The film is cerebral but with the right amounts of suspense to keep your thoughts going.
Direction: Vivek Ilangovan
Cast: Vivekh, Charle, Pooja Devariya
Vellai Pookal is a murder mystery starring Vivekh as a retired cop who goes to America to live with his son. Made by a bunch of enthusiasts from the United States with little prior filming experience, this medium budgeted effort surprisingly packs quite a punch thanks in large to good writing and smart choice of cast.
Rudhran (Vivekh) has come to the US to spend time with his son Ajay (Dev). They’ve not been in cordial terms largely because Ajay’s wife is a white American named Alice (Paige Henderson.) Rudhran is in no mood to warm up to her, and hence this barrier between father and son had always existed in the recent past.
Nonetheless, Rudhran gets a move on and finds some correspondence when he meets Bharathidasan (Charle), a retired bank official who lives with his daughter Ramya (Pooja Devariya.) She also happens to be Ajay’s co-worker. A neighbor is kidnapped and Rudhran’s itch for nabbing criminals kicks into action. With his newfound friend in Bharathi, they set out to find the kidnappers and save this hapless person. Meanwhile, in a parallel episode, a drug addict keeps a pre-teen girl and bedridden woman as hostage, and goes about torturing them sexually. Rudhran is a on mission to find out the connection between these mysterious crimes, and what happens next especially when the killer strikes his own home forms the reminder of the film with the film ending with an unpredictable riveting climax.
Vellai Pookal works chiefly because of its brilliant writing and execution by debutant director Vivek Elangovan. Most of the initial crimes are very convincing and makes you wonder which trail would lead to the suspects. Vivekh the comedian now turned detective amazingly is a good fit, as he doesn’t easily give away the plot. With an image makeover Vivekh has given a meritorious performance. Charle plays the Dr. Watson to Vivek’s Sherlock Holmes and provides lighter moments. It is extremely enjoyable to see these two veteran comedians in lead roles here.
New guy Dev does a neat job, while Pooja Devariya has nothing much to offer. Paige Henderson as Alice is terrific underplaying the timid daughter in law and the way she calls Vivekh as ‘Appa’ is very endearing.
Technically, Jerald Peter’s visuals add to the thrilling momentum of the film. The crisp run time is another positive.
Sometimes, the cops do come across as unconvincing and it stalls the detective theme of the film. A crime scene should be a difficult spot to stroll into, and Rudhran has it a bit too easy. Nevertheless, Vellai Pookal is a valiant effort by these newcomers. The film is cerebral but with the right amounts of suspense to keep your thoughts going. A film not to be missed!