M Muthiah's Viruman is a template film made around a series of must-have points. Point One: establish the central conflict. So we see the young Viruman with a knife, chasing his father, played by Prakash Raj. This enmity between father and son will drive the film. But before that, we need Point Two: the hero introduction. So, a few years later, when Viruman is grown-up (and played by Karthi), we get an action scene, immediately followed by a song sequence. This pattern is repeated a little later. We get a song sequence, a duet with heroine Aditi Shankar, that's immediately followed by an action scene. Then, Point Three: reveal the flashback with the hero's mother, played by Saranya Ponvannan. Point Four… Okay, I will stop here because you know the drill if you have seen Karthi's earlier film with Muthiah. In case you've forgotten, the heroine reminds us with a line: "Manasula periya 'Komban'-nu nenappo!"

In Komban, the story was about the hero's prickly relationship with his father-in-law. In Viruman, the story is about the hero's prickly relationship with his father, who is a money-minded tehsildar. The sense of deja vu is increased by the fact that actor Rajkiran is in both films. In Komban, he was the father-in-law. In Viruman, he is the hero's uncle. Of course, there's a whole bunch of relatives, a bigger bunch of villains, and the biggest dose of amma sentiment. All of these people and plot points have just one purpose: to show what a good-hearted guy the hero is. For Karthi, this role is hardly a stretch and he does it with ease. Aditi Shankar makes a confident debut, even if you wish she had some meat in the part. Soori is the comic sidekick and I cannot recall a single line of comedy. The crux of the film is this: like his mother wanted, will Viruman make his father understand that money and power mean less than love and affection? Does the sun rise in the east? 

viruman movie review

I have no problems with template films. The problem with Viruman is that so little effort has been made to infuse the elements of this template with some freshness. The fights look the same. The song staging looks the same. Prakash Raj's character is the same he has played a thousand times earlier. The two biggest contributors are the costume designer and the cinematographer SK Selvakumar. Karthi comes in a variety of monochrome shirts. The frames have clearly been designed with a look in mind. The wide shots of the insides of the houses and the outsides of the rural countryside look beautiful. In the climax, there is the shot of a man sitting next to a photo on which fire is reflected. And the shot means something, reminding us of an earlier event. The film feels old but, hey, at least, it looks nice and new.