Vijay Superum pournamiyum is by turns funny and entertaining. But as with most movies in this peculiar genre it is hindered by underdeveloped character transformation and plot lines of its own making. After a thoroughly entertaining first half, the film slid into rough-hewn territories where the characters seemed out of depth and their motivations unconvincing. I didn’t dislike the second half of the movie because of its predictability. In fact I think movies of this type make use of their intended predictability to better inform the motivations of characters. However, in the course of second half the titular characters seemed neither ready, nor informed to deal with the whimsical developments in the narrative. After a series of syrupy, cross-cutting sequences conveniently resolve all the conflicts, one is immediately reminded of the most quoted line on social media “When you truly want something, all the stock characters in a movie will work together to make it happen”.
The world of Vijay super and pournami is inhabited by parents whom we may have met or heard about at least once in our lifetime. Stories of these parents have one thing in common with those of parents everywhere. Against the wishes, if not better judgment, of their sons and daughters, they unanimously believe that getting their kids married to partners they deem fitting will solve all their troubles. But the titular hero and heroine of the movie cannot be more different from each other.
Vijay, a reluctant b tech graduate, is hopping to use the dowry money to aid his debt ridden father. He wears on his sleeve the career regrets of fellow graduates whose education became an experimental project in the hands of their parents. Alright, by now one may see the trappings of a cliche-ridden story that is as over marketed today as the career prospects of students pursuing fancy degrees. setting aside its shallow scene creation and resolution, film will still stand out as different, if not unique, movie in its genre.
Pournami, an MBA graduate, is the only child to concerned parents who want her to get married and settle down rather than pursue her career in Australia. An aspiring entrepreneur, she has under her belt two failed business projects. As matchmaking sessions take place one after another, she’s more desperate than ever to prove to her parents her credentials as a talented entrepreneur. There is clearly no doubt about her flare for business as is evidenced by the innovative projects she comes up with. But when push comes to shove, business ventures floored, making her a permanent laughing stock in the eyes of her parents. Success continues to elude her. She realizes that it’s the absence of a proper business partner in life that keeps her from realizing her creative entrepreneurial vision. So, yada yada, she hooks up with Vijay in whom she sees the perfect partner cum chef to co-manage an apparently unique food truck at the seaside.
Aishwarya is good, Asif Ali passable but forgettable like the spate of characters upon which he’s built his career. Aishwarya is in her element playing the snappy, embittered dreamer. She talks with an undercurrent of peevishness, as if to repress an urge to scream at the world. So much so that for a moment I felt I was watching Varathan again, of course, without the eerie BGM. Once the main characters are effectively established in the course of first half using their backstories, the second potion of their story unfolds with such corny contrivances that it requires no inferences to be made on your part. The film comes alive when the pair meets up, and careers across their fun-laden bittersweet flashbacks.
It’s got a theme that will carry contemporary relevance so long as the arranged marriage system is in prevalence. For those modern birds unfamiliar with the workings of this system: it almost always accompanies the transfer of dowry. This tried and tested marriage system has begotten an insane number of interesting couple stuck in unhappy relationships. What the accompanying dowry has done is fund more fanciful business projects than all the private banks combined. Some wise men once said that marriage is an institution built on a foundation of compromise. Well, the characters Vijay and Pournami seem to want to add to the famous dictum. Commonsensical as it may sound at any point in the history of human civilization; here is another couple willing to make compromises in favor of a shared will to live. Try as I might, I could not take away from the cinema anything beyond a mixed bag of platitudinous self-help book quotes, forgettable characters, situational comedy and time-worn tropes that wore perceptibly thin as the second half drew to a close.
Vijay Superum pournamiyum is conveniently ensconced in a generation’s worth cinematic conventions that at this rate look set to torment a couple more generations to come.