Viswasam represents another wasted opportunity from the Ajith-Siva combo to explore something new.

The Ajith-Siva collaboration began exactly 5 years back with the release of Veeram. After a run of mixed results, the pair is back with their fourth collaboration, Viswasam (Loyalty). The movie’s title is rather ironic because Siva doesn’t seem to have repaid Ajith’s longstanding faith in him.

Viswasam crawls at a snail’s pace, albeit with a lot of yelling, singing, and other insufferable whatnots. It takes more than an hour to set up a very simple premise – an urban doctor (Nayantara) falls in love with Thookudorai (Ajith), a village rice mill owner with a penchant for violence. I had braced myself for hero glorification, but nothing could have prepared me for the shameless, over-the-top version Viswasam has in store. The first half is rampant with scenes reeking of blatant excessiveness. Everyone we meet on screen seems obliged to hype up Thookudorai and it starts to get annoying after a point.

The second half paves the way for some cringe-worthy comedy, courtesy of Vivek and Kovai Sarala. The movie offers precious little scope for Ajith the actor, as he is reduced to a brawny hooligan. It doesn’t matter much since the goons he faces off in the movie have a combined IQ of a potato. I was interested in Jagapathi Babu’s real-estate tycoon villain, if only to figure out how bizarre and illogical his motive for killing a teenager was going to be. I wasn’t disappointed.

For all its faults, Viswasam has an intriguing premise – what happens when the all-conquering hero’s actions put his loved ones in danger? It’s a theme that hasn’t been explored much in Tamil cinema. A fierce and independent Nayantara drives the point home when she condones Ajith’s actions and leaves to Mumbai with their daughter. It’s unfortunate that the father-daughter relationship between Ajith and Baby Anikha, so integral to the movie, appears forced and lacks the emotional connection the duo had in Yennai Arindhal.

Ultimately, Viswasam is a letdown for most non-Thala fans as it is another wasted opportunity from the Ajith-Siva combo to explore something new. One person who would have been reasonably pleased with Viswasam is director Amudhan (of Tamizh Padam fame). If he had been hoping to make a third installment, Viswasam would have given him enough fodder for a few spoofs. But to Siva’s credit, he seems to have justified Viswasam’s billing as a ‘family rural entertainer’, if the Box Office collections are of any indication.