Cinema today has opened up so much that a hero no longer strictly be the goodie chocolate boy. He can be the anti hero or even villain if he wishes to and carry it off. Along the same lines, it is now accepted that those who restricted their entertaining performance to comedy alone are shaping up as mainstream actors and some of them have grown up to be producers too. Coming from the house of Handmade Films and PVP Cinemas, by Studio Green, with 'Vallavanukku Pullum Aayudham', Santhanam becomes a full time hero involving himself in equal amount of romance, masala and action as much as comedy.
Since 1923, all eyes have been on 'Our Hospitality'; four years ago, Telugu director Rajamouli tweaked the story a bit to suit Indian taste and gave Tollywood one of its most celebrated blockbusters, 'Maryadha Ramanna'. Later, it got viral across the country and paved way for the film by same name in Kannada, 'Faande Poriya Boga Kande Re', 'Son of Sardar' and now 'Vallavanukku Pullum Aayudham' has rolled out. With the story unaltered and just a little modification to fit it into Tamil scenario, the flick has launched Santhanam as a hero.
Shakthi (Santhanam) is a hardworking lad, quite stingy about his expenses, given his family position. He is in for a surprise when he discovers that his parents have left a piece of land back in his mother's native. He doesn't will to wait any longer and sets out to take a look at that property so that he can make arrangements to sell it, and invest the money in buying a better vehicle. But he is warned not to go to his native fearing a 27-year old family grudge which may lead to his death. However, he doesn't pay heed to it, given that too much time has passed to hold tight to a grudge any more.
In his train to native, he meets Vanathi (Ashna), a graduate returning home after college, who is passionate about painting. Vanathi is impressed how simple yet strikingly entertaining Shakthi is. After reaching the village, Shakthi is directed to meet the head man (Nagineedu), under whose control the entire village is. Being a warm host to everyone, the head man's family treats guests with devotion. And hence, Shakthi is invited home for lunch and he discovers that Vanathi is the head man's daughter. The family of the head man and his two sons are known and feared for their rowdyism but there is one strict principle that they all follow - not even a drop of blood shall be shed inside the house, and hence they refrain from animosity inside the house as they worship it like a temple.
Shakthi chances upon an old family photo album which has his parents' photos. He discovers that they were indeed related to the family, but just then he also over hears the two brothers plotting to kill him for a murder that his father was responsible for. Shocked, Shakthi tries to escape, but realises that the only way out of the problem is to stay inside the house, taking the family's no-kill-at-home policy to his advantage. How he manages to save his life by doing everything possible not to step out of the house makes up the rest of the movie.
Justification of the title happens in the protagonist's adept usage of every excuse that he could find that demonstrates his survival instincts. Comic actor Srinath stamps his mark as a director, with this film. Though the story is a first-copy remake of Rajamouli's 'Maryadha Ramanna', Srinath has ensured to add Tamil touches to the film, and also give Santhanam his space as an independent performer that he is. Santhanam is known for his signature one liners and time sense of humour, and he has demonstrated it generously in this film. He is involved in action sequence, masala and a little bit of romance too, but like always, his sense of humour is the attribute that hogs the limelight. Ashna is making her debut in film career with this film, and her performance is subtle and natural. She has performed well and deserves credits for her dialogue delivery. Senthil plays an interesting role in the film, and his is a character that the audience can develop instant liking to, for his casual attitude and simplicity. Nagineedu is an award winning actor known for his prowess as a villain, and he proves it yet again in his confidence and anger as a brother seeking revenge and his simplicity as a generous host.
The key plus points of the film are the art direction and music. Shakthi and Richard have done a tremendous job in capturing the key emotions and also the magnanimity of the house and the protagonist's problem. Though there are a few portions where graphics could have gone better, the overall picture is not spoilt. As for music, Siddharth Vipin marks his stand again, after 'Idharkuthaane Aasaipattai Balakumara'. His tunes are unique and the score is creative for every emotion portrayed in the movie. However, the number of songs could have been brought down on screen, as there seem to be too many amidst the tension that prevails. While comedy has predominately garnered healthy response, the first half of the film falls flat in many places. All said, 'Vallavanukku Pullum Aayudham' is lighthearted and is good one for a blockbuster's remake.
Rating: 2.6/5 - Exempt the hitches, it is good for a one time watch