Vaagai Sooda Vaa Review, Rating (3/5)
Starring: Vimal, Iniya, K Bhagyaraj, Ponvannan
Direction: A Sarkunam
Music: M Ghibran
Production: S Muruganandham, N Puranna

Review: Vaagai Sooda Vaais outdated

Vaagai Sooda Vaa 'looks' good but doesn't capatalise on its strengths.

One of the best things about Village Theatres' Vaagai Sooda Vaa, the second film from director Sargunam who earlier gave us the marvellous Kalavani, is its cinematography.

Om Prakash's camera wanders all over an arid, parched landscape, rendering it in sepia tones, capturing the sharp, stark reality of a land and people who literally scrape clay for a livelihood.

Debutant art director Seenu (Sabu Cyril's erstwhile assistant) has simply gone to town with the huts, the props and everything that brings a struggling land to life.

M Ghibran, a welcome addition to Tamil cinema, provides some neat tunes as well, adding some much-needed flavour to the proceedings.

Vaagai Sooda Vaa also comes with a message -- simple and inspiring -- but of the kind that was in vogue around 40 years ago.

The film is set in 1966. The protagonist of the story, Veluthambi (Vimal), has just completed a teacher training course and is looking for work. His father Annamalai (K Bhagyaraj) insists that he do something that furthers his career, so Veluthambi sets out for a remote village, the poetically named Kandeduthaan Kadu, to educate its children for a monthly salary of Rs 30.
Veluthambi's efforts to teach the kids don't work. And there are powerful enemies: the local bigwig JP (Ponvannan) treats the whole village almost like his bonded labourers, and the last thing he wants is for them to be educated.

The set-up is neat, the lead characters mildly engaging, the jokes and old songs featuring veteran actress Saroja Devi are alluring. The build-up is slow, but you wait patently, hoping that it will lead to something extraordinary, a climax worthy of all the effort. It doesn't.

Vimal appears a little uncomfortable in his role as a 1960s teacher. His natural ebullience works in his favour a little, but at times, he looks puzzled, as though he's not quite sure how he's supposed to deliver his lines.

Iniya, who has acted in Yuddham Sei as Cheran's sister, is a welcome find. Shorn of make-up, she's natural, appealing, and very expressive.

Thambi Ramaiyya is his usual hilarious self; Ponvannan is menacing but appears for scant minutes, and there's no time for his character to develop. Ditto for K Bhagyaraj.

Despite the interesting milieu, the movie loses out on the most basic requirement: the story. The plot is wafer-thin, has been seen in countless melodramatic works from pre-MGR days, and gives you absolutely nothing new.

The screenplay barely moves and the influence of movies like Paruthiveeran is obvious. Dialogues are dull at times, and situations are over-explained.

Vaagai Sooda Vaa may have a few advantages going for it, but it hasn't really capitalised on these strengths. This one is no Kalavani.

Vaagai Sooda Vaa - Review 2

Carries strong message 

The Kalavani team is back. If it was a rural tale of a callous youth in Kalavani, Vaagai Sooda Vaa is a different film. It is a period flick with Vimal playing the lead and directed by Sargunam. With more new faces, it has enough to enthrall serious movie-goers.


The movie is set in 1965 in a remote village near Pudukottai. It revolves around Veluthambi (Vimal), whose father Annamalai (K Bhagiyaraj) wants him to take up a government job. Before that he wants him to go and work as a teacher in a bricklin where many children are employed. Veluthambi is entrusted the job of teaching these children formal education.

Initially the students resist and their parents too doesn't want to send their children to study and rather prefer to make them work in bricklin. In the village there is Madhi (Iniya), innocent tea vendor, who provides food daily for Veluthambi. The elders in the village work for a greedy proprietor JP (Ponvannan) inbricklins. A sequence of events results in Veluthambi winning the hearts of the people and he insists that only education would bring sea change in the lives of children, who otherwise will have to toil like their parents. In the event, he incurs the wrath of JP. When all goes well, fate comes in the form of a government job for him. Madhi falls in love with him.

Now did Veluthambi accept the job and left the place or chose to think unconventionally and educate the children or not forms the climax.


It is an excellent performance by Vimal. He has been hitherto seen as a youth who is callous and never-care attitude in life. However in Vaagai Sooda Vaa is a different film for him. As an innocent teacher, he is right there giving his best. His exchanges with the children and sweet interactions with Iniya are a treat to watch. Watch out for Iniya. This young girl playing a rural belle is impressive. She is right there emoting well. At places she reminds one of yesteryear actress Shoba. Thambi Ramiah does his job exceedingly well. As Iniya's father in the village, he is tailor-made for the role. Ponnvannan and Thennavan excel on their part.
But watch out for a group of young innocent children. They are simply outstanding and natural and spontaneous in their expressions.


Due credit should go to Sargunam for thinking out of the box. It is a docu-drama well documented by Sargunam. But he has laced some lighter moments in the script, that works out well. If Om Prakash captures the innocence of the people in this period flick, three cheers should go to debutant Seenu for his exemplary art work that brings before our eyes 1960s. Natraj, who has designed costumes, too deserves a special mention.  Music by debutant Gibran is another strength. The songs add pep to the script and are picturised in a realistic manner.


A well-conceived and well-made film. But it deserves patience and liking for such serious themes. Sargunam is clear about his priorities. He has not gone preachy anywhere, rather leaving audience to decide. He deserves applause for driving home the point that only education can bring a sea change in the society and educating a generation would bring more awareness. Vaagai Sooda Vaa will go down as a classic in Tamil cinema.

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