Bigil Movie Review
Starring: Vijay, Nayanthara, Vivek, Jackie Shroff
Producers: Kalpathi S. Aghoram, Kalpathi S. Ganesh, Kalpathi S. Suresh
Music: A. R. Rahman
Vijay-starrer Bigil is a sports drama with Tamil Nadu women’s football team at the forefront. Any sports drama ends with the victory of the team or a person. It is the case with Bigil as well. As the women’s football team, hailing from underprivileged backgrounds, clinch victory, the end credits roll and we see the words 'Dedicated to women.’
Yet somehow, the film is never about the women. It is always about its star, Vijay, and how he steals the show even if it’s not his scene to shine. For a film that is touted as a tribute to women, Bigil does not get a lot of things right.
Rayappan (Vijay) is a don, but a good one in North Madras. He chooses the life of violence to protect the rights of his people. His son Michael Rayappan aka Bigil is a state-level footballer. But, due to circumstances, he becomes the messiah of people in North Madras, leaving behind his career.
Meanwhile, Michael’s friend Kathir (Kathir) is grievously injured, which forces him to take over his position as the coach of the Tamil Nadu women’s football team. The rest of the film follows Michael’s journey to winning the hearts of the women’s football team and how he 'guides' them to glory.
Director Atlee always knows the art of playing to the gallery. Almost all of his films are intelligently packaged. So well, that there are elements to satisfy people of all age groups. Bigil belongs to the same type. You get a predictable story, but Atlee, as expected, adds mass elements, emotional scenes and kickass stunt sequences to keep you engrossed in his product.
With Bigil, the major letdown is the story and its lengthy runtime (2 hours and 58 minutes). Even with three hours to itself, the film does not delve deep into the lives of the characters, which makes it difficult to empathise with them. Most of the things are 'told’ on screen and they’re never shown. Perhaps, Atlee and several other directors forget that this is a visual medium and that some things are better left unsaid.
The women’s team win a game and there is a full-blown celebration dance that goes on for 2 minutes, which adds literally nothing to the story. Similarly, you see Nayanthara as the physiotherapist, but she is hardly seen doing her job. Her romantic portions with Vijay are not that fun to watch on-screen.
But Atlee gets a lot of things right as well. Bigil is a delight for Vijay’s fans and Atlee’s trademark style of glorifying his 'annan’ is visible throughout. The filmmaker adds a lot of references to Vijay’s earlier films and his own previous ventures, which are nice to spot.
Coming to the women empowerment angle, Vijay takes the lead and he dictates what the women should do on the field. Even though the football players are shown to play the game, they always need their coach by their side, otherwise all hell breaks loose.
In a particular scene, Vijay’s character Michael is dealing with an acid-attack victim (Reba Monica John). Though he advises her to face her biggest fear, he doesn’t check whether she’s ready to tackle it. But, the way Reba pulls off the scene will earn claps for the message and her performance.
Vijay is exceptional in Bigil and so are his expressions. As young Michael Rayappan, he is full of energy. However, as Rayappan with stammering issues, he seems to oversell his role a tad bit. Yet, his swag, style and comic timing will bring a smile to your face.
Apart from Vijay, cinematographer GK Vishnu is the second hero of Bigil. His framing, lighting and colour tones are so beautiful to look at. AR Rahman’s Mathare song, which comes in at a crucial part in the film, tugs at your heartstrings.
The supporting characters played by Amritha Aiyer, Reba Monica John, Kathir, Indhuja Ravichandran, Varsha Bollamma and Yogi Babu do their best and their contribution gives the much-needed depth to the film.
The main issue with Bigil is its predictability. You can easily guess the characters who will end up dead and who get maimed. Despite all that, Bigil is a treat for Vijay’s ardent fans.