Velayudham is a 2011 Tamil action masala thriller film
directed by M. Raja. It stars Vijay in the title role, Abhimanyu Singh as Musafir Ibrahim, the main antagonist and Genelia D'Souza in the lead roles alongside Hansika Motwani, Saranya Mohan and Santhanam in supporting roles. Produced by V. Ravichandran's Aascar Films, the story revolves around an ordinary milkman, trying to eradicate the evils in society. It is a loose remake of the 2000 Telugu film Azad. Velayudham became a major success among Tamil Diwali releases despite competition from 7aum Arivu.
The film opens up in Pakistan
with a blind folded person (Vineet Kumar
) being dragged by a few terrorists. He is brought to the leader of the gang Musafir Ibrahim (Abhimanyu Singh
) and is identified as Ulaganathan, the Home Minister of Tamil Nadu. Further plans are revealed when the gang strikes a hefty deal with him for planting a series of bombs in Chennai
. Soon, a bomb explodes in a bus in Chennai, killing many innocent people. A group of three journalists, including Bharathi (Genelia D'Souza
), commit to eradicating terrorism and other social ills in the country after completing their Journalism course. One night, Bharathi and her two friends secretly film the illegal activities like creation of explosives and women trafficking happening in a secluded house. However, the journalists' presence is detected and their escape attempt results in the deaths of both her friends and injury to Bharathi. But after the attack on Bharathi and her friends, the goons' vehicle explodes due to a small mishap when a matchstick falls over petrol packets stored in the vehicle. Bharathi, already stabbed by one of the goons, comes up with a new idea to eradicate terrorism by creating a fictional character called Velayudham, and writes a note that he wants to clean up the city of bad guys and that he will stop the next bomb from hurting anyone before falling unconscious.
Menawhile, the real Velayudham a.k.a. Velu (Vijay) is a milk vendor in a village called Pavunoor. He has a sister Kaveri (Saranya Mohan) whom he loves dearly and a cousin Vaidehi (Hansika Motwani) who is crazy about him. Though the brother-sister duo create a lot of trouble for the villagers, they are still adored by them. They, along with a couple of village friends, go to Chennai to collect money from a chit fund for his sister's marriage. At the Chennai Egmore railway station, a petty thief Speedu (Santhanam) steals the money. Velu chases him on a bike which was parked on the railway station platform, eventually getting back the money. Unknown to him, the bike had a bomb planted on it, which explodes within seconds of him getting down from the bike and getting back his money, thus inadvertently thwarting a terror attack. Within the next couple of days, he inadvertently prevents more bomb blasts and helps catch terrorists, becoming a sensation over time. He even manages to save Bharathi in one of the incidents.
Bharathi soon realises that Velu is the guy who has been accidentally doing the work of Velayudham. Bharathi meets him, explains and asks him to become the fictional character, however he refuses. Later, Velu goes to draw cash from the chit fund but the company cheats him off his money. Outside the chit fund company, the people who were cheated by the company protest, vowing that Velayudham will come as their saviour. Velu seeing this decides to take upon the avatar of Velayudham and starts to eradicate the evils that pertains within the society such as corruption, prostitution, terrorism etc. In time, Bharathi falls in love with Velu, which he does not return as he is in love with Vaidehi.
Trouble however lurks in the form of Musafir. He plans a terrorist attack on a chemical factory. However, Velu thwarts these plans and gains the support of Assistant Commissioner Feroz Khan (Sayaji Shinde), who was initially sceptical of Velayudham.
Soon, Velu, Speedu and Bharathi come to Pavunoor for Kaveri's marriage. Unknown to them, one of the terrorists involved in the failed terrorist attack on the chemical factory had followed them to the village to take revenge on Velu. Feroz Khan tries to warn Velu about this, but is murdered by the police commissioner, who is Ulaganathan's right hand man. The terrorist plants a bomb in Velu's house and only Kaveri detects it, but the bomb explodes before she can get rid of it, killing her. In revenge, Velu returns to Chennai and kills Musafir, who is to be revealed as Velayudham by Ulaganathan, in a gruelling encounter at the Nehru Stadium, exposes Ulaganathan's misdeeds and finally reveals himself as Velayudham to the world.
Vijay as Velayudham (Velu), the protagonist
Genelia D'Souza as Bharathi, a journalist who comes up with the idea of Velayudham
Hansika Motwani as Vaidhyalakshmi (Vaidegi), Velu's love interest
Santhanam as Speed, a petty thief
Soori as Abdullah, Velu's friend
Saranya Mohan as Kaveri, Velu's sister
Abhimanyu Singh as Musafir Ibrahim, the main antagonist
Vineet Kumar as Ulaganathan, the Home Minister of Tamil Nadu, the other antagonist
Pandi as Pandi
Raaghav as Jai
M. S. Bhaskar as Vaidehi's father
Sayaji Shinde as Asst.Commissioner Mhd. Feroz Khan, a critic of Velayudham who later starts supporting him
Pandiarajan as Head Constable, a supporter of Velayudham
Vincent Asokan as Ulaganathan's brother
Ajay as Ulaganathan's partner
Rajendran as a Local Goon
Manivannan as Rathnavelu, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
Ilavarasu as a poor man
Veera Samar as Hari, Bharathi's friend
T. P. Gajendran as a Travelling Ticket Examiner
Kadhal Dhandapani as Nattamai
Swaminathan as Maama
Singamuthu as Speed's father
Vaiyapuri as Speed's brother
Meenal as one of the girls abducted by thugs
Crane Manohar as Theatre Operator
Krishnamoorthy as a Villager
The film was launched on July 15, 2010 at the Madras University
who had acted opposite Vijay in Sachein
was chosen for the role of a journalist,
and Hansika Motwani
was chosen to portray Vijay's love interest,
while Saranya Mohan
would play sister to Vijay's character.
Art director Veera Samar also was roped in to play a journalist.
and M. S. Baskar
were chosen to play the comedy lead in the film,
, Vineetkumar and Abhimanyu Singh were selected to play negative roles.
Tom Delmar, who had worked as a stunt coordinator in several Hollywood films, joined the crew to choreograph the stunts in the film.
Due to his commitment to Velayudham
, Vijay almost lost his role in S. Shankar
. He had walked out of Nanban
, since the two films demanded two completely different looks,
however, he joined the film later as the scenes involving the protagonist were reserved to be shot later.
Filming was carried out primarily at three locations, Southern Tamil Nadu, Kerala
and the last schedule in Chennai
A song sequence choreographed by Shobi that was originally to be shot in Switzerland
was canned in Srinagar
, Jammu and Kashmir
with Genelia and Hansika filming alongside Vijay.
Tom Delmar, the stunt co-ordinator of projects such as Braveheart, has been behind the shooting of an extremely tricky train sequence for Velayudham. It has been shot on a train moving on a bridge Vijay performed the very risky sequence coolly.The Director said "A slight miss and the actor could fall 100 feet below! “A very risky sequence, but Vijay did it coolly. My heart was in my mouth when it was being filmed,”.This stunt has been taken in the location Rayagada in Orissa.
while another fight sequence was filmed at Golkonda fort
The audiography was done by M. R. Rajakrishnan
and film's dubbing was done in Four Frames Recording Studio in Chennai.
The film has been widely reported to be a remake of the 2000 Telugu film Azad
that starred Soundarya
as a journalist and Akkineni Nagarjuna
as a villager, incidentally the roles essayed by Genelia and Vijay, respectively.
However, director M. Raja
claimed that it was not a remake but his own story.
He later admitted that Azad
served as the inspiration and that he had penned a new screenplay.
[ Vijay had signed up to appear in a village action story titled Velan in 2001 to be directed by Thirupathisamy, the director of Azad, which was postponed indefinitely after the death of the director.] Raja told his cast that it was inspired by Azad and requested them to not watch the original. Post the film's release, Raja said that his brother Jayam Ravi had help him in improving the script. Another reported influence for the film was the costume worn by Vijay, which was believed to have been "loosely borrowed" from the Assassin's Creed video game series, bearing a resemblance to the robes of young Altaïr, one of the protagonists in the series, leading to criticism of the film being "copied" from the video game.
The soundtrack is scored by Vijay Antony. The audio right was bought by Sony Music for huge amount.
The soundtrack consists of 6 tracks and was released on 28 August 2011, at CSI Grounds in Madurai, attended by thousand of Vijay fans. Vijay, Hansika Motwani, S. A. Chandrasekhar, Vijay Antony, Viveka, and several distributors and theatre owners were present in function. In a press statement Ashok Parwani, Sony Music Entertainment Chennai, said, “We are overwhelmed with the response the movie and the music have received. Velayudham has broken all records and we have sold all our units within a day of its launch. The soundtracks are original, soulful and memorable. We’re sure that the compositions will go down in history as some of the best melodies of our times.”
The audio launch was held in Madurai on August 28.
The soundtrack received mixed to positive reviews, with critics recommending the album for Vijay's fans. Pavithra Srinivasan of Rediff gave it 2 out of 5 stating "Vijay Antony plays it safe mostly, with the result that there's nothing new."
P. G. Devi from Behindwoods gave it 2.5 out of 5 and said "Vijay Antony continues to flaunt his success this time around with Velayutham. The album has a bunch of entertaining soundtrack like, 'Molachu moonu', 'Mayam Seidhayo' and usual mass beat tracks 'Sonna Puriyadhu' and 'Vela Vela'." Prakash Upadhyaya from Oneindia.in said "Vijay Antony's music has met the expectations of the audience. The album has all kinds of songs and the music director has targeted the mass as well as class listeners". Indiaglitz said "the music album ... presents us a variety fare, however with the main target being the 'mass audience'", labelling it as a "food festival for the appetite of Vijay fans, who are craving for mass masala numbers from their hero".
The satellite rights of the film were bagged by Jaya TV for a price of 4 crore.
The film was given a "U" (Universal) certificate by the Indian Censor Board on October 13, 2011 and the theatrical trailer was released in October 2011 to positive response. The film was initially supposed to be released on 22 June, coinciding with Vijay's birthday, but was postponed due to delay in production.
Velayudham released on 26 October 2011, during the Deepavali festival.
The film was released with over 820 prints worldwide. It also saw a release in about 100 theaters in Karnataka and 120 theaters in Kerala. [ As per overseas distributor Ayngaran International, the film released in 17 theatres in UK.] The US theatrical rights were acquired by GK Media.
Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV), a pro-Kannada outfit, requested all the theatres in the state not to screen any non-Kannada movie on the occasion of Kannada Rajyaotsava Day but some of the cinema halls did not take their plea seriously, which irked the KRV activists to show their anger against the Tamil film. However, the theatre authorities realised that the situation might reach out of control and hence, they agreed to cancel all the shows of the day. The film was distributed by producer K Manju in Karnataka.
The film's theatrical distribution rights were sold for 40 crore.
The film opened up to mixed to positive reviews reviews from critics. Sify called it a "paisa vassol film", stating that the film was a "perfect outing with family, but far too long in length".
Rediff.com gave the film 2.5 out of 5, while noting that it "doesn't take itself seriously and doesn't expect you to either. In other words, it's paisa vasool." CNN-IBN defined the film as a "must watch" and "treat for Vijay fans". Indiaglitz labelled it a "racy entertainer this Deepavali season" and cited it was a "right choice for the festival mood". The Times of India gave the film 3.5 out of 5 stars, and concluded that Velayudham is sure to add to his box-office muscle. Behindwoods. named the film a "regular mass entertainer spiced up by Vijay" and gave the film 3 out of 5 as well. Similarly Oneindia.in described it as a "complete masala entertainer", highlighting its story and "amazing action-sequences" with a rating of 4 out of five stars. Nowrunning.com rated it 2.5/5, writing: " Velayudham, part comedy part action sails through both streams smoothly until it is struck and sunk by crude melodrama". The Hindu stated that the film "simply enters and entertains" and that Raja had "churned out reasonably engaging fare", adding that it had a "strong story, a neat screenplay ... arresting action, admirable dance movements, one or two hum-worthy numbers and the ever-helpful sister sentiment". Indo-Asian News Service gave the film 2.5 out of 5, citing that it "defies all logic, but has the magic of the star called Vijay".
Velayudham took a big opening on Diwali day.
The film topped the overseas box office, forcing the producers to release more prints. In its opening weekend, spanning five days, the film grossed 2.1 crore in Chennai. According to trade sources, the film grossed 19 crore in Tamil Nadu and around 40 crore during the first week worldwide. On October 28, 2011, two days after its release, Vijay, Vijay Antony and director Raja met the press at a hotel in Chennai to celebrate the success of the film. [ The total collections in Chennai amounted to 7.75 crore in seven weeks.] Velayudham also grossed 5.20 crore in Kerala during its complete run.
Velayudham was a relatively high grosser in Europe and North America, with Taran Adarsh, a Bollywood film critic highlighting that the film was "rocking internationally".
Velayudham collected a total of £5,244 in UK. In Australia too, the film collected
Velayudham was honored with the Best Film Award at V4 Entertainment Awards 2011.
[ Dhanush and Anjali – Best Actor and Actress] [ Dhanush and Anjali won the best awards] [ சிறந்த நடிகர் – நடிகைகள்,தனுஷ் – அஞ்சலிக்கு விருது!!] Velayudham won the honours in the Best Musician category too. [ Best of Kollywood 2011: Vijay beats Ajith, Surya, Vikram] Actor Vijay received Edison Award for Best Actor and Superstar Rajini Award in the year 2012 for Velayudham.
Vijay received "Hero of the year" award at the 7th Variety award 2011 held on 16 December 2012.