The buildup and marketing to Lokesh Kanagaraj's Kamal Hassan starrer "Vikram" has been nothing short of all-encompassing, driven primarily by the fact that the 36-year old young director is yet to direct a sub-par movie, with "Maanagaram (2017)", "Kaithi (2019)" and "Master (2021)", all having been well-received by audiences. And the precocious storyteller delivers, with a mazy yet continuously engaging crime saga with resounding mass elevation sequences and enough emotional hooks to keep the audience invested.
3-time National Award winner for Best Actor Kamal Hassan stars as a grieving father heartbroken at the loss of his son, who was a policeman investigating the burgeoning drug mafia in Chennai and who had, before his mysterious murder, uncovered a staggering cache of illegal drugs the syndicate safeguarded . Enter Fahadh Faasil, a black ops specialist charged with unraveling the mystery around the carnage unleashed by the cartel as a result. Vijay Sethupathi stars as the head honcho of the vicious and vengeful mafia operation and is first shown to the audience in one of the most intricately weaved, deliciously bonkers intro sequences for an antagonist in recent memory.
It is testament to Lokesh Kanagaraj's directorial genius that he manages to give his three lead actors enough room to develop their characters and build a connect with the viewers. If it is Sethupathi's quirky eccentricities that catch the eye, Fahadh's intensity weaves a subplot of its own while Kamal excels in the emotional sequences. Lokesh Kanagaraj had told us to rewatch his classic "Kaithi (2019)" before we went to theaters to watch "Vikram" and with good reason, with the two movies being intricately connected and seemingly leading up to an extensive LKU-A mouth-watering Lokesh Kanagaraj Universe! A fantastic cameo from superstar Suriya is the cherry on the cake, with the actor looking the most stylish and massy he has in years!
The director's penchant for crime thrillers, retro music and biryani continues to hold good for "Vikram" with Anirudh Ravichander's music rendering a soaring sheen to the narrative being built. The callbacks and references to old Kamal classics blend smoothly with the storytelling and are never jarring or contrived. The actor's phenomenal voice modulation and expressive eyes elevate even simple sequences to another level, especially his interactions with his toddler grandson.
Master stunt choreographer duo Anbariv continue the same rich vein of form they displayed in the KGF franchise, but this time sacrificing the larger canvas for more close-quarters, hand-to-hand combat in tight spaces. Girish Gangadharan's cinematographer is other-worldly as usual, soaking up the bone-crunching action in all its glory. Editor Philomin Raj also deserves praise for ensuring that a movie with a seemingly daunting 3 hour run-time is never boring at any stretch.
While you might see many of the plot's twists coming, the visual grammar, treatment and picturization takes your breath away, nevertheless. "Vikram" is yet another endeavor from a superstar fanboy that pays rich dividends, along the lines of Prithviraj's Mohanlal tribute "Lucifer (2019)", Karthik Subbaraj's Rajnikanth-starrer "Pettah (2019)" as well as Amal Neerad's ode to Mammootty, "Bheeshma Parvam (2022)". Highly recommended! Long live the Lokesh Kanagaraj universe!