Vaanam (Eng: Sky) is a 2011 Indian Tamil drama film written and directed by Krish. It is a remake of his 2010 Telugu film Vedam. It features an ensemble cast of Silambarasan, Bharath, Anushka Shetty, Prakash Raj, Saranya and Sonia Agarwal. The score and soundtrack were composed by Yuvan Shankar Raja, while cinematography and editing were handled by Nirav Shah and Anthony Gonsalves, respectively.
Vaanam is a hyperlink cinema film, with the story revolving around the lives of five individuals from different walks of life, representing the five natural elements— aether, air, water, fire and earth—and illustrates how their fates intertwine on New Year’s Eve at a hospital in Chennai. The film, jointly produced by Ganesh Janardhanan and R. Ganesh and distributed by Dayanidhi Azhagiri’s Cloud Nine Movies, was released on 29 April 2011, and opened to critical universal acclaim upon release, and was successful at the Box office. The movie was dubbed in Hindi as “‘ Zindagi Ek Sangharsh”‘.
Thillai “Cable” Raja (Silambarasan) is a cable operator born and raised in a slum area in Chennai. He bemoans his poverty and wishes to become rich by marrying his girlfriend Priya (Jasmin Bhasin). He cons her into believing he is well off, and adopts a well-bred persona in front of her. Raja is always accompanied by his best friend Seenu (Santhanam) and guided by Bhajan singer Ganesh (VTV Ganesh). When he is asked by Priya to buy high-priced passes to a New Year’s Eve gala, he finds himself severely short of money. After a failed attempt at chain snatching and crossing paths with the police, he heads to a hospital with theft on his mind.
Bharath Chakravarthy (Bharath) is an aspiring rockstar from Bangalore, who is irresponsible but well-meaning. His mother disapproves of his dreams and wishes him to become an army officer, which he opposes. When his band misses their flight to a live concert because of him, he takes them to Chennai via road. En route, Bharath and his girlfriend Laasya (Vega Tamotia) are attacked by religious fanatics, but are aided by strangers, which causes him to reflect on life. They finally arrive in Chennai, but their vehicle collides with an auto-rickshaw carrying a pregnant woman. Sacrificing their concert, Bharath and Laasya rush her to the hospital.
Saroja (Anushka) is a prostitute working at Rani Amma’s brothel at the Tamil Nadu-Andhra border. When she discovers that her life is constantly in danger while working there, she escapes to Chennai with her co-worker Karpooram (Nikki), a eunuch, in hopes of starting her own business venture. On arrival, she is hounded by both thugs and policemen, ultimately being led into a trap. In an ensuing fight, Karpooram is mortally wounded. Desperate, Saroja carries her to the hospital.
Rahimuddin Qureshi (Prakash Raj) and his wife Zara (Sonia Agarwal) had lost their unborn twins in a communal riot in Coimbatore. When Zara becomes pregnant again a few months later, Rahim heads to Chennai to locate his younger brother who had run away following the riots. There, he comes into repeated conflict with anti-Muslim officer Shivaram (Ravi Prakash), who suspects him of being a terrorist. Despite his claims of innocence, Rahim is brutally assaulted by Shivaram, and admitted in the hospital under close watch.
Lakshmi (Saranya) is the daughter-in-law of a poor weaver in Thoothukudi. When the weaver is unable to pay back a loan to a cruel money lender Narasimman (Kadhal Dhandapani), the latter kidnaps Lakshmi’s young son, a bright student, and refuses to release him until his debt is cleared. Lakshmi arrives in Chennai with her father-in-law, hoping to sell her kidney to obtain the money. After initial hassles, she undergoes the operation and receives the money, although it is still insufficient. At that point, Raja enters and steals the cash from her, ignoring her pleas. In a state of despair, Lakshmi and her father-in-law contemplate suicide.
Struck by his conscience, Raja is unable to continue his plan. He admits the truth to Priya and returns the money, even giving up some of his own money, gaining Lakshmi’s forgiveness. Meanwhile, Rahim discovers that terrorist leader Mansoor Khan (Jayaprakash) and his gang are planning to kill all the people at the hospital. Rahim tries to escape, but on seeing Bharath wheeling in a pregnant woman, he is reminded of his wife and offers to help them. The terrorist strike begins and several people are shot dead. Raja, Bharath, Rahim and Saroja lead a small bunch of survivors to an abandoned room.
Raja and Bharath fights and kill a terrorist one-on-one. While Bharath sustaining multiple bullet wounds to his shoulder in order to save Saroja. Rahim saves Shivaram from a shooter and comes face to face with his brother, who is part of the terrorist gang. When confronted, Rahim’s brother shoots himself. Just then, Mansoor Khan reveals himself to be a human bomb, and primes to explode. Raja sacrifices himself by pulling Khan and falling out of the window followed by the explosion.
In the aftermath, Bharath has lost his hand but is alive; he is hailed as a national hero. Saroja and Karpooram head toward a new decent life, hoping to find redemption. Lakshmi pays off the money lender and gives her son a proper education. Shivaram apologises to Rahim and asks for forgiveness, which he grants and accepts him as a brother. Raja is mourned by the people in his community, and Priya as well, while Ganesh and Seenu hail him as a martyr.
Directed by Krish
Produced by VTV Ganesh & R. Ganesh
Written by S. Gnanagiri (dialogues)
Screenplay by Krish
Story by Krish
Starring Anushka Shetty, Bharath, Silambarasan, Prakash Raj, Saranya, Sonia Agarwal
Music by Yuvan Shankar Raja
Cinematography Nirav Shah & Gnana shekar v s
Edited by Anthony Gonsalves
Production VTV Productions & Magic Box Pictures
Distributed by Cloud Nine Movies
Release dates 29 April 2011
Running time 161 minutes