One elder brother with four younger brothers. This movie had all ingredients to become a sentimental melodrama or a violent bloodshed. But Siva chose it to be an action entertainer with a love story.
Veeram has an antique story for Tamil cinema (literally). Vinayagam (Ajith) is the elder brother who sacrificed his life to raise his 4 brothers (Vidharth,Bala, Munish and Suhail) and all of them run a rice mandi at Ottanchathiram market. They also act as the guardians of the town. Bail Perumal (Santhanam) is their lawyer and like a part of their family. Vinayagam doesn't want to marry as he thinks a woman would split his brothers from him. But all his brothers are in love with someone and they hide it from their brother. They believe that only way to get married is to make their brother fall in love. They seek the help of Santhanam and Ramesh Kanna. They try to match up Tamanna (Kopperundevi) as she has the same name as Vinayagam's childhood crush. They eventually succeed by painting him as a peaceful man as Kopperundevi is dead against violence. When they both go on a trip to her hometown to meet her parents, Vinayagam mauls some paid killers who attack them and She gets wounded during the process. The rest of the story deals with how Vinayagam brothers go to her home town, convince her and her family and also find the truth about people who attacked them on the train.
Siva knows this is an age old story and doesn't have any qualms about it. He has just concentrated on the package he is going to deliver. More than as a director, he has seen Ajith from a fan's eyes. That has immensely helped in the final output of the film. A watertight screenplay that doesn't allow you to think any moment coupled with right dosage of sentimental sequences, comedy and well choreographed stunts makes the movie a perfect fan treat.
It is indeed tough to transform in to a rural avatar, if you have been walking in suits for few years now. But Ajith pulls it off with élan. Milky white dhoti and shirt with salt-pepper looks brings respect to Vinayagam's character. His MGRish screen presence always works as an advantage and Siva has taken pains to uplift it. Santhanam's comedy along with Ramesh Kanna and 4 brothers works most of the times. Tamanaa could not have chosen a better movie to make her comeback. Except for Nallavanu Sonnalum and Ratha Gaja, none of the songs make an impact for DSP. But he does a pretty nifty work in BGM. And those two duets are terribly choreographed and it's an eyesore to watch the lead pair in those hideous outfits. The stunt sequences are wonderfully choreographed (Stunt Silva) and that train stunt sequence leaves you with goosebumps. Bharathan's dialogues are sharp and written keeping Ajith's fans in mind.
One of the biggest assets of Veeram is there are no overdoses of any particular thing that you usually see in a masala movie. You can't find villain or the hero shouting “Daiiii” every now and then, you can't see those brothers making puppy faces, you can't see the hero delivering punch dialogues at the drop of a hat and even the number of Sumos behind villain's car are lesser than usual.
Having said that, Veeram has its own flaws. First of all the archaic story line and I don't know how many years are we going to see the same brother stories in rural milieu. We have seen this story line for the past 40 years. Even if you accept that fact and move on, you see the hero killing almost a host of rowdies inside Nasser's house without even the family suspecting. Come on, who are you kidding? And we don't see police even for making jokes on them. Not even a trace. It's painful to watch talented actors like Abhinaya, Appukutty, Rohini Attangadi and even Periyardasan (his last on-screen role) in inconsequential roles. A little more imagination is lacking in the conceptualisation of certain scenes and the dearth of a strong villain makes the triumph ineffective.
Veeram is definitely going to be a hit and will win the Pongal race by a mile. It would reinstate the position of Ajith as a bankable actor. But the bigger issue I see with Veeram is the lack of creativity in terms of making such masala movies. I am not against masala movies but there are ways to experiment in that too. Here you have an actor who is willing to experiment and his fans who are willing to watch him in any avatar. But as directors, are they willing to experiment with him is a million dollar question. He wants to shed his super hero image but I don't think the directors and producers are willing to. Ajith also has to force his directors to challenge him with scripts and how far he can do is up to him. Otherwise, he will end up in to a warp that Rajinikanth got caught in to. In the making of a Super Star, we lost one of the natural actors. In the making of Thala, we are losing another actor who has the rare combination of fanatical mass fan following and a talent to do different roles. I wish someone pushes his limits.
Veeram is a tasty spicy masala but just that it has come 40 years too late. A 2.5/5 for Siva's Veeram and it's worth a watch if you don't mind the archaic story line.