Banner: AGS and East Coast
Cast: Vijay (dual role), Nayanthara, Vivek, Jackie Shroff, Yogibabu, Devadarshini, and others
Music: AR Rahman
Cinematography: G K Vishnu
Producers: Kalpathi S. Aghoram, S. Ganesh, S. Suresh
Written and directed by: Atlee
Release date: October 25, 2019
After “Police” and “Adirindi,” the combination of Tamil superstar Vijay and director Atlee is back again with their third outing “Whistle.”
Have they created the magic again? Let us find out.
Michael aka Bigil (Vijay) is the son of a local leader Rajappa (Vijay). Rajappa’s only wish is that his son should win a ‘cup’ in the football match and get selected for the national team.
Despite being top scorer of goals in the state-level matches, Bigil’s name doesn’t feature in the national team due to politics played by a sports businessman.
When Rajappa comes to know about this, he teaches a lesson to the businessman in his own style and this incident changes their entire lives.
Vijay has donned two different roles with so much ease. In the role of Michael or Bigil, he is at home. He has excelled as the coach of the women’s football team. But he is not that convincing as Rajappa, the ageing don.
Nayanthara as the female lead is just okay. All the girls of the football team are convincing as football players and have given good performances.
Jackie Shroff as the villain is quite routine. Yogi Babu and Vivek’s comedy falls flat.
The film has rich production values. Every scene is dipped with richness. High standard production values and terrific cinematography are the main highlights. Rahman’s music is not that exciting. The film has an uneven pace and is lengthy.
Final match sequences
Boring first half
“Whistle” (“Bigil” in Tamil) starts as a regular masala film with a hero’s introduction, an intro song, and scenes that elevate the hero’s mass appeal.
Routine scenes go on for more than an hour but the film introduces Michael/Bigil and Rajappa to keep us glued to the narration.
It is later established that Rajappa (Vijay), the local rowdy leader, wants his son Michael also known as Bigil to keep away from rowdy activities and win football cup for the state.
From Ram Gopal Varma’s ‘Gaayam’ (taken from The Godfather theme) to scores of other movies, they have explored this angle – a gang leader seeking his son to lead a normal life away from the violent world they live in.
Director Atlee has cleverly mixed sports theme to this largely predictable template. Football matches and the song Michael being a football coach to women football team has made a huge difference to this regular commercial story.
While the first half is filled with Tamil-flavoured sequences that are quite boring, the second half is engaging and has many payoffs.
From the moment Michael heads to Delhi with his women’s football team, the plot thickens.
The episode of how he brings two former players (one is now a housewife and the other is a victim of an acid attack), who are keeping away from sports, into the team is narrated emotionally.
These background stories of these two women are also well mixed into the final match. While we feel so bored with the first half, the ending makes an okay watch.
Atlee has filmed the football matches with a high standard of making – the graphics, the camerawork, and the visualization is terrific here.
But the film is too lengthy. With pretty predictable scenes, narrating the movie over three hours is a tiring watch.
The other negative points are dull songs by Rahman (except the emotional Sivangi song), overt-Tamil flavour, and weak romantic thread. Jackie Shroff as the villain is also weak.
Overall, the film is a watch for its last moments and grand visuals. This may appeal to Vijay’s fans but for regular audiences, this is another routine sports drama with mass elements. Those who have seen movies like 'Chak De India' feel deja vu.
Bottom-line: Routine Fare