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Vaathi review: Despite flaws, Dhanush's earnest presence lifts this film which stresses on quality education

The movie touches upon a pertinent topic and makers do justice to it to a good extent. However, weak characters and lack of gripping conflicts leave you upset

Vaathi review: Despite flaws, Dhanush's earnest presence lifts this film which stresses on quality education

A still from Vaathi

  • Thinkal Menon

Last Updated: 07.33 AM, Feb 17, 2023

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Story: Three engineering students from Vellore in Tamil Nadu set out to find the details of an earnest teacher who changed the lives of many students two decades ago. They come across a district collector in Andhra Pradesh who delineates the struggles the teacher went through to impart free and quality education to under-privileged youngsters in a village. This further elevates the curiousity of the aspiring engineers. Where is the selfless tutor now? 


Review: Making a bilingual and catering to both Tamil and Telugu audience is a challenging task and we have examples of many such attempts turning out to be unsuccessful in recent times. The promo videos of Venky Atluri's Vaathi (Sir in Telugu), starring Dhanush in titular role, hinted at the filmmaker trying to present a subject in such a way that it appeals to film buffs in Kollywood and Tollywood.

The movie begins with three students of a reputed engineering college who come across a two decade-old video cassette which has a teacher imparting quality education to his students. Quite inspired by his dedication and selfless nature, the students set out to find his details in Andhra Pradesh and listen to his inspiring life journey from a district collector.

Dhanush in Vaathi
Dhanush in Vaathi

The major positive aspect of Vaathi is the message it gives away without being preachy. The importance of education is highlighted through effective and relatable sequences, though a few of them turn out to be predictable. Dhanush single-handedly lifts some of the scenes with his presence.

The role of an ambitious teacher, who hails from a lower middle-class family, fighting against several odds to realize his dreams is safe in the hands of the actor. Be it the helplessness of the character or the effortlessness with which he pulls off emotional scenes, Dhanush proves again that he is class apart in depicting the boy-next-door role.

GV Prakash's background score is adequate enough to elevate some of the emotional sequences involving students and their parents. Yuvaraj's visuals are pleasing and succeeds to an extent in striking a balance between Tamil and Telugu nativity.

Samuthirakani's role as an educational entrepreneur, who is hell-bent on commercializing the education sector is convincing, but the character doesn't have a proper conclusion which makes the hero-villain conflict unengaging after a point. The likes of Sai Kumar, Aadukalam Naren, Tanikella Bharani and Hareesh Peradi register their presence, but their characters aren't etched out to the extent to which we could connect with their woes.

A still from Vaathi
A still from Vaathi

Samyuktha is okayish as the concerned teacher who motivates the protagonist and scores in scenes which require notable chemistry with Dhanush. Hyper Aadi and Sha Ra do not leave much impact while Ken Karunas and Sumanth come up with effective performances. 

A lion's share of the sequences happen in the 90s and Venky Atluri has done justice in terms of transporting the audience to the time period where people weren't much aware of the importance of education in villages. The film also touches upon the significance of imparting education to girls and abolishing the evilness associated with the caste system.

The stunt sequences choreographed by Venkat are neat, but do not appear organic. Director Venky manages to incorporate commercial elements at regular intervals, and it works to a good extent.

Verdict: Vaathi is a decent outing and has elements that cater to all sections of audience. Dhanush's presence is the USP of the movie which handles a pertinent issue elevated by honest emotions.