Two-hero films are tricky and challenging propositions to conquer. They can either work like a dream or turn terribly awry. While a double dose of star power plays a huge part in elevating a dual hero flick, there are multiple factors that need to align cohesively to make it worth its salt. The most important aspects among these is the ability of the collaborators to transcend egos and delve into the core of their characters while never outshining their equally charismatic counterpart. This is the fine line that could tip the scales of success in films of this nature. In this regard, there have been so many unforgettable films featuring huge stars of repute who have slid effortlessly into each other's spaces to give us classic cinematic masterpieces. But the one in recent years that has struck an indelible chord with me is the Tamil thriller Vikram Vedha directed by filmmakers Pushkar and Gayatri.
If I could choose just one reason to watch Vikram Vedha, it would be the delectable pairing of R Madhavan and Vijay Sethupathi – a brilliant casting coup if there ever was one! Being a huge fan of both men and their contrasting styles and approach to their craft, I was intrigued to see how this collaboration of two dynamic acting powerhouses panned out. The story, borrowed from the framework of the popular moral myth of King Vikramaditya's intellectual challenges with the imaginary ghost Betaal, is set as a cop-gangster showdown. Vijay Sethupathi's Vedha is the proverbial Betaal on the back of Madhavan's Vikram, questioning his moral compass, challenging his concept of right and wrong, and constantly blurring the thin line that separates the good and bad.
And it is a match made in heaven! Both artists slip into their roles with infinite ease and exhibit sparkling chemistry together through their cat and mouse games and verbal sparring. While Madhavan brings his quintessential pan-India appeal to his cop persona Vikram, Sethupathi's Vedha is rooted strongly in the southern soil and this duality plays out lucidly and seamlessly. The director duo of Pushkar and Gayatri also paint myriad shades of grey not just on the canvas of Vedha but on the externally upright Vikram as well, thus tweaking the traditionally tangible concepts of protagonist and antagonist.
Another important factor that contributes to the the film's success is its brisk pace and taut screenplay, which are thankfully not marred by unnecessary love interests and songs. The directors instead put the onus solely on the two primary actors to deliver a narrative without frills, and Madhavan and Sethupathi respond amply. In addition, the impressive background score works as a perfect foil to the thrilling events that unfold, lending a sense of urgency and punch that elevates and enhances the ambience of the film.
In movies of this genre, it is easy to be critical of loopholes in the writing but the directors do a good job of connecting the dots and they give us a well-rounded film shouldered by the two solid leads and a consistent supporting cast. The film ends on an exciting but inconclusive note, sparking thoughts of the possibility of a sequel (which is yet to be confirmed). I would put my money behind this franchise and this inspired pairing to entertain us further. Vikram Vedha is completely paisa vasool, and a shining example of how to correctly envision and execute a two hero blockbuster.