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Actor Vijay will be teaming up with his regular collaborator, director Atlee, for his upcoming film Bigil, an action film set in the backdrop of football sport. Has the two-time successful actor-director duo recreated their magic in their recent outing, read the review to find out.

Produced by AGS Entertainment, Bigil stars Nayanthara as the leading lady. The film deals with the journey of Michael (Vijay), who happens to be the head of a hood. But circumstances force him to coach a women’s football team. Whether the team succeeds or they succumb forms the rest of the plot.

The first half showcases the cool and effortless screen presence of Vijay, with an introduction scene that quickly establishes his role as a do-gooder for his colony. Fans have a lot to enjoy as the director gives ample references and throwbacks to the star’s earlier films. The first half also features a cute, yet overstretched romance between Bigil and Angel (played by Nayanthara).

Though the initial portions is lighter in tone, its the backstory between Michael (who is primarily known by his sporting nickname Bigil) and his father Royappan, an ageing gangster who doesn’t want his son to follow his path. Vijay as Royappan, excels in handling the emotional sequences and a fine instance includes a monologue where Royappan explains to a young Michael on why he should continue winning the game. Royappan is easily one of the finest characters written by Atlee. The action sequence set in a railway station gives you an emotional high mainly due to the solid characterization of Royappan and his dynamic with Michael.

But the film falters a bit due to the presence of mildly threatening and clichéd antagonists who enter and exit throughout the film in a rapid fashion. The sports-film aspect appears at the second half of the film. There is a fine stretch where Michael coaches the divided squad on team building. One wishes that there had been more such scenes where we get to see the team rising above personal conflicts. The climax, despite having a predictable end, manages to keep you hooked to the proceedings.

Apart from being an entertainer, the writing (by Atlee and Ramanagiri Vasan) has also touched many important themes that resonates with a viewer. Technically, Bigil is impeccably shot and lit (cinematography by G.K. Vishnu) especially during the sequences that happen within Rayappan/Michael’s residence. The songs are impressively choreographed and the visuals compliment the intensity of the music. AR Rahman’s thundering background score elevates the goosebumps moments. Nayanthara plays the integral role of the team’s physiotherapist and travels throughout the film with her neat performance. Her scenes with Vijay are enjoyable and the fast paced dance portion for the theme music was well choreographed that will be loved by the masses.

Bigil features a brilliant ensemble performance. Special mention goes to the ‘Bigil’ girls, who have blended into the characters very well. Kathir, Yogi Babu and Vivekh have done their parts well, but its Vijay, who coolly takes the top acting honours. The actor gives us a completely memorable portrayal of Royappan and Michael. But the film could have been more satisfying had the makers trimmed the unwanted romantic and action sequences and had given more importance to the sports drama. Overall, Bigil is an engaging star vehicle with sports as its backdrop, which could satisfy the family audience during the festival season.

Verdict: Vijay’s screen presence and an interesting second half make Bigil a worth watching women centric sports film.

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