Anbe Vaa is one of those movies that benefits from low expectations. The mug of its
debutant hero doesn't inspire much confidence and its only Vivek's name on the credits that
gives the film some credibility. But the movie avoids the easy route(of setting the movie in
a college and loading the movie with vulgarity) that most movies with newcomers take and
aims higher. It doesn't reach that high in the end but the effort deserves some credit.
Karthik(Thendral) and Priya(Sridevika), who have just finished college(in different colleges)
and stepped into the real world, both want to get married in a hurry but for different reasons.
Karthik wants to avoid the responsibility of a job(since his mother offers him a choice between
marriage or a job) while Priya sees marriage as a way out of her dead-end life in a small village.
So neither of them has a problem when their alliance is fixed. But marriage is not the smooth ride
that they both expected.
Anbe Vaa announced rather clearly even when it was on the floors that Vivek was its selling
point by calling him the real hero of the film. And thats not a false claim. The comedian has as
much screen time as Thendral and plays a pivotal role throughout. I too, admittedly, started watching
the film looking forward to his comedy, since he hasn't been seen since his very funny turn in
Anniyan. But as the movie proceeds, the situation gets reversed. Vivek isn't
as funny as he has been while on the other hand, the main track takes a rather unexpected route. So Vivek's
comedy eventually becomes more of an interruption.
The film treads the same path as films like Alaipayudhe and the more
recent A Aa in that it focuses on the travails of married life. In fact, the
lead pair is married for even more time here since there is no romance and they jump into marriage
soon after the film starts. In a way that makes it more believable since the fights they have are
realistic considering that they know nothing about each other before marriage. They approach married
life as freedom but when it doesn't turn out to be everything they dreamed of, it is perfectly natural
for them to get angry. Compromise is not a word in either of their dictionaries.
At the same time, we are unable to take the fights seriously because of their nature and the way they
are handled. The acts of the couple are childish and almost slapstick at many points. While they are
fighting, the director seems to be trying to make us laugh. One wishes he had limited the humor to
the segments involving Vivek.
The director completely runs out of ideas towards the end. He separated Thendral and Sridevika
believably but has no idea how to reunite them. He increasingly begins leaning on Vivek and brings in
ridiculous characters that turn the film into a farce. The climax too is very weak and we never
really believe that it is permanent.
Thendral is not even close to hero material and for a while, even he seems to realize that as he
gets a few digs at his looks. But when he begins cavorting with models and taking part in stunt
sequences, he loses the little likeability he had earned until then. Sridevika fights spiritedly
but looks very uncomfortable wearing skimpy clothes in the song sequences. Vivek gets by since
he hasn't been seen for some time but this is not even close to his funniest sequences. One of the
actors looks and sounds exactly like V.K.Ramaswamy.