Not a grain of credibility


Have you watched our reality dance competitions? Every time there’s a badly performed dance sequence that conveys a message — say, patriotism — you notice the judges squirming in discomfort at the idea of criticising it. As if a message-oriented performance, even if it’s terrible, must somehow be given some wiggle room. “The intention was good, you know…” I’m sorry, but a badly made film, despite the nobility of its message, is still a badly made film. Vingyani is one such.

Director Paarthi also stars as the protagonist Ramakrishnan; a scientist who is more a caricature than a character. His idea of romance is drawing chemical formulas on the bare back of wife Kaveri (Meera Jasmine). Pardon the pun, but it’s probably the director’s idea of showing the couple’s chemistry. The scientist also devises facile flowcharts to arrive at important life decisions. He is forever thoughtful of other scientists, even in seriously life-threatening situations. When a group of thugs point their pistols at him, he calmly proceeds to inform them that the inventor of the gun is one Mr. Samuel Colt. You can understand why the thugs get enraged and try to assault him.

The film, in keeping with the frustrating trend of mixing multiple genres in Tamil cinema, is a mindboggling mix of a whodunit, a sci-fi thriller, a romance, and a message drama. A woman is killed, and you don’t know who did it. Meanwhile, a new variety of grain that will grow with little water has been discovered and our scientist must recreate it in his lab to treat the predicted food shortage. The scientist must also resolve marital problems with his wife, caused mainly by the latter’s insecurity. In between all this, as you apparently cannot make a film any more without bringing in the evil of corporatisation (Kaththi, Oru Oorla Rendu Raja), Vingyani rages and fumes about the evil of corporate greed, and beats its chest in agony about the plight of farmers.

But… none of these stories are treated with sensitivity and sincerity. The murder is hardly chilling. The discovery of the food grain is a result of a convenient dream Kaveri has. The marital insecurities arise when Kaveri sees her husband having his head massaged by his secretary. Paarthi’s unconvincing acting only worsens the poor writing. When he tries to look devastated at the death of a close one, he simply ends up looking like a man who has food stuck in his throat.

When surrounded by thugs, Ramakrishnan suddenly reveals his fighting prowess. When her village is in a hopeless situation, Kaveri has a useful dream. When the magical grains are destroyed, there is one that has accidentally been stored in a book. Convenient solutions are brought in whenever necessary. It’s simply lazy writing, and no, the message-oriented nature of the film doesn’t ameliorate it.

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