Vadham : Applause Entertainment & MX Player’s New Series Salutes Girl Power

Vadham(MX  Player  , 10 Episodes in original Tamil,also dubbed  in Hindi and Telugu)

Starring  Shruthi  Hariharan, Ashwathy Ravikumar, K. Semmalar Annam, Haritha Badavagopi

Directed  byVenkatesh  Babu

Rating: *** ½ stars

At the  climax  of  this well-crafted commercial entertainer  about a female cop taking on the political mafia, a villainous type makes  the mistake  of taunting our cop hero, “You may  be  a cop. But you are  after all a woman”

Never underestimate the  power of a  woman in uniform. Having been inured  in any number of potboilers  in Bollywood and down south on unvanquished  female cops  from Vyjayashanthi  in  Karthavayam to Hema  Malini in Andha Kanoon, it is  refreshing to see  a female cop in  Vadhamwho is  gutsy but also vulnerable. 

And for a change  our heroine in Vadham Shakti(Shruthi Hariharan) gets as  good as she gives. Some  gritty action scenes are staged. These will make you wince because Shakti gets quite a few blows.

Vadham  would have been regular  cops-and-gangsters  potboilers were  it  not for  the  female  heroes  who  infuse  a kind of  whistle-blowing  grit to the narrative. Director Venkatesh Babuuses  all the tropes  of  a cops  film. He  knows his  sambhar-masala language well. The spicy ingredients are never  over-dosed  and  I can’t remember  when  I watched  through  all the  episodes not to see whether  they would take us  anywhere unexpected, but to see it take us exactly where we expect  it to.

Vadham opens with  a brutal murder  . As  Shakthi  and her female colleagues  in an all-women’s police station proceed to crack   the case, they  willy-nilly  open up  a huge pandora’s box of political  misappropriation and misuse of power. It takes  the viewer  just minutes into the 5-hour series to realize that the  director is not  aiming at the  raw-and-real female cops’ series like Soni  or Criminal  Justice

This is a  world of  Hero Versus Villain played  out at a  loud ceetee-maroing decibel .Human figures came crashing towards the camera as  our heroine  and her  girl-gang of  three cops take on brute power with  a kinetic relish

Besides the lovely Shruthi Hariharan( with  a face that  reminded me of Kirti Kulhari)  who  plays the  lead  with  conviction and  commitment , her other colleagues are also well played by Ashwathy Ravikumar, K. Semmalar Annam, Haritha Badavagopi . These  may not be   major stars. But hell, they know  how to kick ass!  

And what a refreshing change to see Shakthi’s boyfriend Diwakar(Winner Ramachandran)  being so supportive. My favourite sequence  is the one where  Diwakar’s  mother  invites  a  prospective bride and her  parents  home,  and he tells them  about his girlfriend and how he plans to spend the rest of his life with her.

As  far as aspirational law-enforcement dramas  go, Vadham takes  the  cake …and  the  kick.Don’t miss. You can watch  it in dubbed Hindi.  But I recommend  the original  Tamil with subtitles.

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