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Vijay's Beast, streaming on Netflix, is not as great as the sum of its parts

Directed by Nelson Dilipkumar, Vijay’s Beast, hit the screens on April 13

  • S Subhakeerthana

Last Updated: 05.11 AM, May 11, 2022

Vijay's Beast, streaming on Netflix, is not as great as the sum of its parts

Vijay in Beast

Beast is Nelson Dilipkumar's third film, after Kolamaavu Kokila, and Doctor. Both the Nayanthara and Sivakarthikeyan-starrers worked because of the universe they were set in. Kolamaavu Kokila was likeable because Nayanthara moulded herself into the character. It was easy to relate to her as the girl-next-door. The milieu, which it was set in, was also believable. The same goes for the Sivakarthikeyan film. Whereas, the premise of Beast isn't a simple one, like Kolamaavu Kokila or Doctor. Partly, why Nelson couldn't repeat his magic for the third time.

Vijay is more of a 'star', and has limitations, as an actor. Let's be honest about it. Simply put, the quirky, ridiculous and fun approach of Nelson Dilipkumar didn't work with Vijay, as much as it did with Nayanthara or Sivakarthikeyan. Nelson puts in so much effort in setting up his scenes, but somehow, dullness follows. Maybe, it is the writing. Maybe, it is the staging of scenes. Beast falls short of being compelling.

Even the darkest situations are laced with humour in Nelson's films, which is his huge strength. The situation in Beast doesn't work much in Nelson's favour. Vijay plays Veera Raghavan, a RAW agent, who saves innocent civilians stuck in a city mall. You don't know these people, and when danger befalls them, you don’t pray anxiously for their rescue. You don't feel the jitters. You feel everything looks staged. The same old corrupt Union minister... Muslim terrorists... a hero dodging a hundred bullets... Why can't it be something different and novel? Also, why every terrorist ought to be Muslim?

Vijay gets a low-key introduction scene. He visits a therapist because he was emotionally disturbed. All that's fine, but what happens? Nelson deploys his 'jokes' there. For a fact, you know the treatment is wrong. The conversation with a psychiatrist turns into a joke, literally! A good scene gets convoluted. These things make Beast underwhelming.

Again... What's the need to show Veeraraghavan as an 'Indian James Bond'? Why can't Veeraraghavan be what he is? In a Vijay film, it is difficult; I know. I hear you out. But, someone of Vijay’s stature was deserving of a better role.

In an important scene, Vijay says he's not a politician, but a soldier. You know why he says that; don't you? No matter how Nelson tries hard, his writing doesn't make the intended impact it achieved in his previous films. Vijay is in good form, coming up with a mature and restrained performance where required, but it doesn't help, on the whole, either.

Why was Pooja Hegde cast in Beast? What value does her character add to the storyline? Only Nelson Dilipkumar should answer these questions. He tries to weave in romance within the hostage drama, but in some places, the scenes end up like a sore thumb. It looked like she was made to fit into the storyline of Beast, just because Jolly O Gymkhana and Arabic Kuthu were already ‘trending’.

A serious film like Beast needn't have those romantic portions. I strongly believe that a film is only as good as its villain. Beast doesn't have a strong antagonist; say like Siddharth Abhimanyu in Thani Oruvan. None of the supporting characters makes any kind of impression, including Yogi Babu and Redin Kingsley. There's a line about Yogi Babu's character not wearing any underwear. Yeah, you read it right. And, this wasn't the kind of humour I was expecting from Nelson Dilipkumar.

I liked VTV Ganesh's character. I burst into laughter when he says, “Chumma ellame Hindi-la translate pannitirukka mudiyadhu. Tamizh kathukko”. I was expecting Beast to have this kind of humour, instead. But, I was disappointed.

Selvaraghavan, who was terrific in Saani Kaayidham, is underutilised in Beast. So was Tom Chacko.

I wish Beast had more organic storytelling and character integration. Like any other ‘masala’ film, even in Beast, the logic takes a backseat, and at times completely disappears! Overall, the film, heavily dependent on stunts, camera work and Anirudh's jarring background score, doesn’t rise to that 'expected' potential.

(Beast is streaming on Netflix)