Good concept, average execution
Vil Ambu reminded me a lot of my high school maths teacher. It isn’t respective of your intelligence, and seems to prefer spoon-feeding you with obvious information instead. Take the opening fight sequence of Karthik (Sri), for instance. He’s selling Yennai Arindhaal tickets in black (there’s your mandatory Ajith Kumar reference). A random group of rowdies suddenly begin attacking him, and it’s interesting, because you don’t quite know why. But the leader immediately looks down on Karthik, and proceeds to slowly explain why he’s attacking him. He talks about how he’s disappointed that despite repeated warnings, Karthik continues to sell tickets in his area. He isn’t really talking to Karthik, of course; he’s explaining to you. In another scene, you’re shown Arul (an impressive Harish Kalyan) being in love with Nithya (Srushti Dange), and again, I thought it was interesting, because most Tamil films usually begin by showing you how they fall in love. But immediately, you’re shown a flashback sequence of how they got together, which, frankly, doesn’t matter in the bigger scheme of things. I had to slouch back in disappointment again. Vil Ambu , for the most part, is like that. Something really interesting, followed by something fatuous.
The film’s premise is quite fascinating. It’s about how Karthik and Arul affect each other’s lives, without even being aware of each other’s presence. They’re neighbours, and so, you don’t really mind the coincidences for a while. Until it begins to seem a bit forced. When Karthik causes Arul’s accident unwittingly, it doesn’t seem outlandish. But when the reverse happens, if only for poetic justice, you can’t help feel that it’s being fabricated. The first time you’re shown a slo-mo shot of them being in each other’s presence, it seems rather intriguing. But then, that slo-mo shot is used each time one is in the other’s vicinity. It makes you want to call up the makers, and say, “ WE GET IT ! ”
For a film that’s a little over two hours, and which has two concurrent stories, Vil Ambu is surprisingly slow, and predictable. There’s a scene showing Arul borrowing his father’s bike. Just as he’s about to step out of his house, his mother reminds him that his father cares deeply about the bike, and almost immediately, you know something wretched is in store for the vehicle. His mother needn’t have said that, and therein lies the problem with Vil Ambu . It’s not so much the concept, but the lack of intelligence in its execution. Some bad acting ruins a few scenes too. Some of the extras may as well have been made of wood. It’s not just the extras; even the actor who plays Arul’s dad looks rather frozen when delivering dialogues. He says the words, but you can see he isn’t really feeling them.
Making matters worse are the duets, even if the songs themselves, by composer Navin, are quite all right. Both protagonists have love tracks; hell, there’s even a love triangle for Arul. In between all this, there’re a few politicians who do what politicians usually do in Tamil films: backbiting, plotting and killing. I didn’t really care about any of them or their convoluted plots. Somewhere late in the film, I sat up a bit; it was interesting that Arul was descending into crime, while Karthik, the rowdy, was beginning to reform. But then, the story slipped further into a series of implausible coincidences, with a criminal even dying in a Final Destination -like moment at the end. Vil Ambu joins a long list of films, which are built around an interesting concept, begin promisingly enough, but for lack of intelligent writing, fail to keep you hooked.