In 2 months time, Allu Arjun gave one of the worst movies and one of the best movies of this decade in Tollywood.
Vedam has 5 independent stories in it which are taking place parallelly, and the characters of all the stories converge at the big climax. In my limited memory, I can't remember such a movie being made prior in Tollywood. This could be a risky subject but director Krish (Gamyam fame) pulled it off with great aplomb. I won't brief about the 5 stories but they are very different from each other and there is believability to each one of them although in various degrees.
If an award for the best performance by an ensemble cast in Tollywood is introduced next year, Vedam would be the leading contender. Nobody in the movie messed up there roles. Allu Arjun is an excellent fit in the role of Cable Raju. His performance & emotions at the end where he has a change of heart is the best that he had done until now. After the movie Arundhati, Anushka has become a clear crowd favourite. The whistles and shouts during her introduction scene were only matched by the entrance of Arjun. Anushka has nailed the role of Saroja going from funny to angry to angst with ease. She definitely is one of the best actresses in Tollywood right now. This is my first Manchu Manoj movie. He was an apt choice to play the music loving wannabe rock-star Vivek. Manoj is not only a better actor than his brother Vishnu but he is also choosing his scripts wisely. He created a good first impression on me. I haven't seen Manoj Bajpai fail as an actor and the same goes here. He gives good performance as the victimised Muslim Raheemuddin Qureishi. Nagayya as a poor weaver and Saranya as his daughter-in-law gave some honest & sincere performances as the exploited rural people who wants to educate the boy in their family.
Ravi Prakash has a key role as a sincere police officer who thinks that every Muslim is a terrorist. He did a very good job. Although he has the same expressions in all his movies, this role suited him very well. Raghu Babu has done good job. There are single scene cameos by Brahmandam and Posani Krishna Murali. Former one in a comedy scene while the latter in a very serious scene but both are very entertaining. Satyam Rajesh has done a decent job as the mandatory hero's side kick. Finally Deeksha Seth as Pooja, the uber-rich love interest of Arjun. The speciality of this character is that this requires no performance at all with the only prerequisites being fair and glamorous. So it appears as if the director left her to perform as she likes.
Since there are 5 stories, there are a lot of characters to be introduced. So in the first half, we are introduced to the characters and their motivations. With a conflict in each story, the first half ends. So it may appear to some people as if not much has happened as a whole in the first half but that is only an illusion because we are dealing with 5 stories here. The second half is absolutely gripping.
Generally in our industry when you have a drama with superb performances, the technical aspects are grossly neglected. But Vedam is technically a very well made film. Right from your editing to cinematography to art work to sound effects, this is a wonderfully made film. Dialogues & direction by Krish are great. Krish proved that he is not a one film wonder. Let's hope that he is not a two film wonder. (Am I being greedy?)
Background score by Keeravani is very good but I would have been more happy if every thing is original. Coming to the songs, the songs fit in the movie very well but I don't think they would work outside the movie.
After the break, for a few minutes the movie tends to be slow. They could have cut a song there. Story & script wise, the tussle between Manoj & Sikh lorry driver was too superficial. To develop the conflict in Manoj's character, a more natural setup would have been very good. Another one is when Manoj Bajpai, who initially tries to escape without even warning the hundreds of people in the hospital about the impending danger, has a change of heart when he sees a pregnant lady. Agreed that he has some past scars regarding unborn babies but still it appeared a bit forced. One more thing is when some body dies at a huge explosion, I think that the faces should not be recognisable. But the above points are very minor, and by the end of the movie this is a very satisfying experience.
All in all, this is a must watch. This is going to win a lot of awards next season. The general perception is that an award winning movie tends to be a boring art movie. This is true in many cases but once in a while there comes a really good drama without boring you and this is one of those. I was absolutely thrilled by the time the movie was over because of mainly 2 reasons. One reason was because the movie was very good & the second one was because I rarely see such well made movie in Telugu. So my humble request is don't miss this.
Finally, a triple thumbs-up (if such a word is there) for the director Krish and the producers Devineni Prasad & Yarlagadda Shobhu.
p.s Could someone clarify me regarding the crediting of Manchu Manoj as Guest appearance because I felt his role was of a proper protagonist.
Would love to hear your views about Vedam or my review,