Yaman - Movie Review
Cast: Vijay Antony, Mia George, Tyagarajan, Charliee and others
Dialogues: Bhashya Sri
Music: Vijay Antony
Editing: Veera Senthil Raj
Action: Dileep Subbarayan
Producer: Miriyala Ravinder Reddy
Story, screenplay, cinematography, direction: Jeeva Shankar
CBFC Rating: U
Release date: Feb 24
Ashok Chakravarthy (Vijay Antony), a middle-class man, agrees to go to jail by owning an accident committed by someone else, in return for Rs. 5 lakhs, so that his grandfather can be treated for cancer. In the jail, he accidentally develops rivalry with a gangster. Least does he know that this rivalry will have a chain reaction in his life.
In the process of facing the threat to his life, he becomes the favourite adviser of Karunakaran (Thyagarajan), who wants to revive his political career by listening to the cunning Ashok. A Minister, who is Karunakaran's rival, fears Ashok because he is the son of late Devarakonda Gandhi (Vijay Antony, again), who was murdered by him decades ago.
While the big fish are busy making their evil calculations, they underestimate the power of Ashok, who has his sights set on MLA seat.
The second half is about how Ashok deviously outsmarts the tricks and tactics of the Minister, the new-found rival Karunakaran and everybody else to emerge victorious.
Before the release of 'Yaman', the crux of the movie was said to be how a commoner grows up to become a political heavyweight (a legislator and a Minister at that). The film largely lives up to the description of a political thriller, too. The biggest asset of this otherwise liberally cinematic movie are the dialogues. In translating director Jeeva Shankar's dialogues, Bhashya Sri (of 'Bicchagadu' fame) has done an able job.
The good thing is that no character (including the protagonist) believes in being morally upright. As Karunakaran tells Ashok, everybody has his agenda. The secret links among the politicians across all political lines is brought out through the character played by Charlie, the Minister's PA.
The kind of murky politicking that goes into even a councillor's nomination in our country is very well narrated. Somewhere, you will come to appreciate why changing India is easier said than done, with mafias dominating the scene. Lines like ''Jeevitham lo okkosari nijanni nammadam kanna abaddhanni nammithene santoshanga untam" and "Ee prapancham lo athi neechamaindi avathali vadi balaheenatha upayoginchukovadam" may not sound special when read in isolation, but they make a mark as part of the proceedings.
The way caste is exploited by politicians to co-opt foot soldiers in their quest for power is narrated in a very subtle manner. While the hero is generally good, he follows the law of jungle in his rise. He even runs a belt liquor shop whose license he gets through foul means. But the narrator has wasted the potential to a good extent.
The hero's characterization is immature. The first 30 minutes are too unrealistic. Vijay Antony's body language shows that he is a professional thug, whereas he was just a common guy till a few days ago. He suddenly breaks into a dance in his bar like a typical Tamil hero. One wonders if he knows about his father's tragic end and the villains behind it.
It's inconceivable why it should take so much for a non-entity like Ashok to be murdered by his many rivals. The Minister and others behave like helpless idiots. The songs test your patience, nothing less. The romantic track involving the lead pair (Miya George is an actress in the film) is bland, but not as sleep-inducing as the songs!
Vijay Antony performs in his own style. He is convincing when he is serious in tone and toner, but not when he tries to be mainstream hero-type. All other artistes, especially Thyagarajan and Charlie, do a very good job.
The BGM is fitting and enhances the mood. The cinematography is another plus; it succeeds in papering over the humble ambience.
Bottomline: 'Yaman' is strictly for those who like conversational political thrillers. Curiously, it is a mixed bag wherein you will find both cinematic elements as well as realistic moments.