'Valimai' is the latest box-office release. Let's find out what are its hits and misses.
Arjun (Ajith) is Vizag's ACP who has been tasked with the mission of tracking down a gang of bikers. The bikers are running a mafia and are involved in chain-snatching on an industrial scale. They also commit murders by dozens. What are their motives? How does Arjun hunt them down? Is Kartikeya's character the only villain he needs to worry about? Answers to these questions are found as the story progresses.
Before the clash between Bheemla Nayak and Daniel Sekhar in 'Bheemla Nayak', we get to watch a high-stakes clash between the characters played by Ajith and Kartikeya Gummakonda in 'Valimai'. Ajith is at his usual best, looking dashing in the role of a cop with a conscience. He could have been more elastic, though.
Kartikeya, the 'RX 100' actor, doesn't get a jaw-dropping launch in Kollywood but he is definitely earnest. Huma S Qureshi's performance is more appealing than that of most others. The actors who have played the rest of the characters look unfamiliar and unsettling for the Telugu audience. There are no effective performances from the character artists.
Even before the film's release, it was clear that 'Valimai' belongs more to the cinematographer and editor than the music director. Nirav Shah, who is currently doing Chiranjeevi's 'Godfather', shows talent as the director of photography. On the other hand, Yuvan Shankar Raja's melodramatic mother song is good.
Ghibran's background score could have been way better. Previously, he has composed the BGM for 'Saaho'. Together with sound designer MR Raja Krishnan, he could have pulled off a better output. The editing by Vijay Velukutty is found somewhat wanting in the action scenes, where quick cuts weaken the impact somewhat.
Dhilip Subbarayan, who is also working on 'Hari Hara Veera Mallu' and 'Bholaa Shankar' these days, is the film's biggest asset on the technical front. This H Vinoth directorial is saved by its mind-blowing action sequences that stand out.
Like 'Akhanda' recently, this film doesn't shy away from offering lengthy action blocks. Such is the confidence in its material. Since the chases are integral to the story, the craft of its actors has been used well. For the unversed, Ajith is a trained biker.
The characterization of the villain is cliched to a large extent. But when there is some level of maturity in the way he brainwashes his followers. 'Valimai' raises questions about moral vacuity in today's greedy youths. Its heart lies in the way the protagonist sees things and his duty-mindedness.
From crime networks to the dark web, there is so much layering. These things should have meant a much thicker plot. There are convenient ideas galore. For example, until Arjun starts cracking the case, nobody in the police department is able to notice the fact that a lion's share of a certain type of crime happened only on particular days over five years. And in order to elevate his character, he is shown to discover leads in a jiffy while commuting from one place to another in Vizag!
The family scenes (the hero is a loving son and brother) are boring because of the way they play out. There is no Telugu nativity either.
'Valimai' is a mixed bag. Its action scenes are wow, whereas its other elements are inadequate.