Atlee's Vijay-starrer Bigil is all about sport, action and drama. In that sense it is an ultimate fanfare. So do hesitate to seek an audience with Michael Rayappan and his salt-and-pepper version in Bigil.
Hesitate, because if you are averse to crowds, the thundering roar of fans and the larger-than-life enthusiasm of football fans, Bigil, literally meaning 'whistle', is not your pick. But if you enjoy all these elements of a superstar movie, Bigil will resonate within you. Director Atlee Kumar ensures that with his magical mix of sport, action and drama.
Bigil is Atlee's third with Vijay after Mersal and Theri.
No wonder, he seems to have a perfect idea of how to unleash the star to the audience. Atlee begins this task of stitching together a dramatic build-up to unleash the first avatar of Vijay right from the opening shots.
And as a culmination of the dramatic events, the star is thrown open to a thunderous applause on the eighth minute of the movie – the roar of affection you hear is an unequivocal statement that Bigil is an out-and-out fan movie.
Then Atlee takes his usual detour to rope in the comical thread, which could have been avoided, but then fans aren't complaining about the length of the movie: two hours 59 minutes. Atlee understands the genre of a mass entertainer and why a comedy track is a foregone conclusion.
So it is only natural that after our hero's dramatic entry, you need to give screen space for A R Rahman's musical.
The songs somehow lacked a punch required for Dappan Koothu, a mix of folk dance and music, in the first half of Bigil.
But Rahman's background score is scintillating as it gains traction as the movie unfolds to new realms of drama and the drumbeats of soccer after the break.
And Atlee wouldn't mind shocking all and sundry just ahead of the break with a blood-stained violent twist.
There after, the trajectory of the movie changes course. The action so far confined to the raw explosion of street brawls shifts to the sports arena, or the football field to be precise.
There on if Bigil takes over as the head coach of his state's women's football team, it is some sort of a poetic justice. Because, Bigil was forced to quit soccer just before the break.
Does it sound a bell? Well if someone says it is 'Chak De' weds 'Thevar Magan', so be it. Doesn't matter, because, fans are showering accolades.
So Bigil's second half is about football, the money involved and its politics on and off the field.
With a women's football team at his disposal, Bigil also strives to vindicate the necessity of women's empowerment apart from his heroics on the field to motivate a bunch of enthusiastic not so fortunate girls, whose original coach is in the hospital bed due to reasons beyond his control.
Bigil has a vast cast apart from Vijay and Nayanthara, who doesn't seem to have much to perform other than being a fashion statement.
But Atlee has used Jackie Shroff, Daniel Balaji and Kathir to the hilt to suit the peculiar mix of drama, sport and action. The soccer scenes may feel a bit outlandish, but since the purpose of Atlee is to generate the drama of the moment rather than to dissect the sport, it is fair enough.
Anl Arasu's action scenes have exploded to resonate with the primary focus of a star movie. Stunt scenes, especially in the second half, are of the so called 'marana mass' variety. The Rs 180-crore movie is almost certain to be a Diwali cracker in the box office. Because, it has all it takes to explode the mass frenzy so vital for a Vijay-starrer.
Atlee has cracked it spot on.