Vetrimaaran’s “Viduthalai” is all set to become a saga, with audiences eagerly waiting for the sequel to finish the story of people involved in these lucrative police tales. One of the reasons why this film works is that the characters are fleshed out like real policemen who not only lead a harsh life but must succumb to corruption to make sure they lead a sustainable life away from trouble. Here trouble comes in the form of an extremist group called “Makkal Padai,” where the group has fought for the people so that they are not being taken advantage of. The cops also face problems in the form of bureaucracy and the politics of whether/when to do the right thing.
Kumaresan, the newly appointed police constable, joins Operation Ghost Hunt, a statewide search for Perumal, the leader of the group “Makkal Padai” who is now the most wanted man in Tamil Nadu. Kumaresan reaches the hill station to join the team organized to get to the bottom of finding out where Perumal is. Kumaresan comes across as a man who is likable and affable and willing to help people because he thinks that the police are obliged to serve the people. The police need to protect society, and as part of their duty, they need to make sure people remain safe and help them in whatever way they can. Kumaresan, being a recruit, has all these idealistic opinions of his work that do not gel well with any of his colleagues or superiors.
Kumaresan is assigned the job of the driver at the camp, and his first task would include the transportation of food from the canteen to the camp to feed his colleagues. In one instance, Kumaresan helps an injured local elderly woman, and he does not deliver the food on time at the camp. He is reprimanded for his actions, for he did not know that helping the locals sets a bad precedent for the police. Kumaresan is shocked to see the enmity his colleagues have towards the locals. He concludes that his colleagues presume that most of the locals are “Makkal Padai” sympathizers, and that they are looking for an opportunity to harm the police.
Kumaresan has now been assigned night duty guarding camp, which requires him to stay awake all the time as a part of work-related punishment. Even with loads of work being assigned to him, Kumaresan does not stop being the good guy amongst the jackals, who are just looking for an opportunity to harass the locals. He helps a local group that was joined by Perumal in disguise, where Kumaresan talks about being the good cop. He conveys to them that he always wants to remain the nicer and more helpful cop because he truly believes in the goodness of the people around him. Kumaresan takes a lot of steps to make sure they keep locals safe and sound, and he tries a lot to help them as well, but none of his work is regarded as good enough for them. Even with the new chief of the operation, Sunil Menon, taking over, Sunil also proposes a policy of reconciliation with the locals to get more information about Perumal. This initially works in their favor until Sunil shows his true colors, which involves resorting to torture. Kumaresan mingles with a lot of locals; he is particularly interested in one local woman, Tamilarasi, who happens to be the granddaughter of the elderly lady he saved. Tamilarasi though reveals that her uncle has always been a sympathizer of “Makkal Padai,” which shakes up Kumaresan’s core because he had hoped to marry her one day, but now knowing where her family’s allegiance lies, he must make a decision that will not affect him or her in any other way. He would not want to lose his job, and he would not want her to be ostracized by her family and community.
However, he never loses the goodness in him and always holds onto that part of himself because he knows somewhere down the line, he will be appreciated for his nature. He never loses hope in the fact that being good and doing good will bring out the kind nature in the other person as well. Kumaresan is probably the only person in the entire camp that relies so much on being the nice guy that it becomes difficult for him after a point. He is keen on letting his superiors know that he knows where Perumal must be hiding out. Instead of going to his superiors with this information, he lets his colleague know about what he knows. The colleague turns out to be an informant for Perumal. This is the first mistake Kumaresan makes: not having the courage to inform his seniors about the tip he knew about Perumal. If he had revealed the information, it would have helped him later. He ended up waiting for way too long to reveal this information until the women of the entire town were brought in for questioning to learn about Perumal and his henchmen. It was too late for him to reveal the information because no one was willing to believe him, and he was specifically asked not to make any move from his end. To save Tamilarasi, he goes to the extent of meeting Sunil Menon with the information he has about Perumal. Sunil believes his words and sends along backup to capture Perumal. With Perumal on the run after knowing the police found out about their hideout, Kumaresan takes it upon himself to follow the main man till he is captured. Kumaresan is elated and shivering to have nabbed the most wanted man. He is excited and believes he will be made a hero out of this incident, and he will surely receive a medal for the bravery he showed in capturing Perumal.
To his horror, Kumaresan is suspended for superseding his superiors and going ahead with the capture even though he was asked to stand out. He will not be given any medal or recognition for the intelligence he provided in capturing Perumal. Again, Kumaresan is sidelined for being a good person. In all honesty, he was the one crucial person who had information on Perumal, while the rest of the police had not made any progress looking for him. Hopefully, the sequel will have Kumaresan slowly changing his attitude, becoming a more practical person, and getting back at the force that suspended him. There are glimpses of what the next movie has in store for the audience, especially when it comes to understanding what Kumaresan is up to. Will he become a part of “Makkal Padai” from here on, or will he continue hoping that his suspension will be revoked by some miracle? “Viduthalai” is a harsh truth thrown at our faces about the kind of life the police lead and the kind of dirty work they end up doing under the guise of interrogation and being puppets in the hands of government officials.