Vedam, directed by Krish is one of the very few anthology films made in Telugu Cinema. And it surely is among the top 3 films made in this genre. Though a commercially average venture, Vedam has won unprecedented critical acclaim at the time of release and got a cult following over the years. So, irrespective of the box office success, there is something very special about Vedam. What we feel is the writing is nothing short of exceptional and for 1 film old director, Krish has done a fantastic job in dealing with various characters played by stars and still keeping the core theme intact. As Vedam completes a decade, let’s take a look at 5 factors that made Vedam a cult classic.
Can you ever imagine a top star hero like Allu Arjun who is known as the style icon of South Indian cinema would play a guy who lives in a slum? A star actress like Anushka who is at her career’s peak stage after Arundathi would play a prostitute? And Manchu Manoj who is known for energy would play a role that requires him to transform into a mature person by the climax time? A new actor like Nagayya playing the most important character - Ramulu is a masterstroke by Krish. Any familiar face would have hampered the innocence of this character. Manoj Bajpayee, Saranya, Posani have been cast in roles that would give them ample scope to perform. While there are multistarrers with top heroes just to impress the fans by setting up combinations, Vedam is the true multistarrer the Telugu audience wanted and deserved.
It would be a grave injustice to the other actors in the film if we pick the best performance in the movie. Everyone just lived through their roles and delivered once-in-a-lifetime performances. Allu Arjun’s in the scene after giving the stolen money back to Ramulu, Manoj after his wife loses a pregnancy, Anushka while confronting Posani, has delivered some noteworthy performances. Nagayya and Saranya stole the show in every scene with their innocence.
M.M. Keeravani, with Vedam, has shown that form is temporary and class is permanent. The album in total has 12 songs which are of various genres. They are elevated by the brilliance of lyricists like Sirivennela Sitaramasastry, M.M. Keeravani, E.S. Murthy, Sahithi. Especially, M.M. Keeravani is the surprise package of this lyricist group. He has delivered some meaningful lines like “Malli puttani, naalo manishini”, “Thana hundi nindaalante devudikyna mari avsaramenoyi rupaayi”, “Maralaa? Manushulaa? Unna konnaallu”. Overall, Vedam album packs a punch audio-wise and especially for the great lyrical value it offers.
The basic storyline of Vedam cannot be explained in simple words but the film overall has many flashes of the brilliance of Krish. The way he wrote the screenplay without missing the essence of his basic theme - Humanity and the way he executed is just brilliant. Vedam has many scenes that question the morales of us -The Humans. Reminds us that we are nothing but hypocrites and this could be one reason why us - the Telugu audience failed this film at the box office. From Religious discrimination to gender equality to discussing humanity, what it means to be a human being, Krish conveys everything in a film under 140 minutes.
The dialogues, just WOW! For a decade-old film, they are very progressive and were way ahead of the time. Some of the brilliant lines from Vedam are - A transgender questions near public toilets - “Magaallaki aadallakena, migathaa manushulaku kattara?”. This reminds us that there are other genders in this world apart from Male and Female which we comfortably chose to ignore. A Muslim tells a police offer who judges a person just by his Muslim name “Meeku prathi Muslim terrorist la kanipisthadu, that is wrong” which sums up the burning topic in the nation today. “Meeku chaduvu undi, udyogam undi, vesukovadaniki uniform undi, ayina kuda nuvvu dabbulaki ammudupothunnav, maa laaga” - a prostitute questions a corrupt police officer. And corruption still remains one of the major issues of the current economy.
It is not at all easy to make a film with a star hero. To make a film with many stars and give equal importance to each of their characters is not an easy task - especially when fans have lots of expectations. But Krish not only manages to do that but also gives the fans and the actors in this film something to be proud of. Krish managed to successfully discuss many topics in a single film without being regressive way back in 2010. And that speaks volumes about his talent and we hope he delivers many such films in the near future.
Overall, Vedam might not be your regular Telugu commercial entertainer. Nor is it a documentary that is more like an art film. It is an honest film that is unapologetic for the questions it asks, for the topics it puts in front of us.