Few filmmakers in Tamil cinema have a tried and tested formula to which they strictly adhere to when making a drama. No matter how old it gets they still hold on to it as it once had yielded success to them. Director Hari is one such director. His latest work Yaanai is about an unflinching young man trying to keep his joint family together and protect them from their spiteful adversary who is out to avenge the death of his brother. Actor Arun Vijay who was last seen in the child drama On My Dog is back on screens with his mass action masala drama Yaanai. Actress Priya Bhavani Shankar has played the female lead part. Film maker Hari has directed the flick. So, how has the mass action film Yaanai come out? Is it solid enough to bring both actor Arun Vijay and director Hari back to the winning zone? To know that let us get into the movie review.
The film is set at the backdrop of Ramanathapuram where P. R. V (Rajesh), an influential businessman in town operates several businesses. He has 4 sons. Three of whom Ramachandran (Samuthirakani), Sivachandran (Bose Venkat), and Jayachandran (Sanjeev Venkat) are from his deceased first wife. His fourth and youngest son is Ravichandran (Arun Vijay) from his second wife Muthaaram (Raadhika Sarathkumar). Ravichandran is often looked down upon by his brothers. Despite that Ravichandran loves his family, and would go to any extent to defend them. P. R. V’s family has bad blood with Samuthiram (Jayabalan), an old friend of P. R. V, who blames him for the death of his elder son. With the unquenchable urge to avenge the death of his son, he waits for an opportunity to bring down P. R. V’s family. Samuthiram another son Lingam (Ramachandra Raju) is in prison for killing a cop who killed his brother.
Ravichandran meets Jebamalar (Priya Bhavani Shankar) and falls in love with her. We have the mandatory romantic number. Meanwhile, Lingam gets out of the prison after serving his sentence. In the meantime, P. R. V’s granddaughter Selvi (Ammu Abhirami) elopes with her Muslim boyfriend. Samuthiram and Lingam take this as an opportunity to break up P. R. V’s family. Things take a drastic turn when P. R. V passed away due to embarrassment. Enraged brothers of Ravichandran join hands with Lingam and make up their mind to honor and kill Selvi. When Ravichandran learns this, he decides to step in and protect Selvi. Things get more heated. Will Ravichandran be able to save Selvi, and will he be able to keep the family together, is what makes the rest of the flick.
Yaanai crosses every box in the checklist of must have elements in director Hari’s films. A large family with its own complexities, enmity, loud dialogues, racy screenplay, sentiment, romance, and the villain has a change of heart in the end. The one-line of Yaanai – a young man enduring everything thrown at him to keep a family together and protect them – is a familiar one. In fact, more or less, it is the same plotline that of the director’s previous works Vel, Thaamirabharani, and Poojai. Though the one-line is old, he gets a little contemporary with the treatment. Considering the religious tension in the nation, here he writes a religious angle to drive home a message of secularism. And sort of conveys the significance of having to put humanity before all.
In terms of craft, it is the creator Hari that we are so used to witnessing at his prime. The filmmaker had lost his mojo in his previous two works Singam 3 and Saamy Square. In Yaanai he has resorted back to his basics and set them straight. The spotlight is completely on his lead character who is formidable and invincible. His rivals despite being brawny and fuming could not even stand a chance against him. Most characters are shaped with an excessive mix of emotional and sentimental proportions which are later milked to generate the melodrama. Having said that, Yaanai is a film by the director for his loyal fan base.
All lead characters of director Hari have a thing in common – they roar. Actor Arun Vijay has precisely done that to near perfection from the bottom of his lungs. Ravichandran seems like a tailor-made role for actor Arun Vijay. Actress Priya Bhavani Shankar has nothing much to do than recite a couple of moral lessons. Nonetheless, she does complete justice to her role. Veteran actress Raadhika Sarathkumar picks up from where she left off in the director’s previous film Poojai. Actor Samuthirakani is effective as usual. Actor Bose Venkat does what he has been doing film after film. Actors Rajesh and Thalaivasal Vijay are operational. Actress Ammu Abhirami is adequate. Comedians Yogi Babu, Pugazh, and Imman Annachi do not serve the purpose for which they were brought on board. The rest of the cast has delivered what was asked of them.
On the technical front, music director G. V. Prakash Kumar is not at his best. His songs are just passable. But he makes up for it with his ear splitting background score to elevate the mass moments and even the sentimental portions. Cinematographer S. Gopinath has placed his camera at the right spots to cover the drama. Editor Anthony has done a fine job editing the flick.
On the whole, Yaanai is a typical Hari’s film in which actor Arun Vijay goes on a rampage roaring and throwing punch dialogues that would fit right among the fans of the director.