Velayudham

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Velayutham
Velayutham poster.jpg
Directed by M. Raja
Produced by V. Ravichandran
Written by Subha (dialogues )
Screenplay by M. Raja
R. T. Neason
Story by M. Raja
Starring Vijay
Genelia D'Souza
Hansika Motwani
Abhimanyu Singh
Saranya Mohan
Santhanam
Soori
Vineet Kumar
Music by Vijay Antony
Cinematography Priyan
Edited by V. T. Vijayan
Production
company
Distributed by Aascar Film Pvt. Ltd
Ayngaran International
GK Media(USA)
ASM Media(CH)
Release dates
  • 26 October 2011 (2011-10-26)
Running time
166 minutes
Country India
Language Tamil
Budget 450 million[1]
Box office 600 million[1]

Velayudham is a 2011 Indian Tamil masala film written and directed by M. Raja.[2] It stars Vijay in the title role, alongside Genelia D'Souza, Hansika Motwani, Abhimanyu Singh, 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[3] and became a major commercial success among Tamil Diwali releases despite competition with 7aum Arivu.[4] The movie went on to complete its 100-day theatrical run on 3 February 2012 at many centers.[5] 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.[6]

Plot[edit]

A young journalist Bharathi (Genelia D'Souza), along with two of her friends, investigate a series of terrorist attacks which have taken place in Chennai and also illegal activities like women trafficking. When they are caught video-recording illicit activities happening in a secluded house one night by a group of thugs, they attempt to flee from them. While Bharathi's friends are killed, Bharathi manages to escape despite being stabbed by one of the thugs. But after the attack on Bharathi and her friends, the thugs' vehicle explodes due to a small mishap when a matchstick falls over petrol packets stored in the vehicle, killing all the thugs. Bharathi comes up with a new idea to eradicate society's evils by creating and propagating a fictional character called "Velayudham" who wants to clean up the city of terrorism and other illegal activities.

The scene then shifts to a village called Pavunoor, where a milk vendor named Velayudham aka Velu (Vijay) is residing with his younger sister Kaveri (Saranya Mohan), whom he loves dearly. One day, Velu, Kaveri and their cousin Vaidehi (Hansika Motwani), who is infatuated by Velu, leave for Chennai to collect money from a chit fund for Kaveri's marriage. At the Chennai Egmore railway station, Velu's money is stolen by Speedu (Santhanam), a petty thief. He pursues Speedu on a motorbike parked at the station and manages to get back his money, but moments after alighting from the bike, the bike explodes. The parked bike was meant to ensure a terrorist attack at the railway station, and thus, Velu inadvertently thwarted a deadly terrorist attack which would have killed several people. After a few more incidents where Velu unknowingly prevents more terrorist attacks, he comes to the attention of Bharathi. She convinces him to take up the role of Velayudham and provide hope to the people. In the avatar of Velayudham, Velu starts to eradicate the evils that pertain within the society such as corruption, prostitution and terrorism among others. He soon gains wide support and acceptance among the public and even the police.

A few months later, Velu returns to Pavunoor for Kaveri's marriage. Unknown to him, the leader of a terrorist group Muzamin Ibrahim (Abhimanyu Singh) follows him to the village. Ibrahim wants to kill him since he, in the garb of Velayudham, had thwarted every terrorist attack he had planned in Chennai. On the day of Kaveri's marriage, a bomb planted by Ibrahim at Velu's house explodes, killing Kaveri.

A few days after Kaveri's death, a grieving Velu learns from Bharathi that the corrupt Home Minister of Tamil Nadu Ulaganathan (Vineet Kumar) is responsible for the terrorist attacks and also Kaveri's death. He allowed Ibrahim to carry out terrorist attacks in exchange for money. He even tries to gain popularity by claiming Velayudham as his idea, planning to reveal Ibrahim as Velayudham's real identity in a function at the Nehru Stadium, Chennai. Velu returns to Chennai, kills Ibrahim, exposes Ulaganathan's misdeeds and reveals himself as Velayudham to the whole world.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Casting[edit]

The film was launched on 15 July 2010 at the Madras University campus.[9] Genelia D'Souza who had acted opposite Vijay in Sachein was chosen for the role of a journalist,[10] and Hansika Motwani was chosen to portray Vijay's love interest,[11][12] while Saranya Mohan would play sister to Vijay's character.[13] Art director Veera Samar also was roped in to play a journalist.[14] While Santhanam and M. S. Baskar were chosen to play the comedy lead in the film,[15] Sayaji Shinde, Vineetkumar and Abhimanyu Singh were selected to play negative roles.[16] Tom Delmar, who had worked as a stunt coordinator in several Hollywood films, joined the crew to choreograph the stunts in the film.[17][18] 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,[19] however, he joined the film later as the scenes involving the protagonist were reserved to be shot later.[20] R. T. Neason who earlier directed Muruga (2007) and went on to direct Vijay in Jilla (2014) worked as a second unit director.[21][22]

Filming[edit]

Filming was carried out primarily at three locations, Southern Tamil Nadu, Kerala[23] and the last schedule in Chennai.[24] A song sequence choreographed by Shobi that was originally to be shot in Switzerland was canned in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir,[25] with Genelia and Hansika filming alongside Vijay.[26] 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.[27] while another fight sequence was filmed at Golkonda fort, Hyderabad.[28] The audiography was done by M. R. Rajakrishnan and film's dubbing was done in Four Frames Recording Studio in Chennai.[29]

Themes and influences[edit]

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.[10][30] However, director M. Raja claimed that it was not a remake but his own story.[31] He later admitted that Azad served as the inspiration and that he had penned a new screenplay.[27] 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.[32] Raja told his cast that it was inspired by Azad and requested them to not watch the original.[33] Post the film's release, Raja said that his brother Jayam Ravi had help him in improving the script.[34] 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,[35] 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.[36] The film 7aum Arivu, which had released alongside Velayudham was also compared with the game.[37]

Soundtrack[edit]

Velayudham
Velayudham Audio Cover.jpg
Front Cover
Soundtrack album to Velayudham by Vijay Antony
Released 28 August 2011
Recorded Audiophiles
Genre Feature film soundtrack
Length 25:04
Language Tamil
Label Sony Music Entertainment
Producer Vijay Antony
Vijay Antony chronology
Yuvan Yuvathi
(2011)
Velayudham
(2011)
Vedi
(2011)

The soundtrack is scored by Vijay Antony. The audio right was bought by Sony Music for huge amount.[38] 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.[39] 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."[40]

The audio launch was held in Madurai on 28 August.

Tracklist
No. Title Lyrics Singer(s) Length
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
Total length:
25:04

Critical response[edit]

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."[41] 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'."[42] 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".[43] 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".[44]

Release[edit]

The film was given a "U" (Universal) certificate by the Indian Censor Board on 13 October 2011[45] and the theatrical trailer was released in October 2011 to positive response.[46] The film was initially supposed to be released on 22 June, coinciding with Vijay's birthday, but was postponed due to delay in production.[47]

Velayudham released on 26 October 2011, during the Deepavali festival and had a tough competition with Ra.One and 7aum Arivu.[48] 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.[49][49]

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.[50]

Distribution[edit]

As per overseas distributor Ayngaran International, the film released in 17 theatres in UK.[51] The US theatrical rights were acquired by GK Media.[52] The film's theatrical distribution rights were sold for 40 crore.

Home Media[edit]

The satellite rights of the film were sold to Jaya TV for a price of 4 crore.[53] Overseas DVD were marketed by Ayngaran DVD.[54]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

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".[55] Rediff.com gave the film 2.5 out of 5,and called it a "paisa vassol film" "[56] CNN-IBN defined the film as a "must watch" and "treat for Vijay fans".[57] Indiaglitz labelled it a "racy entertainer this Deepavali season" and cited it was a "right choice for the festival mood".[58] 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.[59] Behinds woods named the film a "Complete mass entertainer spiced up by Vijay" and gave the film 3 out of 5 as well.[60] 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.[61][62] 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".[63] 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".[64] 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".[65] The Movie was dubbed in Hindi as Superhero Shehanshah.

Box office[edit]

India[edit]

Velayudham took a big opening on Diwali day.[66][67][68] The film topped the overseas box office,[69] forcing the producers to release more prints.[70][71] In its opening weekend, spanning five days, the film grossed 2.1 crore in Chennai.[72] According to trade sources, the film grossed 19 crore in Tamil Nadu and around 40 crore during the first week worldwide.[73][74][75] 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.[76][77] Velayudham also grossed 5.20 crore in Kerala during its complete run.[78][79]

Overseas[edit]

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".[citation needed][80][81] Velayudham collected a total of £5,244 in UK.[82] In Australia too, the film collected A$7,175.[83]

Accolades[edit]

Velayudham was honored with the Best Film Award at V4 Entertainment Awards 2011.[84][85][86] Velayudham won the honours in the Best Musician category too.[87] Actor Vijay received Edison Award for Best Actor and Superstar Rajini Award in the year 2012 for Velayudham.[88][89][90] Vijay received "Hero of the year" award at the 7th Variety award 2011 held on 16 December 2012.[91]

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External links[edit]