Although the movie by director Venky Atluri has an intriguing idea in the beginning, its flaws include an inconsistent writing and a terrible use of Dhanush.
Vaathi (Tamil) / Sir (Telugu)
Director: Venky Atluri
Cast: Dhanush, Samyuktha, Samuthirakani, Ken Karunas, Sai Kumar, and ensemble.
Runtime: 139 minutes
Storyline: When an assistant teacher from a private school is sent to a government school to serve as a full-time teacher, he discovers layers of issues that plague the students and a bigger conspiracy at play
Review of the film Vaathi: Dhanush’s right to education drama does poorly
The pattern that runs throughout Venky Atluri’s Vaathi (or SIR in Telugu) becomes apparent minutes into the movie. In a casual, sombre manner, Venky opens the tale. Three youngsters unearth a box of video cassettes in the year 2022. As the video is played, we can see an instructor writing some trigonometric sums on a chalkboard from behind. It’s Dhanush (of course), and he even makes a quick half-second turn towards the camera. The highly anticipated mass introduction photo fails. Does a half-second matter? The guys are led to a District Collector’s office by the mystery surrounding the tapes, and Venky once more depicts Dhanush staring directly at us in a wall-mounted photograph.
While Venky’s casual usage of songs throughout the first half of the movie conveys the same suppressed intensity as the intro’s sombre and interesting tone, the idea of a complete movie following the same pattern is exciting. Because there is no setup for the first song, the excellent dancer in Dhanush steps back; he strolls along the street and nonchalantly shakes a leg without anybody noticing. And in the middle of the beautiful song Vaa Vaathi, Venky delivers a sombre story of how a school is converted into a temple for the underprivileged groups that are not permitted inside temples. These concepts are wonderful.
However, Vaathi is full of singular concepts that instantly find their evil counterpart; this is only half of the pattern. That is, by adding elements that are not necessary, the movie continues removing itself. The restraint in the opening images, for instance, is evident when a giant name card for Dhanush first emerges and then disappears when the appropriate time has elapsed. Similarly, it appears unequal to use GV Prakash’s outstanding scores.
The 1990s are the time period for the movie, which is set in the border town of Sozhavaram between Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. According to a government agreement with Thirupathi Coaching Centre’s chairman Srinivasa Thirupathi, the role of Balamurugan played by Dhanush is transferred as a full-time mathematics teacher to a government school in Sozhavaram (Samuthirakani). But, Thirupathi has his own objectives; by sending these “third-grade” teachers to government institutions, he hopes to assure the success of his own students.
But, Balamurugan naturally has a good intention, and he starts by making sure the pupils show up to class, then gathers them together and teams up against Thirupathi. Now, the geographical and historical settings unquestionably aid in telling this narrative; the absence of modern transportation, the internet, and communication technologies, together with the choice to situate the film in a border town, all contribute to its success. Nevertheless, the movie eventually ceases conveying the atmosphere of the time period, and certain sequences have poor lip syncs.
Vaathi is a movie in which the hero uses modest means to achieve greatness, but the undemanding screenplay only provides a few payoffs, despite several sequences being well-set up. The script also needs more moments like the one when Bala shows how caste is pointless and the classroom transforms into a microcosm of society; if there were more of them, we would have seen something like to the 2007 American film Freedom Writers.
The movie also has a lot of one-dimensional characters that once had promise. The Tanikella Bharani and Hareesh Peradi characters don’t feel the plot to be worthwhile. The screenplay places Muthu, played by Ken Karunas, in several intriguing situations, while Meenakshi, played by Samyuktha, is reduced to a non-player. When it comes to the actor at the centre of it all, you can only feel bad for Dhanush since he does attempt to support the movie by himself, even during its average sections. However, there isn’t enough information on paper to support him.
The film’s noble message is made obvious by the filmmaker Venky’s meta-comment that, if necessary, even a movie theatre may offer education. You just wish the narrative was as nimble and swerving as Dhanush’s folded half-sleeves and fountain pen.
Vaathi (or SIR) is currently running in theatres