Whistle that marks third collaboration of Vijay and Atlee is an attempt to emphasize women empowerment. Will the actor-director duo deliver hat trick with the film?
A Good Samaritan don Rayappa (Vijay) dreams to see his son Michael aka Bigil (Vijay again) lifting football champion trophy so that he can bring change in the lives of his people. But, after Rayappa’s murder by rivals, Michael takes up his father’s path. Now, Michael has got second chance to fulfill his father’s dream. He takes up the job of coaching a state level women football team in National Champions Trophy. Will he become victorious in his attempt?
An in-form star hero taking up the job of coaching a women football team sounds crazy. But it was a challenging task for Atlee to balance the commercial elements with the drama, when the protagonist is not playing the game but supervising it most of the times. In order to please masses, Atlee filled the first half mostly with hero elevation scenes which were quite customary. Although the father-son bonding has emotional touch, the romantic track was very badly written. The second half has some heart-touching elements like how orthodox families treat women in their home and the pain the acid victims undergo. However, the football match episodes lacked the exciting factor, perhaps because of poor homework. The film also stumbles a bit due to the presence of not-so-intimidating antagonists.
Cinematography by GK Vishnu elevates heroism to the peaks and the visuals are mass appealing. AR Rahman's stirring background score elevates the goose bumps moments, wherein songs are mediocre. VFX work was not up to the mark for a high budget entertainer. Editor Ruben should have cut short the first half which had many unnecessary elements. Production values of AGS Entertainment are top notch.
Onto performances, Vijay as Michael used his comedy timing and swag to great effect. His performance as Rayappa with a stammer looks a bit unnatural. But, he made up for it in couple of action sequences. Nayanthara looked cool, but she did not get much to perform. The chemistry between the lead pair was not so magical. Jackie Shroff is not so impressive and Daniel Balaji is not a right choice for the much important role. Other artists played their parts.
Director Atlee’s objective of showing the challenges being faced by women in the male-dominating society is appreciable. But, to some extent, he botched in his attempt to blend mass elements in a sports drama film that empowers women. Giving enough significance to heroism to please one section and not to disappoint Vijay fans is where he failed.
The film begins on slow note with students protest at minister office which is intent to introduce Vijay with an action episode. Nayanthara’s introduction at a church and the following episodes of her flirting with Vijay are mind-numbing. After another routinely choreographed action episode, here comes the entry of Vijay as an aging don in flashback. The father-son bonding makes an interesting watch to an extent. The football match portions however weren’t thrilling. Pre-interval and interval episodes were also not bang on.
It’s a slow start in second half as well with Vijay trying to mingle with the women team. Then, the bet match between Vijay and the all-women team by some means was motivating. The villain revelation was quite regular. Vijay and Nayanthara motivating two senior players and convincing their families are obviously best parts. One lady is a homemaker with lots of restrictions in family and the other is an acid attack victim who locked herself in a room for last 3 months. The last portions- football matches, again were mediocre.
All in all, Whistle has some Whistle Podu moments. But, the film is not a complete entertainer. This indeed is not the film we expect from the combo of Vijay-Atlee. More importantly, the football episodes lacked that thrilling factor which is mandatory to enthuse and engage viewers. CJ goes with 2.5 star rating and we need to wait and see how the film performs at box office with the advantage of Diwali holidays.