Velan Movie Review

In an early scene in Velan, the protagonist, the titular Velan (Mugen Rao, who makes a confident debut) goes to enrol in college and is given an application form to fill up.

But since he doesn't know English, he ends up copying a girl's application, even marking Female under sex. If you find such a scenario to be amusing, you will be entertained by Velan for the most part.

On the other hand, if you find this far-fetched and silly, steer clear of this film, unless hate-watching is your cup of tea.

The plot revolves around Velan, who gets into the bad books of his father Palanisamy (Prabhu, lending dignity to the role), a big shot in his village, on account of his privileged behaviour.

He falls in love with his college mate Ananya (Meenakshi Govindarajan), a Malayali. A mix-up results in his father fixing Velan's match with Vidusha (Mariya Vincent), who is also a Malayali girl from his college.

Can Velan and Mammukka Dineshan (Soori, who entertains in a kidnapping scene), Vidusha's lover, clear this confusion without hurting his father, especially when the girl's father (Thambi Ramaiah, in over-the-top mode) and Velusamy (Harish Peradi, in yet another clichéd bad guy character), who holds a grudge against Velan's family, are plotting to embarrass Palanisamy?

Velan is the kind of film where the entire story would end in a couple of minutes if only the characters choose to talk with each other and explain a mistaken identity and clear things.

But they only keep adding more to the confusion with their actions. It also earnestly believes naivety is enough to make a protagonist endearing to audiences.

It also thinks female characters should exist solely for the hero or the villain's sake with no agency of their own.

And the villain should be a guy who has bitter enmity towards the hero and his family, but will have a change of heart in an instance. In essence, it is effectively a throwback to the films of the mid-90s (think Murai Maaman or Maaman Magal).

In some ways, this is a good thing as you can end up with a passable entertainer. But on the other hand, the film might seem too simplistic and unrewarding.

Velan exists somewhere in between these two experiences. It is not a film one can whole-heartedly recommend, but at the same time, it is not exactly bad. Is it glass-half-full or glass-half-empty for you?