I am not sure why Dhanush, an actor I admire for his talents, signed up for this routine teacher helping poor students succeed story. He is known for being an original actor, but in this one, his copying of Rajini’s body language felt artificial. There was little chemistry between him and Samyuktha onscreen. Samuthirakani appearing as the owner of a large private education empire comes as an unimpressive antagonist. Even with these negatives, the evergreen story of education being the greatest social equaliser was handled well, and the emotions working in most places saved the film. The dialogues about the former president Dr APJ Abdul Kalam were used effectively. Vaathi (2023) gets a Raw rating on the mangoidiots scale.
I liked the way how the story gets unfolded. Beginning with the accidental discovery of a hidden stockpile of video cassettes from the 1990s was a nice touch, which could’ve been utilised better. The reason given for the use of cassettes was unbelievable. Similarly was one teacher teaching physics, chemistry and maths for over 40 students in such a short time. It was nice seeing Director Bharathiraja in a brief cameo appearance. Director Venky Atluri has managed to make a movie with (near) neutral characters and backgrounds that feel familiar to both Telugu and Tamil audiences, I hope this sets a trend for more cross-border films.