After striking a lean patch in his last couple of films, director Saran was keen to bounce back. In Modhi Vilayadu, a glossy and stylish film, Saran has tried hard to regain his touch but the end result is no different from his earlier films.
Saran, in his pursuit to make a hit movie, has relied on the actors and what they are best at -- Vinay`s casanova act, Kalabhavan Mani`s mimic skills, V.M.C. Haneefa`s spontaneous reactions and Santhanam`s spoofs -- and they have all been used well.
But the surprise element is Kajal Agarwal, who manages to combine good looks with a gritty performance. The young actress almost carries the otherwise dull first half on her shoulders alone.
Rajan Vasudev (Kalabhavan Mani) is a top jet-setting businessman. His son Udhay Vasudev (Vinay) stays in Chennai with his friend Madhan (Yuva) and leads a luxurious life. Fearing his business rivals, Rajan is always protective about his son and appoints security guards from abroad for his safety.
One day, Udhay comes across Eswari (Kajal Agarwal), a student. But he meets with an accident following a callous act of Eswari and forces her to work in his house and do domestic chores to compensate the loss he sustained in the mishap.
His friend Madhan develops a soft corner for Eswari and later so does Udhay. Both the friends set out to solve the issue with Eswari when tragedy strikes. Rajan`s business rivals hire a hitman and try to bump off Udhay. But he escapes and Madhan gets killed instead.
Many surprises await Udhay in the next couple of days. He is thrown out of his house, his rivals are behind him and a clueless Udhay runs from pillar to post. Eventually he manages to meet Rajan only to know the truth -- a shocking revelation about his identity. And Udhay, who has become a pawn in Rajan`s gamble, is on the cross roads.
The rest of the movie deals with how Udhay, motivated by Eswari, teaches Rajan a lesson. In the company of his friends (Haneefa and Santhanam), he embarks on a mission and eventually emerges victorious.
The film is stylish from the word go. Saran has managed to provide an unexpected twist in the second half but fails to make it engrossing. The pre-interval portion is filled with nonsensical sequences. Had Saran provided a few interesting sequences that form the premise for the more serious things to come, the movie would have been engaging.
The second half is much better but lacks the vibrancy needed for a cat and mouse game. As a result, the film ends up as a stylish and spectacular fare that lacks genuine elements to have audiences glued to their seats.
Cinematographer Karun`s soft lens sets the tone from the first frame. Due credit should be given to Colonial Cousins (Hariharan and Leslie) for their music. Their tunes strike a chord with the audience, especially the title song. S Ramakrishnan`s dialogue are cool and trendy.
Vinay has played his part well. He is casual and his transformation in the second-half is good. The trio of Kalabhavan Mani, Haneefa and Santhanam deliver well.
Saran has tried hard to make an all-out entertainer but he hasn`t succeeded as the script goes wayward in the first half and turns unconvincing in the second. A stylish yet dull fare.