First things first, Vedam is not a multi-starrer, it is a solo-star film featuring Anushka. Secondly, for a Telugu film, Vedam surprises with its attention to character development and continuity in telling the story. The film has received critical acclaim, but the reactions among audience is mixed. Personally, I liked the film, but have certain issues with the film, which I will elaborate later. Vedam is a well-made film, but lacks a story that can entertain and instead the film tries too hard to enlighten.
Essentially, there are five threads revolving around five characters. (i) Cable Raju (Allu Arjun) is the local basti dude who feels life is only worth it if you are rich. Thus, although living a lowly life of a cable operator always in loans in the Jubilee Hills basti, he is maintaining a high-profile girlfriend [I wonder where he picked up the Englisht?] His predicament is to get Rs. 40,000 for a couple pass for the New Year’s Eve party (ii) Ramulu (Nagayya) is poor weaver steeped in loan and harassed by the money lender. Unable to pay, he is forced to pledge his grandson as bonded labor. He and his daughter decide to sell the kidney in Hyderabad for Rs. 40,000 (iii) Saroja (Anushka) is most popular commercial sex worker in her domain, but wants to run away from her owner Ms. Rathamma and set up her own company. Reason? None, even though her owner treats her quite well; at least there are no signs of owner torture (iv) Raheemulla (Manoj Bajpai) is a good Muslim man of the country, but becomes a victim of anti-Muslim sentiments prevailing in society. Furthermore, he is taken away by the cops to jail because his nephews are found linked to anti-social elements planning an attack on News Years Day (v) Chakravarthy (Manchu Manoj) is the son of an army man, but wants to pursue a career in the rock band he has set up. He and his friends are dressed up in typical rock-band style. He is on his way to Hyderabad with his friends from Bangalore by car and he doesn’t seem to have any major problem like the others [threads]. All these threads proceed independently for 80% of the film and finally culminate at the hospital for the climax.
Why I am not impressed with the film is because there is really nothing more to the film that the story I have written above. Of course, there a few comic scenes, some fights, a few boring songs, and loads of messages. The first 35 minutes are wasted in just establishing the characters, their situation, and their apparent predicament. By interval, there is not even a single memorable scene from any of the five threads running. Moreover, each thread weighs differently in terms of story content and genuineness. Allu Arjun’s thread is clearly the best; he gets to make comedy, hip hop, cry, and say the movie’s best dialogues! The other threads lack this sort of story-punch. Next, the exploited weaver and good Muslim man threads are really genuine in their problems compared to the others. Anuskha’s role just does not have any substance. Although she is the hottest product in her market, she always seems to be avoiding business and giving away bhari dialogues. Her owner too seemed to treat her well. Frankly, Anushka’s presence is only to pull the crowds—it is a stroke of brilliant commercial tactic to have the Numero Uno female lead of the industry play a hot looking commercial worker. Sure, audience will come paying for the ticket, but just like how Saroja handles he customers, the audience too will not get any entertainment. Manoj’s thread is the weakest on all counts.
Towards the end all characters go through some sort of change: Cable Raju realizes that money is not more than life and values, Rammulu stands up against the money lender, Saroja fires her pimp, Chakravarty who disliked his father for giving away his life for the nation ends doing the same, but Raheemulla is the same. However, Cable Raju’s transformation is shown with maximum impact. In terms of performance, everybody does a good job. Songs and music is a let down. The quality/look-and-feel of the film is not high. Too many messages. Krrish, relax, we know that you have a lot of ideas in you and that you want to preach through movies, but do it slowly. My favorite line in the film is when Allu Arjun says there are not two castes in this world…one rich and the other poor. Yes, the contrast between the rich and poor is also shown effectively: Rs. 40,000 for kidneys and a life’s education versus Rs. 40,000 for a couple pass to drink and dance.
The climax: I did not like the ending. What is the need to perpetuate the stereotype of Islam and terrorism? what is the need to repeat the 26/11 type event again? and then after all this show a Hindu cop bowing to the Muslim man? All the threads finally land up in a hospital which is taken hostage by terrorists. There is a massive shoot-out where Allu Arjun and Manoj become heroes, save a bunch, and sacrifice their life [yes, they blow up like Manisha and SRK in Dile Se!]. It almost felt like the two young actors forced the director to have a final showdown, which will make them heroes. could there not have been another culminating point?
The biggest problem with the film is that it does not have an intelligent script. A well made film is not necessarily a film with an intelligent script. It is quite funny to see how Telugu film websites are going gaga over this film. Akukokunda Oka Roju is a film which is not only well made, but it also has an intelligent script [not to forget it also entertains sufficiently with a good message]. Another problem with Vedam is it does not confine itself to one particular theme. Is it about showing the contrast between the rich and poor? is it about exploitation and discrimination? is it about doing what you want to do? is it about sacrifice? Whadd the hell is the film about?
Having said all this, I would still say that among the blind this film is like the cockeyed. In terms of direction and script-content is way behind Prasthanam. As an aside, can you imagine how Prasthanam would have performed if it had Vedam‘s star cast: Brilliant. In terms of an intelligent and entertaining script it is far behind Akukokunda Oka Roju. Forget all this, Vedam is even far behind Krish’s debut Gamyam. To its credit, Vedam offers variety, which is now a rarity among Telugu films.
Mr. Inkenti’s Movienomics Verdict: Thumbs Down. Whatever said and done, a film for me has to entertain [with not necessarily song and dance] and should make me want to go back again and watch it. Vedam does not. For the hype Krish created, the content does not live up to it. Watch it, nonetheless, for even this much of variety will take a while to come again.
PS–To Vedam‘s credit, I enjoyed writing this review. There is analysis, which means that the film has substance. It is indeed a happy time to see films like Prasthanam and now Vedam where the directors are telling a story. I hope there are more coming like this, but with better music, high quality look-and-feel, and a reasonably good entertainment quotient.