‘Yaanai’ movie review: Hari cuts script pace, but this Arun Vijay star is still mediocre melodrama

Luckily, the camera doesn’t move like it’s attached to a roller coaster. But ‘Yaanai’ is tedious with outdated elements.

Luckily, the camera doesn’t move like it’s attached to a roller coaster. But ‘Yaanai’ is tedious with outdated elements.

Among the things that worked for Hari, as he continued to deliver hit after hit, was the pacing of his script and the strong voice of his macho protagonists against injustice. Like a self-absorbed scientist who dials something beyond the safe limit to succeed in his experiment, Hari, in his latest films, has accelerated his storylines to dizzying levels. Ideally, these movies should have had strobe effect warnings. And, the protagonists of these films didn’t say their lines, they SCREAMED them. A friend even experienced symptoms of motion sickness after Singapore 3.

The filmmaker, thankfully, took notice. He decides to slow down Yanai, with Arun Vijay. The camera, for example, doesn’t feel like it’s been on a roller coaster. There are fewer shots cut quickly. We are able to record at least the characters, their conflicts and their emotions.

Hari also seems to have mellowed. There are knives and sickles and bouncing bodies, of course – this is a Hari film, after all. But there is also forgiveness. Each main character gets a moment of redemption. Even the antagonists are not devoid of morals.

The family, which has always been an essential element of a Hari film, is at the heart of Yaanai. Therefore, we see more melodrama than action. Yaanaiin this regard, is no longer in the Vel area than in the singam area.

It is also interesting to note that the macho heroes of Tamil cinema are adapting to this era of political correctness. In this film, Arun Vijay’s character, Ravichandran, advises a college boy against harassing women. When he slaps Malar (Priya Bhavani Shankar) over a misunderstanding, he apologizes saying, “Hitting a woman is one of the worst sins.” Although he lives with shameless caste brothers, he speaks out against caste and religious discrimination.

Yaanai

Director: Hari

Cast: Arun Vijay, Priya Bhavani Shankar, Samuthirakani, Radhika Sarathkumar, Jayabalan, Yogi Babu, etc.

Duration: 2 hours 34 mins

Yaanai, however, is tedious as the story and screenplay lack novelty. Samuthiram (Jayabalan) and his son, Lingam, want to avenge PRV’s (Rajesh) family for the death of Lingam’s (Pandi) twin brother. Ravichandran (Arun Vijay) tries to protect his family at all costs despite his half-brothers disliking him. Hari continues this stale story with narrative-breaking duets and patience-testing comedy bits featuring Yogi Babu and Pugazh with lines like “Pakkathula irundhu paatha, panni maari irukaye; apram yen unakku Jimmy nu peru? (I’m not even going to expend energy translating this).

Luckily, Arun Vijay isn’t as loud as some of Hari’s early protagonists. But he manages to flex his well-worked muscles, especially in a well-choreographed one-shot action sequence towards the end of the first half. He does his best to make the melodramatic scenes work as well. The emotional beats in these portions, however, are too generic. Despite the ensemble cast, including Samuthirakani, Radhika, Bose Venkat, Priya Bhavani Shankar and others, the film barely manages to keep us engaged.