|Directed by||M. Raja|
|Produced by||V. Ravichandran|
|Written by||Subha (dialogues )|
|Screenplay by||M. Raja
R. T. Neason
|Story by||M. Raja|
|Music by||Vijay Antony|
|Edited by||V. T. Vijayan|
|Distributed by||Aascar Film Pvt. Ltd
|Box office||₹600 million|
Velayudham is a 2011 Tamil action masala film written and directed by M. Raja. It stars Vijay in the title role, Abhimanyu Singh as the main antagonist and Genelia D'Souza Hansika Motwani in lead roles, alongside Saranya Mohan and Santhanam in supporting roles.
The film revolves around a villager who arrives in the city to collect money, is forced to take upon the disguise of superhero and starts to eradicate the evils that pertains within the society such as corruption, prostitution, terrorism etc. In the process, he loses his younger sister. The rest of the story is how Velu avenges the death of his sister and thwarts the plans of a terrorist and an evil minister who is behind the misdeeds.
Velayudham released on 26 October 2011 to positive reviews and became a major commercial success among Tamil Diwali releases despite competition with 7aum Arivu. The movie went on to complete its 100-day theatrical run on 3 February 2012 at many centers. The movie was dubbed into Hindi as Super Hero Shahenshah. The movie was declared a blockbuster and went on to become one of the top grossing films of 2011.
The film opens up in Pakistan with a blind folded person (Vineet Kumar) being dragged by a few terrorists. He is brought to the leader of the gang Musafir Ibrahim (Abhimanyu Singh) and is identified as Ulaganathan, the Home Minister of Tamil Nadu. Further plans are revealed when the gang strikes a hefty deal with him for planting a series of bombs in Chennai. Soon, a bomb explodes in a bus in Chennai, killing many innocent people. A group of three journalists, including Bharathi (Genelia D'Souza), commit to eradicating terrorism and other social ills in the country after completing their Journalism course. One night, Bharathi and her two friends secretly film the illegal activities like creation of explosives and women trafficking happening in a secluded house. However, the journalists' presence is detected and their escape attempt results in the deaths of both her friends and injury to Bharathi. But after the attack on Bharathi and her friends, the goons' vehicle explodes due to a small mishap when a matchstick falls over petrol packets stored in the vehicle. Bharathi, already stabbed by one of the goons, comes up with a new idea to eradicate terrorism by creating a fictional character called Velayudham, and writes a note that he wants to clean up the city of bad guys and that he will stop the next bomb from hurting anyone before falling unconscious.
Menawhile, the real Velayudham a.k.a. Velu (Vijay) is a milk vendor in a village called Pavunoor. He has a sister Kaveri (Saranya Mohan) whom he loves dearly and a cousin Vaidehi (Hansika Motwani) who is crazy about him and even seduces him.Though the brother-sister duo create a lot of trouble for the villagers, they are still adored by them. They, along with a couple of village friends, go to Chennai to collect money from a chit fund for his sister's marriage. At the Chennai Egmore railway station, a petty thief Speedu (Santhanam) steals the money. Velu chases him on a bike which was parked on the railway station platform, eventually getting back the money. Unknown to him, the bike had a bomb planted on it, which explodes within seconds of him getting down from the bike and getting back his money, thus inadvertently thwarting a terror attack. Within the next couple of days, he inadvertently prevents more bomb blasts and helps catch terrorists, becoming a sensation over time. He even manages to save Bharathi in one of the incidents.
Bharathi soon realises that Velu is the guy who has been accidentally doing the work of Velayudham. Bharathi meets him, explains and asks him to become the fictional character, however he refuses. Later, Velu goes to draw cash from the chit fund but the company cheats him off his money. Outside the chit fund company, the people who were cheated by the company protest, vowing that Velayudham will come as their saviour. Velu seeing this decides to take upon the avatar of Velayudham and starts to eradicate the evils that pertains within the society such as corruption, prostitution, terrorism etc. In time, Bharathi falls in love with Velu, which he does not return as he is in love with Vaidehi.
Trouble however lurks in the form of Musafir. He plans a terrorist attack on a chemical factory. However, Velu thwarts these plans and gains the support of Assistant Commissioner Feroz Khan (Sayaji Shinde), who was initially sceptical of Velayudham.
Soon, Velu, Speedu and Bharathi come to Pavunoor for Kaveri's marriage. Unknown to them, one of the terrorists involved in the failed terrorist attack on the chemical factory had followed them to the village to take revenge on Velu. Feroz Khan tries to warn Velu about this, but is murdered by the police commissioner, who is Ulaganathan's right-hand man. The terrorist plants a bomb in Velu's house and only Kaveri detects it, but the bomb explodes before she can get rid of it, killing her. In revenge, Velu returns to Chennai and kills Musafir, who is to be revealed as Velayudham by Ulaganathan, in a gruelling encounter at the Nehru Stadium, exposes Ulaganathan's misdeeds and finally reveals himself as Velayudham to the world.
The film was launched on 15 July 2010 at the Madras University campus. Genelia D'Souza who had acted opposite Vijay in Sachein was chosen for the role of a journalist, and Hansika Motwani was chosen to portray Vijay's love interest, while Saranya Mohan would play sister to Vijay's character. Art director Veera Samar also was roped in to play a journalist. While Santhanam and M. S. Baskar were chosen to play the comedy lead in the film, Sayaji Shinde, Vineetkumar and Abhimanyu Singh were selected to play negative roles. Tom Delmar, who had worked as a stunt coordinator in several Hollywood films, joined the crew to choreograph the stunts in the film. Due to his commitment to Velayudham, Vijay almost lost his role in S. Shankar's Nanban. He had walked out of Nanban, since the two films demanded two completely different looks, however, he joined the film later as the scenes involving the protagonist were reserved to be shot later. R. T. Neason who earlier directed Muruga (2007) and went on to direct Vijay in Jilla (2014) worked as a second unit director.
Filming was carried out primarily at three locations, Southern Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the last schedule in Chennai. A song sequence choreographed by Shobi that was originally to be shot in Switzerland was canned in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, with Genelia and Hansika filming alongside Vijay. Tom Delmar, the stunt co-ordinator of projects such as Braveheart, has been behind the shooting of an extremely tricky train sequence for Velayudham. It has been shot on a train moving on a bridge Vijay performed the very risky sequence coolly.The Director said "A slight miss and the actor could fall 100 feet below! "A very risky sequence, but Vijay did it coolly. My heart was in my mouth when it was being filmed,".This stunt has been taken in the location Rayagada in Orissa. while another fight sequence was filmed at Golkonda fort, Hyderabad. The audiography was done by M. R. Rajakrishnan and film's dubbing was done in Four Frames Recording Studio in Chennai.
Themes and influences
The film has been widely reported to be a remake of the 2000 Telugu film Azad that starred Soundarya as a journalist and Akkineni Nagarjuna as a villager, incidentally the roles played by Genelia and Vijay, respectively. However, director M. Raja claimed that it was not a remake but his own story. He later admitted that Azad served as the inspiration and that he had penned a new screenplay. Vijay had signed up to appear in a village action story titled Velan in 2001 to be directed by Thirupathisamy, the director of Azad, which was postponed indefinitely after the death of the director. Raja told his cast that it was inspired by Azad and requested them to not watch the original. Post the film's release, Raja said that his brother Jayam Ravi had help him in improving the script. Another reported influence for the film was the superhero costume worn by Vijay's character, which was believed to have been "loosely borrowed" from the Assassin's Creed video game series, bearing a resemblance to the robes of young Altaïr, one of the protagonists in the series, leading to criticism of the film being "copied" from the video game.
|Soundtrack album to Velayudham by Vijay Antony|
|Released||28 August 2011|
|Genre||Feature film soundtrack|
|Label||Sony Music Entertainment|
|Vijay Antony chronology|
The soundtrack is scored by Vijay Antony. The audio right was bought by Sony Music for huge amount. The soundtrack consists of 6 tracks and was released on 28 August 2011, at CSI Grounds in Madurai, attended by thousand of Vijay fans. Vijay, Hansika Motwani, S. A. Chandrasekhar, Vijay Antony, Viveka, and several distributors and theatre owners were present in function. In a press statement Ashok Parwani, Sony Music Entertainment Chennai, said, "We are overwhelmed with the response the movie and the music have received. Velayudham has broken all records and we have sold all our units within a day of its launch. The soundtracks are original, soulful and memorable. We’re sure that the compositions will go down in history as some of the best melodies of our times."
The audio launch was held in Madurai on 28 August.
|1.||"Rathathin Rathame"||Annamalai||Haricharan, Srimathumitha||4:38|
|2.||"Molachu Moonu"||Vivega||Prasanna, Supriya Joshi||4:52|
|3.||"Chillax"||Annamalai||Karthik, Charulatha Mani||4:25|
|4.||"Mayam Seidhayo"||Vivega||Sangeetha Rajeshwaran||4:14|
|5.||"Sonna Puriyadhu"||Siva Shanmugam||Vijay Antony, Veera Shankar||5:39|
|6.||"Vela Vela Velayutham"||Priyan||Vijay Antony, Mark||1:16|
The soundtrack positive reviews and the clash between Vijay and Ajith fans ended up with the release of this movie and mankatha as the both stars movie had a scene showing their friendship between them, with critics recommending the album for Vijay's fans. Pavithra Srinivasan of Rediff gave it 2 out of 5 stating "Vijay Antony plays it safe mostly, with the result that there's nothing new." P. G. Devi from Behindwoods gave it 2.5 out of 5 and said "Vijay Antony continues to flaunt his success this time around with Velayutham. The album has a bunch of entertaining soundtrack like, 'Molachu moonu', 'Mayam Seidhayo' and usual mass beat tracks 'Sonna Puriyadhu' and 'Vela Vela'." Prakash Upadhyaya from Oneindia.in said "Vijay Antony's music has met the expectations of the audience. The album has all kinds of songs and the music director has targeted the mass as well as class listeners". Indiaglitz said "the music album [...] presents us a variety fare, however with the main target being the 'mass audience'", labelling it as a "food festival for the appetite of Vijay fans, who are craving for mass masala numbers from their hero".
The film was given a "U" (Universal) certificate by the Indian Censor Board on 13 October 2011 and the theatrical trailer was released in October 2011 to positive response. The film was initially supposed to be released on 22 June, coinciding with Vijay's birthday, but was postponed due to delay in production.
Velayudham released on 26 October 2011, during the Deepavali festival and had a tough competition with Ra.One and 7aum Arivu. The film was released with over 820 prints worldwide. It also saw a release in about 100 theaters in Karnataka and 120 theaters in Kerala.
Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV), a pro-Kannada outfit, requested all the theatres in the state not to screen any non-Kannada movie on the occasion of Kannada Rajyaotsava Day but some of the cinema halls did not take their plea seriously, which irked the KRV activists to show their anger against the Tamil film. However, the theatre authorities realised that the situation might reach out of control and hence, they agreed to cancel all the shows of the day. The film was distributed by producer K Manju in Karnataka.
As per overseas distributor Ayngaran International, the film released in 17 theatres in UK. The US theatrical rights were acquired by GK Media. The film's theatrical distribution rights were sold for ₹40 crore.
The film opened to positive reviews from critics. Sify gave the film 4.0 out of 5 and called it a "paisa vassol film", stating that the film was a "perfect outing with family, but far too long in length". Rediff.com gave the film 2.5 out of 5,and called it a "paisa vassol film" " CNN-IBN defined the film as a "must watch" and "treat for Vijay fans". Indiaglitz labelled it a "racy entertainer this Deepavali season" and cited it was a "right choice for the festival mood". The Times of India gave the film 3.5 out of 5 stars, and concluded that Velayudham is sure to add to his box-office muscle. Behinds woods named the film a "Complete mass entertainer spiced up by Vijay" and gave the film 3 out of 5 as well. Similarly Oneindia.in described it as a "complete masala entertainer", highlighting its story and "amazing action-sequences" with a rating of 4 out of five stars. Nowrunning.com rated it 2.5/5, writing: "Velayudham, part comedy part action sails through both streams smoothly until it is struck and sunk by crude melodrama". The Hindu stated that the film "simply enters and entertains" and that Raja had "churned out reasonably engaging fare", adding that it had a "strong story, a neat screenplay arresting action, admirable dance movements, one or two hum-worthy numbers and the ever-helpful sister sentiment". Indo-Asian News Service gave the film 3.5 out of 5, citing that it "defies all logic, but has the magic of the star called Vijay". The Movie was dubbed in Hindi as Superhero Shehanshah.
Velayudham took a big opening on Diwali day. The film topped the overseas box office, forcing the producers to release more prints. In its opening weekend, spanning five days, the film grossed ₹2.1 crore in Chennai. According to trade sources, the film grossed ₹19 crore in Tamil Nadu and around ₹40 crore during the first week worldwide. On 28 October 2011, two days after its release, Vijay, Vijay Antony and director Raja met the press at a hotel in Chennai to celebrate the success of the film.The total collections in Chennai amounted to ₹7.75 crore in seven weeks. Velayudham also grossed ₹5.20 crore in Kerala during its complete run.
Velayudham was a relatively high grosser in Europe and North America, with Taran Adarsh, a Bollywood film critic highlighting that the film was "rocking internationally". Velayudham collected a total of £5,244 in UK. In Australia too, the film collected A$7,175.
Velayudham was honored with the Best Film Award at V4 Entertainment Awards 2011. Velayudham won the honours in the Best Musician category too. Actor Vijay received Edison Award for Best Actor and Superstar Rajini Award in the year 2012 for Velayudham. Vijay received "Hero of the year" award at the 7th Variety award 2011 held on 16 December 2012.
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