Vellai Pookal (2019)
Watch வெள்ளைப் பூக்கள், you are guaranteed to a Tamil film that has been taken from a different perspective.
I have been wanting to see the film Vellai Pookal (வெள்ளைப் பூக்கள்) for two reasons – first was a message from a friend in Seattle, who knows the producers of the film “Indus Creations”, run by the Indians living in Pacific Northwest, Indus is a theatre group that has created and staged their own Tamil plays in the region with mostly local talent – second reason was to see the beautiful Seattle and its nearby areas (a few I had gone to during my business trips there) where almost the entire film had been shot. Unfortunately, it had taken me 7 weeks after the release to watch the film and luckily it is now available on Amazon Prime Video.
Just like most thrillers, the film has a simple story – a retired Tamil Nadu Police Officer Rudhran (played by Vivek) visits Seattle to be with his son Ajay (Dev) who is working for Microsoft and his American wife Alice (Paige Henderson) – there Rudhran finds himself compelled to solve a string of kidnapping that happens in the locality. There have been comparisons of this film with Gautam Menon‘s Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu (2006), the uniqueness here is that the story happens entirely in a hyper-local setting of a city in the USA (Seattle).
It is unbelievable to know that the film has been written and directed by a non-professional filmmaker, Vivek Elangovan who is a techie and this is a debut for him. A big kudos to the director for giving us an intelligent film, unlike the ones that come from Kollywood that considers the audience to be dumb. There are many scenes where the Director exhibits his engineering chops: like in the scene when a little girl in trouble frantically peers into her cellphone for signal, the signal bars are displayed to us on the surrounding walls; and, the scenes where we are taken inside of Rudhran’s mind which is shown as a meeting room where every suspect is seated and Rudhran questions them only with the (then) known information (data) to deduce clues. The dialogues have been penned well like this one – “எல்லாவற்றுக்கும் விடை கண்டுபிடித்து விடலாம், சரியான கேள்விகளை நாம் கேட்டாள்”, which is inspired by famous quotes on the lines of “The answers are easy if you have the right questions”.
The film rides wholly on the shoulders of Vivek, who has not disappointed and has given a great performance. His makeup makes him appear far older than the age and background of Rudhran, a little dapper and we could’ve have enjoyed the role better. Amongst the other actors, appearing as a traumatised girl it is the young Gabrielle Castronover, who affects us the most, congrats to her. Also, the actress Paige Henderson who plays the role of Alice has done well, especially in the scene where she is crying in distress. The background score could’ve been more engaging.
Lastly, had a bit more of life been sprinkled over all the characters, Vellai Pookal (2019), could’ve graduated with honours.