|Director Prabhu Deva|
|Release date 12 January 2009 (2009-01-12)|
Similar Thirumalai, Pokkiri, Thirupaachi
Villu (English: The Bow) is a 2009 Indian Tamil action masala film written and directed by Prabhu Deva. The film stars Nayantara, Vijay in a dual role while Ranjitha and Prakash Raj play other prominent roles. Manoj K. Jayan, Vadivelu, Adithya and Geetha play supporting roles whilst Prabhu Deva, Mumaith Khan, Zabyn Khan, and Kushboo Sundar appear in item numbers. The film is produced and distributed by Ayngaran International and composed by Devi Sri Prasad. It was loosely inspired from the Hindi film Soldier starring Bobby Deol and Preity Zinta. The film was released on 12 January 2009 receiving negative reviews.
Pugazh (Vijay) is an IITian and Oxford alumnus with a Masters degree in chemical engineering. With the help of his relative, Inspector Joseph (Manoj K. Jayan), he succeeds in tracking down a wanted criminal Raaka (Adithya), and kills him. The scene then shifts to a village, where Pugazh is attending the wedding of a Tahsildar's daughter. He meets Janavi (Nayantara), a friend of the bride, and instantly falls in love with her. After persistent wooing, he succeeds in winning her heart.
Janavi takes Pugazh to Bern to introduce him to her father J. D. (Prakash Raj), who is a wealthy businessman and arms smuggler. During his stay in Bern, he encounters J. D.'s gang, consisting of Shaan (Devaraj), a hotel pimp Max (Sriman) and another henchman (Anandaraj). After initial confrontations with the three of them, he evolves his own plans and starts eliminating them one after another. His remaining target is J. D.. Janavi soon finds out that Pugazh is plotting to kill her father and warns Pugazh's mother (Geetha) about her son. On the contrary, Pugazh's mother not only knows and supports what Pugazh is doing, she also reveals that she is not his real "mother" and tells her why Pugazh is after her father.
Pugazh's father was Major Saravanan (Vijay), a patriotic Indian Army officer. During a peacekeeping mission, he noticed J. D., Shaan, Raaka and their two henchmen, who were then army officers working in his team, accepting money from terrorists in exchange for allowing them to carry out their activities. When he confronted them, they killed him and fabricated a story claiming that since he accepted money from terrorists to help them, they killed him considering the safety of the other soldiers and themselves. He was stripped posthumously of all his titles, honours and badges. During his funeral, his family, comprising his widow (Ranjitha) and a young Pugazh, were humiliated by J. D. and the villagers and were banished from their village. The villagers also barred Pugazh from performing the last rites of his father and threw the dead body into a ditch. Pugazh's mother sends Pugazh away with Shaan's estranged wife (who is the adopted "mother") as she did not want him to grow up carrying the stigma of being the son of a disgraced army officer.
In the present day, J. D. takes Pugazh to India to retrieve a Blu-ray disc containing all of J. D.'s secret information, which Pugazh had earlier received from Shaan and given to Joseph. Pugazh soon finds out that Raaka is not dead and has kidnapped Joseph. Pugazh manages to flee from J. D.'s and Raaka's clutches and after a thrilling chase, reaches an abandoned temple outside his village where he reunites with his long-lost mother, who had been living there since being banished from the village. J. D., Raaka and their henchmen soon arrive there, kill Joseph and injure Pugazh. Undaunted, Pugazh kills Raaka and fights bravely with J. D., weakening him. With all the villagers assembled around the abandoned temple, Pugazh forces J. D. to reveal the truth about Saravanan to them. After his confession, Pugazh kills him. With the truth about Saravanan finally revealed, the army reinstates his titles, honours and badges, and returns his army badge and uniform to his widow.
Prabhu Deva was interested in remaking the Bollywood film Soldier in Tamil. Along with announcing his venture in Bollywood titled Wanted Dead and Alive, which was the remake of Pokkiri, he launched his next Tamil venture in June 2008. Ayngaran International was to produce the film as well. The film was initially titled as Pugazh. Prabhu Deva later announced the titled to be Singam. However, a copyright issue was brought up concerning the title Singam, which was already announced as the title for a film by director Hari. Prabhu Deva then changed the titled to Vill, meaning "bow" in Tamil, a more formal spelling of Villu. The team later found out that S. J. Suryah was to use the title Vill for a Telugu film. Suryah, with the negotiation of Vijay, later changed his film's title The title Villu subsequently became the film's official name.
Actress Ranjitha was selected to play Vijay's mother. Director Prabhu Deva started shooting for Villu with the team's first location being Palani, Tamil Nadu. The team's second location was set to be in Karaikudi. Prabhu Deva had reportedly planned two song sequences to be shot in European countries. Another song sequence was shot in Bangkok, Thailand. Later, reports claimed that the film's script and story would deal with a majority of the film taking place in Italy. Prabhu Deva had reportedly planned two song sequences to be shot in European countries. In an interview with Prabhu Deva, a month prior to the film's release, Prabhu Deva stated the film will be a "Tamil version of a James Bond film." It was reported that Prakash Raj was missing from shooting when the crew was shooting the climax.
Vijay was Prabhu Deva's initial choice for the lead role. Prabhu Deva trusted the actor, due to their widely known friendship, after their success with Pokkiri the previous year. However, several critics and media had dubious thoughts on the choice of Vijay as the lead role actor for the film. Some websites wondered if Villu would promote his career, or give him another lukewarm box-office response, like his previous films Azhagiya Thamizh Magan and Kuruvi, which proved to be poor-grossers at the box-office due to their weak storyline and screenplay. Nayantara was confirmed the film's lead actress upon the film's launch. Vadivelu was also confirmed for a supporting role. Earlier reports claimed that Biju Menon or Napoleon were to be given a supporting role, but later the role went to Manoj K. Jayan. Vaiyapuri, Kushboo Sundar and Kovai Sarala were also said to be given roles in the film. However, Sundar was later confirmed an item number appearance while Sarala was to sing a song in the film.
The soundtrack for this film was composed by Devi Sri Prasad.
The satellite rights of the film were sold to Kalaignar.
This film was released on 12 January 2009, on the same day as Prabhu Deva and Vijay's previous film Pokkiri. It received mainly negative reviews. Behindwoods.com gave 1.5 on 5 and said "With tacky production values, shabby cinematography and amateurish direction Villu comes across as a more than two-hour long." while another website stated "On the whole, Vijay's Villu is an action-packed mass masala film for his ardent fans but with loose ends."Rediff reviewed the film "Leave your brains behind and prepare to enjoy the adventures of a Tamil James Bond and rated 2.5/5". IndiaGlitz called it "loose strings with style".