pushkar and Gayatri shot the scenes to this score. After the shoot of the film, he later accordingly fine-tuned the score to achieve better results.[30][32]

The soundtrack has four original songs and six instrumental tracks that form the score of the film. Prior to the release of the album, the track "Tasakku Tasakku" was released as a single on 5 June 2017, while a second single "Yaanji" was released a week later. The album was digitally released on 16 June 2017 to positive reviews from critics. A reviewer from The Times of India gave the album a positive review citing "though Sam has proven his mettle with his earlier albums, the composer hits the high-note with this one", adding "with the number of instrumental songs in the album, the film's narrative is sure to up the experience through music".[33] Likewise, Behindwoods.com's reviewer wrote it was "an innovative, genre specific album that has the depth and soul from composer Sam C. S."[34]

Original tracklist

No. Title Lyrics Singer(s) Length
1. "Karuppu Vellai" Vignesh Shivan Sivam, Sam C. S. 03:15
2. "Yaanji" Mohanraj Anirudh Ravichander, Shakthisree Gopalan, Sathyaprakash 04:30
3. "Tasakku Tasakku" Muthamil Mugesh, M. L. R. Karthikeyan, Guna 04:00
4. "Yethu Dharmam" Chennai Orchestra 01:36
5. "Pogatha Yennavittu" Sam C. S. Pradeep Kumar, Neha Venugopal 04:41
6. "Ghetto Chase" Meghavarshini, Avantika, Monisha, Chennai Orchestra 03:04
7. "Idhu Emosion" Chennai Orchestra 01:41
8. "Yethu Nyayam?" Sam C. S., Chennai Orchestra 02:57
9. "Sangu Sattham" Sethu Thankachan, Kannan M, Ravikumar, Chennai Orchestra 00:57
10. "Oru Katha Sollatta?" Sam C. S., Sethu Thankachan, Kannan M, Ravikumar, Chennai Orchestra 01:24
Total length: 28:05

Original Background Score

No. Title Length
1. "Vedha's Swag"  
2. "Vikram's Angst"  
3. "The Pursuit"  
4. "The Sorrow of Simon"  
5. "Vikram vs Vedha"  
6. "Bygones"  
7. "Vikram Deciphers"  
8. "The Divide"  
9. "Vedha's Angst"  
10. "Vikram + Vedha"  
11. "Yethu Dharmam"  
12. "Ghetto Chase"  
13. "Idhu Emosion"  
14. "Yethu Nyayam"  
15. "Sangu Sattham"  
16. "Oru Katha Sollatta"  

ReleaseEdit

Vikram Vedha was initially given an "A" certificate by the Central Board of Film Certification, but the producers then successfully approached the revising committee to get a "U/A" certificate to appeal to family audiences and for television channels to show interest in procuring the film's satellite rights. The move delayed the film, as did the theatre owners' strike of July 2017 across Tamil Nadu, prompting the scheduled release date to shift from 7 July 2017 to a later date. The producers also further delayed the film to allow the makers of Vanamagan (2017) and Ivan Thanthiran (2017) to recoup from losses suffered during the strike. [35][36][4] Vikram Vedha was subsequently released worldwide on 21 July 2017.

Critical receptionEdit

Vikram Vedha opened to positive reviews from critics and audiences, with several Tamil film industry personalities also showing appreciation for the film.[37][38] Manoj Kumar of The Indian Express labelled it as "by far the best film to release in Tamil this year so far" adding readers "not to miss the film".[39] The Hindustan Times's Karthik Kumar called it "a film to remember", "a must watch" and "path-breaking", while adding "not only is the film entertaining from start to finish, it’s equally engaging and it succeeds in piquing the intellect of audiences like no recent Tamil film".[40] Likewise India Today's Srivatsan wrote Vikram Vedha is a "smartly-written thriller, which has a texture, well-developed character arcs and filmmaking gimmickry" and the Deccan Chronicle stated it was "a nuanced and well-rounded film in the deadly combo of Madhavan and Sethupathi and a definite highlight of 2017".[41][42] Sify.com's reviewer stated it was a "a brilliantly written intense crime drama", with the "icing on the cake being the brilliant actors, a terrific storyline and ingenious characterization", concluding it was a "must watch".[43] Furthermore, Vishal Menon of The Hindu wrote the film was "a terrific exploration of good, evil and everything in between", while Suganth of The Times of India stated "generally, the term well-crafted film is used to describe a film that has been made well, but with Vikram Vedha, it applies to not just the filmmaking, but the script, too".[44] Tamil film actors including Rajinikanth, Suriya and Siddharth also praised the film.[45][38]

Box officeEdit

The film became a commercial success at the box office, becoming the second biggest grossing Tamil film of the year after Baahubali 2 (2017) at the time of its release.[46] Made at a budget of 11 crore rupees, the film grossed ten crores in Tamil Nadu alone within the first weekend, earning seventeen crores worldwide.[47] Within a week of its release, the film had grossed over forty crores worldwide.[48][49] Vikram Vedha continued to perform well in its second week, outperforming new releases at the Chennai box office.[50] The film ran for over fifty days in Chennai.[51] It also went on to become the most profitable Tamil film in their careers for directors Pushkar and Gayathri, producer Sashikanth and actors Madhavan and Vijay Sethupathi.[52] The film also performed well in the USA, becoming the highest grossing Tamil film of the year by earning over $360,000 by the end of the first week.[53][54]

LegacyEdit

Following the release of the film, Pushkar and Gayathri revealed there had been demand from the public for a sequel. They added that a second part to the film could materialise if the lead actors accepted to be a part of the film.[55] Before the release of the film, Madhavan also expressed an interest in remaking the film in Hindi with adaptations made to the film's setting.[56][57]

ReferencesEdit

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  2. ^ http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/madhavan-opens-vikram-vedha-s-success-66407
  3. ^ http://indianexpress.com/article/entertainment/tamil/r-madhavan-is-celebrating-success-of-vikram-vedha-says-everything-happens-for-the-best-4784717/
  4. ^ a b "Vikram Vedha: Why Kollywood should be grateful to Madhavan and Vijay Sethupathi : Regional cinema, News - India Today". Indiatoday.intoday.in. 2017-07-25. Retrieved 2017-09-11. 
  5. ^ "Tamil cinema goes national". The Hindu. 2015-01-10. Retrieved 2017-09-11. 
  6. ^ "From Indian pizzas in San Francisco to bhangra competitions in Boston". Thereel.scroll.in. 2017-06-22. Retrieved 2017-09-11. 
  7. ^ Karthik Kumar (2016-02-15). "After Boxing Coach, Madhavan to Play an Encounter Specialist". The Quint. Retrieved 2016-11-21. 
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  9. ^ Sruthi Ganapathy Raman. "Interview: Director Gayathri Pushkar about her upcoming film 'Vikram Vedha' starring Madhavan". :. Retrieved 2017-09-11. 
  10. ^ "Madhavan: I know 23-year-old girls lust after me". Mid-day.com. Retrieved 2016-11-21. 
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  13. ^ "Shraddha Srinath on Vikram Vedha: I was charmed by Madhavan's persona". Indiatoday.intoday.in. 2016-11-16. Retrieved 2016-11-21. 
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  16. ^ Share on FacebookShare on Twitter. "vikram-vedha: John Vijay to sport three looks in Vikram-Vedha - Times of India". Timesofindia.indiatimes.com. Retrieved 2017-09-11. 
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External linksEdit