I was zapped when I walked out of the theater after watching Aayirathil Oruvan. The movie is far from perfect in terms of screenplay or acting and had lots of loose ends & discrepancies in storytelling. But there was one thing that mirrored through very clearly – one man’s passion to make a difference. It takes a lot of courage to make a movie like this in Tamil. This movie’s got an A certificate, which by default eliminates family audience. Whatever said, the movie going experience is still a family exercise for most theater going audience. The trailer also made it quite obvious that this is not going to be a regular masala flick.
Period films are grueling to make. And historical fiction is definitely no joke. My knowledge of Tamil history is limited to my history text book. So I’m not in any position to comment about the authenticity of the facts mentioned. But I guess once we’ve established the genre as ‘fantasy,’ it comes with that extra space for creative license. I loved the movie simply for the way it was presented. The first half of the movie is very interesting and moves at a breakneck speed. It is one of the most seamless narrations I’ve experienced. Just when you’re unsure about how the plot’s going to move forward, you have Un mele aasadhaan which is the happiest song I’ve heard in a long time. I LOVE Dhanush’s rendition!
This is where the movie begins to almost become weird. There are loads of moments that make you go wtf! The biggest one of them to me was the depiction of the Cholas and their king. He’s shown as a tyrant who walks on the blood of those who dare to dispute him and can’t be bothered to hear his subjects out and almost immediately is shown as someone who shares a drink with his people and dances with them. The amount of gore is a bit much after a certain point. Just as i was recovering from this shock, the very weak flashback followed by the erotic sequence with the most explicit dialogues in Tamil cinema ever. Only it sounds highly unbelievable when Reema Sen is unable to even mouth them to perfection.
Actually, there are so many twists to the plot in the second half that at one stage I stopped trying to guess where the story was progressing. And the archaic Tamil didn’t make it any simpler either. I honestly feel they must have had subtitles in Tamil. But I guess that would also mean explaining the erotic sequence between Reema Sen and Parthiban which is probably why it was left out. The war sequence in the end is almost comical with the kind of costumes Reema Sen and her Pandian dynasty folks are seen wearing. That to me was the lowest point of the movie. Did I like the ending that followed? Again, way more gory details than I would’ve liked, but this is the only ending that makes sense.
In his first movie, Karthi made people sit up and notice him. He’s again proved that Paruthi Veeran was no fluke and he’s definitely the next big thing in Tamil cinema. The man’s got an irresistible charm. Even the crassest things he says don’t seem so crass! Reema Sen, who plays the most important role in the movie, has come a long long way since her completely blank expression Minnale days. But her acting still leaves a lot to be desired. To begin with, she could’ve at least picked up some Tamil during the long long production! Andrea has done what she had to do quite well but that really isn’t too much. Parthiban has almost unlearned all his mannerisms for the movie and has lived the role! I felt bad for Prathan Pothen. He has no role. You didn’t need him for that.
Some highlights of the movie other than Karthi and Selva are Ramji, the cinematographer and GV Prakash. I can imagine how this movie would’ve sounded with Raja’s RR, but GV has done a good job. In some places, the kind of music is so starkly contrasting to the period its set in, that this has worked wonderfully. Especially, the entry of Parthiban!
Definitely must watch in spite of all its flaws!