Cast: Dhanush, Samuthirakani, Kishore, Pavan, Daniel Balaji, Andrea Jeremiah, Sai Dheena
Vetrumaran’s Vada Chennai is a layered, violent and mesmerising portrayal of North Madras, the breeding ground of rowdies and its ambitious gang leaders, jockeying to take control.
Vada Chennai is another feather on Vetrimaaran’s cap though not in the same league as his earlier films.
The story begins with the principal characters, Guna (Samuthirakani), Senthil (Kishore), Velu (Pawan) and their close aide (Sai Dheena) sitting in a local restaurant with bloodstained hands. In a Tarantino-style scene, they are seen discussing what to do next after murdering Rajan (Ameer), their one time mentor and a smuggler who did a lot for the common people in the area. He was keeping the urban slum from being acquired by road-building contractors in league with politicians. A year later, a gang war erupts in the area as four men fight for the spoils of crime and want to be anointed as the next boss.
Meanwhile Anbu (Dhanush) is a budding carom player, a boy-next-door type of a guy who is in love with a feisty girl Padma (Aishwarya Rajesh) and is part of the generation next. The narrative keeps shifting between 1991 and 2003. But soon Anbu gets sucked into the cesspool of crime and gang wars and has to go to jail.
From the first shot of the film, director Vetrimaaran has managed to build suspense.
The film is built layer by layer. We see not just the plot unravel, but characters also evolve. The effects of greed, lust and envy on relationships that were forged to symbolise loyaltly is truly what makes Vada Chennai a terrific film.