Director: Nelson Dilipkumar
Music director: Anirudh Ravichander
Cast: Vijay, 'Lilliput' Faruqui, Pooja Hegde, Selvaraghavan, Shine Tom Chacko, VTV Ganesh
Synopsis: A mall in Chennai falls to a terror organisation where it accidentally takes on Veera Raghavan (Vijay), a fully-equipped RAW agent.
A well-written film sets the sensibility of the audience and works around it. Beast, unfortunately, suffers from the lack of such writing. Thankfully, like in the film, Vijay saves the day.
The film opens in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), where RAW agent Veera Raghavan (Vijay) is setting up a plot to nab extremist Umar Farooq ('Lilliput' Faruqui), and of course, Veera succeeds. What this costly arrest has in store for India's internal security and politics is what Beast is all about.
Positives first, the leading man Vijay is suave and menacing. The powerful presence and grace he brings to dance, fight and dialogue delivery make up for the flaws in the film. The runtime of 2 hours and 36 minutes too works in favour of the film. Though the writing is nowhere near his earlier outings Kolamavu Kokila and Doctor, Nelson deserves brownie points for attempting a genre-specific film.
However, the mere attempt leads us to the issues ailing Beast. Humour being Nelson's forte, proved to be a double-edged sword raising serious questions about its employability in a ticking-timebomb of a plot. Take the similarly premised Payanam for instance, it has its funny moments but was clearly aware of where the jokes should stop. Nelson has let go of a huge opportunity to cash in on a star like Vijay who takes it on himself to avenge the sufferings of the helpless in his movies. Instead, we are shown some of the hostages making fun of each other, and also of our empathy. This tonal inconsistency hinders our involvement in the narration.
Characterisation too is not remarkable. Veera Raghavan is a soldier who will make baddies run for their money, agreed. But we aren't given more reasons to bank on him, and also we don't dread Umar much as we did for Vidyut Jammwal's role in Thuppakki sans the dusty underground bunker and a cot hived with armed men. Had the hostage situation come a bit later, delving into the world of Veera and Umar, it would have been one cracker of a contest between them.
Performance-wise, except for Vijay for the whole runtime, Selvaraghavan and VTV Ganesh in bits and pieces, all the other actors lie at the periphery. Shine Tom Chacko is unforgivably underused.
Keeping songs to a bare minimum, the slick fight scenes have worked big time for Beast. Manoj Paramhamsa's camera work, mostly surrounding the mall, is above average given the limitations. The effects of the fighter jet scene left us wanting more. We get flashes of Master in Anirudh's background score, which works in parts.
Despite all the flab, Vijay makes your time and money worth delivering a solid masala entertainer.