Ganesh, a cab driver and a doting brother to his sister Tamizh, is hunting down three notorious criminals in Kolkata. Who is he actually and what's his motive?
Vedalam begins with a police operation in Italy. The assignment is to nab Rahul (Rahul Dev), an international don, but the officer in charge of the operation realizes at the last moment that his target has tables the tables on him. As he is about to die, he says there will come a guy even better than him to take him down. To this, Rahul replies that a it will take a really bad man to even come close to him.
Cut to Kolkata. Enter Ganesh (Ajith), who has arrived in the city with his sister Tamizh (Lakshmi Menon). They are moving to the city for her studies. Ganesh becomes a cabbie and his soft demeanour endears him to everyone. Meanwhile, he informs about a suspect to the cops, and the gangster, Aniket (Aniket Chouhan), who is Rahul's brother, wants his head. He is nabbed and taken to the Aniket's yacht. And that is when Ganesh shows his Viswaroopam! Everyone is decimated, and that lays a trap to Aniket's brothers — Rahul and Abhinay (Kabir Singh). Who is Ganesh for real and what is his enmity with these criminals?
If you have seen Siva's previous films — Siruthai and Veeram — you will have a fair idea of what to expect in Vedalam. He is beginning to make a career out of films that are extremely loud and incredibly gratuitous, and his filmmaking style mainly involves ramped up camera moves, frenzied cuts, and over-the-top acting with an ear-splittingly loud background score for company. He is like the student who manages to pass despite his handwriting being an illegible scribble. And he stays true to this style in Vedalam, which, surprisingly, works... somewhat!
The main reason for this is a flashback episode that is familiar but still manages to strike a chord. There is something affecting about the concept of compassion changing the heart of a mercenary gangster. It is a done-to-death trope but Siva makes it convincing by not overdoing the emotional drama in this segment. He also capitalizes on the brother-sister sentiment, but refreshingly, the scenes between Ajith and Lakshmi Menon feel like understated melodrama when compared to the tone of the rest of the film. The romantic track is, thankfully, (almost) non-existent, while the comedy track, anchored by Soori who tries desperately to make us laugh — and fails, is juvenile. The absence of Santhanam, who made these portions in Siva's previous films enjoyable, is clearly felt.
But then, the other characters, including the heroine and the villains, in such a film exist mainly for one purpose — the veneration of the hero and for this, the director uses the formula of both MGR and Rajinikanth. Ganesh is a do-gooder like the former and we get the supporting characters exalting his qualities (Ivan azhinju poganum-nu nenaikaravan kooda ivana admire pannama irukka mudiyathu). And taking a cue from the latter, the hero is proud and keen to project a bad guy image (Nee kettavan, naan kaedu kettavan). As he did in Vaali and Villain, Ajith puts his shtick of instantly changing expressions to good use to send fans into frenzy, though he is made to laugh like a crazy person doing the stunt scenes. There is a passing resemblance to Baasha (a seemingly innocent man with a violent past) but fans of the Rajinikanth film can rest easy as this is not a complete rehash of the film as rumours had suggested. At least for that, we have to be thankful to Siva.