The 2022 action thriller Valimai (which translates to "Strength") is an Indian Tamil-language production that was co-produced and distributed by Zed Studios and was written and directed by H. Vinoth. Boney Kapoor, under the auspices of Bayview Projects LLP, produced it. The film's principal actors include Karthikeya, Huma Qureshi, Gurbani Judge, and Ajith Kumar. Ghibran and Yuvan Shankar Raja are responsible for the songs and the film score. Nirav Shah oversees the cinematography, and Vijay Velukutty oversees the editing. After participating in heinous crimes, a group of criminal bikers is tracked down by Arjun, a police officer. The story revolves around Arjun.
After Nerkonda Paarvai (2019), this movie represented Ajith, Vinoth, and Kapoor's second collaboration. Ajith first rejected the script when Vinoth wrote it in the middle of 2018. He was then instructed to finish it later. The plan was presented in January 2019, and Kapoor agreed to fund it. The project was formally started in mid-October 2019 when its name was revealed. Despite the COVID-19 epidemic causing production to be delayed, principal photography in Hyderabad began in December 2019 and was finished in February 2021. Between late August and early September 2021, most of the film was shot in Chennai and Hyderabad, with a few scenes in Russia.
Due to supporters' efforts to establish a movement called #ValimaiUpdate that impacted sports, politics, and other events, the movie was in the news for a considerable time. In the end, trade circuits listed it as one of the most anticipated Tamil flicks. The film's global release on February 24, 2022, was met with mixed reviews from critics after being repeatedly postponed because of ongoing COVID-19 pandemic restrictions that were in place in India.
Review of Valimai:
The story of H Vinoth's Valimai opens with a string of robberies and smuggling done by masked guys on bikes in Chennai. The populace is furious with the police because they are ineffective. The police chief (Selva) expresses a longing for a super officer to stop similar atrocities in an inner monologue. A temple procession is next, taking place in Madurai in the next scene. Ajith Kumar's portrayal of ACP Arjun, the film's main character, is then introduced, with scenes from the procession intercut throughout. We see this figure rising from the depths as though a God lifted. A whistle-worthy hero introduction sequence, in other words.
Given his star's fame, we anticipate that Vinoth has done away with the required fan service and will finally get around to creating the movie he had always wanted. And for a while, it does appear to be the case when Arjun is posted to Chennai and begins looking into a suicide case that appears to be related to the chain-snatching and drug-smuggling incidents from before. Similar to his earlier cop movie, the unrelenting Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru, the director presents us with the results of his research. The degree of detail is astonishing, yet most of it has been seen previously in movies like Metro, Chakra, Marainthirunthu Parkkum Marmam Enna, giving the impression that it has already been done. Additionally, his insistence on showing us the victims' fates appears unnecessary and gives rise to sentimentalism.
The gang's leader (Kartikeya Gummakonda) understands that the cop is on to him even as Arjun begins following clues, and the situation quickly escalates into a deadly cat-and-mouse game in which Arjun's family is used as players. Can Arjun protect the city from this dangerous criminal while protecting his family?
Valimai is an overlong but moderately entertaining action film that covers up its clumsy writing with lavish action set-pieces, stunts, and sentiment collide. Vinoth seems to be working very hard to reconcile the needs of a star vehicle with those of a gritty action film while still providing meaningful, heartfelt, and "mass" moments. Although there is room in the tale for the action scenes to be grounded in emotion, he is willing to treat them as simple set pieces.
A clear illustration of this tactic in action is how quickly the supporting characters in the movie are introduced and how they interact with Arjun. They are primarily one-note characters, such as Huma Qureshi's encouraging coworker, Sumithra's loving mother, Achyuth Kumar's drunken brother, and Bani J's tattooed, gothic villain's lover. Worse yet, they are caricatures, such as GM Sundar and Dinesh Prabhakar's crooked policeman. The plot in the second half, driven by the arc of a despondent sibling who goes rogue (Raj Ayyappan), must be developed believably. We are looking for something unique, like Huma's character, which is pleasantly not a romantic interest.
However, despite having one fantastic moment, this character is quickly demoted to the sidekick role. The action sequences are not happening right now. Therefore, the movie feels weaker. The plot starts to think it was only written to provide comic relief between the stunt scenes. It's understandable why some scenarios, like those in a police conference room, seem unprofessional.
Vinoth does make up for this with the stunts, which are usually large-scale spectacles that are masterfully choreographed (Dhilip Subbarayan is the stunt choreographer) and are the film's focal point. Edge-of-the-seat material includes a bike chase in the first half and chases involving a bus, a vehicle, and numerous bikers in the second half. But they are limited in what they can accomplish, and we wish the filmmaker had given the other situations the same kind of attention.
The conflict between good and evil is what Valimai ultimately comes down to. Batman is compared in several ways. Arjun shares the same view as the superhero in a mask: killing offenders cannot eliminate crime. In particular, when battling the evil guys, we frequently see him in all-black attire with his face concealed by a helmet. The anarchist who rejects society is someone he must contend with as well. And he eventually finds himself in a predicament where he must decide between preserving the lives of the general population and those of his loved ones.
Furthermore, Ajith does this role like a superhuman. Each of the other characters treats him fairly. The actor uses his star power to make the other scenes more compelling while adding legitimacy to the stunt scenes. There are times when it works (such as in the prison scene where he needs to break someone's arm) and times when it doesn't (such as the monologue at the conclusion). But it's undeniable that he plays a crucial role in bringing the film's two clashing tones together.
Ajith Kumar exudes style and swag; he is at ease in this role as a police officer. In the movie, he solely performs action stunts and displays emotion. For him, there is no ideal romantic match.
Huma Qureshi plays his coworker. Kartikeya Gummakonda, an actor who performs in Telugu, played the antagonist. He has the physique to play the villain but only has a few opportunities to show off his acting prowess. His persona needs a legitimate graph.
The primary focal point is the action stunts. In terms of action and technological aspects, the movie is excellent.
With the help of the cameraman, action choreographer, and editor, several bike chase scenes and a protracted bus chase are expertly captured on video. Music, however, does not measure up. Background music and songs both fall flat.
Response to Criticism:
M. Suganth of The Times of India gave the movie a rating of 3/5 and praised the stunts and acting, saying, "There are times it works (a scene in prison when he has to break someone's arm) and others it doesn't (the monologue at the climax). The fact that he is there connect the film's two contrasting tones, however, can be said without a shadow of a doubt. The action thriller features a predictable tale studded with amazing action moments, according to Janani K of India Today, who awarded the movie a 3/5 rating. According to Pinkvilla, which gave the film a 3/5 rating, "Valimai" is for you if you love larger-than-life action blocks depicting bike-bound men and their relentless exploits.
Ashameera Aiyappan of Firstpost wrote in her review with a 2.5/5 rating, "H Vinoth replaces the grounded authenticity of his predecessor's work for glitzy, gimmicky action that ends up being a kitsch combination of sensibilities." The film received a 2.5/5 rating from Vivek M. V. of the Deccan Herald, who said, "Ajith is fine while Huma Qureshi gets just one sleek action scene to shine. The psychotic performance by Kartikeya Gummakonda is the one saving grace. Manoj Kumar R of The Indian Express gave the film a 2/5 grade in his review, saying that "Vinoth's idea of establishing an urban legend goes awry when the film fails to distinguish Ajith Kumar's behind-the-scenes persona from Ajith Kumar's character in Valimai."
Watch this mainly for Ajith since he won't let you down even though the movie might, according to Umesh Punwani of Koimoi, who gave the movie a rating of 2/5. In her review for The News Minute, Sowmya Rajendran awarded the film a 2/5 rating. She stated, "The stunts are indeed bulimia, but the movie becomes a kodumai with its wacky script and poor characterization." The review site Bollywood Hungama gave the movie a 2/5 rating and stated, "VALIMAI [Hindi] suffers from its long running time and convoluted plot. At the BO, the Hindi version might have trouble.
Every character in Valimai, including Huma and both of the brothers, feels like an afterthought with no substance, according to Lakshmi Subramanian of The Week, who gave the movie a 2/5 grade. Either all the characters are for the hero, or all the characters are against the hero. With only motorcycles and cyclists again in the second half, it is a long and exhausting portion. Additionally, the misery is heightened by Ajith's expressionless face, according to Scroll. In, who gave the movie a 2/5 rating, "Valimai has trouble kicking into gear," except for a few heart-pounding action sequences and a villain almost equally as strong as the hero. "Ajith Kumar's Film Is a Shoddily Produced Tepid Affair," declared Aditya Shrikrishna of The Quint in his review of the movie with a 2/5 grade. The film offers little to offer other viewers a cinematic experience, according to Nishad Thaivalappil of News18, who also claimed that "Thala Ajith fans will love Valimai."
The Ajith Kumar-starrer would have been a hit movie, according to Haricharan Pudipeddi of the Hindustan Times, if it had only been concerned with delivering action thrills. According to Srivatsan S of The Hindu, "Valimai" confirms our belief that H Vinoth may be the best Indian director to write, choreograph, and carry out action sequences with a larger vision and purpose. "Theeran Adhigaram Ondru" may have shown that Vinoth could do action, but "Valimai" reaffirms our belief that Vinoth may be the best Indian filmmaker who can do this.
Many film fans have observed Valimai's influence even before its release, and the hashtag #ValimaiUpdate has become a popular subject on Twitter. Regarding this, Boney Kapoor noted the actor's fan base. In an interview with The Hindu, he stated that even while Ajith fans had every right to inquire for updates on the movie, "I did not want to mislead them. I wished to distribute the material only when there was anything tangible available. Celebrities from the film industry, athletes, politicians, and media outlets were all inspired by this trend.
Ravichandran Ashwin provided the information in an online discussion after a fan asked him and Moeen Ali about the movie during the second test match between India and England in Chennai. The politician Vanathi Srinivasan also stated that the audience might learn more about the movie when she wins the 2021 election for the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly. Election Commission's Tamil Nadu division promoted the #ValimaiUpdate campaign on the need to encourage everyone to cast a ballot, which impacted the elections. The movie broke records previously held by Baahubali 2: The Conclusion (2017) and Avengers: Endgame (2019) in February 2022 by crossing over 2 million interest thresholds on the online ticketing platform BookMyShow. According to a year-end survey report issued by Twitter in December 2021, Valimai was the second-most tweeted-about movie in India. To turn the movie into a franchise, Boney Kapoor discussed his ideas for a sequel and other future installments in an interview with Pinkvilla. He said the likelihood of a sequel would rely on how well the movie does at the box office and how well the audience responds.