The fantasy genre is the easiest to pull off on paper. Irrespective of whether you’re going by the assembly line or your own imagination. But it is quite another thing to transfer the brilliance on screen. Not only because the genre has been beaten to death by Hollywood – which is not even done yet – but also because of the thin line between fantasy and suspension of disbelief.
Selvaraghavan’s Aayirthil Oruvan doesn’t know where to draw that line. It’s extremely imaginative, well written for most part but with several loose ends in the latter portions, the execution hangs in balance. It starts off quite weak, with some bad lip sync, sudden introductions of characters, builds up to be amazingly racy, with some brilliantly directed sequences in the first half. The few WTF moments of the first half are explained cleverly with the twist after the interval. But from then on, Selvaraghavan is clueless what to do. He shows sparks of brilliance with some set piece action, but the WTF moments here remain a mystery till the very end.
And that is where the movie falters. It’s like they had a great story(which it is, by the way), with some interesting ideas for the events in the beginning, the quirky but satisfying twist to reopen the story and then started the shooting. One of the well directed sequences comes just before the break when Karthi, Reema Sen and Andrea stumble upon a stonehenge like site and the desert landscape caving in with each step forward. That sequence right up till the break has been wonderfully done and the song Un Mela Aasadhan is just the icing on the cake.
Karthi walks and talks with oodles of charm though charm is not a word you would often associate with the character he plays. He has more lines than any of the characters and delivers them with such panache that you would think he is a veteran and not someone just two films old. Truly a star in the making in every sense of the word. Though he sounds like Surya with his monosyllables, I think he is far more capable histrionically.
When it comes to ambitious movies we often settle for the argument of “applauding the effort”. Almost all of Kamal Haasan’s ambitious movies has his fans going, “Hey, but you have to praise the effort”! But where and when does this stop? When do you stop feeling satiated with just an effort and look at the bigger picture, the accomplishments, the missteps etc? Selvaraghavan is exonerated by the genre he has chosen to put all the effort on. Sudhish Kamath gave the movie 3/10 and suggested Selvaraghavan should immediately join a screenwriting course. But then this is fantasy. I think most directors are on their own when not importing the story from a different medium(like novels, TV shows etc.). And for that Selvaraghavan can be given one more chance.
Well, Selvaraghavan may just take that chance without our permission. The ending left a lot of people bewildered. They probably hated the movie even more for it. But I personally thought it was a wonderful ending. It wasn’t unpredictable or brilliant by any margin because the story coming a full circle was always there for the taking. The question was whether Selva would dare to take it and end it that way. And he did, and that was quite admirable. What I didn’t like was the text appearing after, that seemed to push the allusion down everyone’s throat. Just so that everyone gets it!
Here is the kickass song from the movie. I loved it when the music came out back in June/July ’09 and forgot all about it by the end of the year. But after watching the movie, and that picturization, the love is back all over again. Dhanush, Aishwarya Dhanush and Andrea are sure having a blast with the vocals but you should really see the kind of fun Karthi, Reema and Andrea have on screen. Superb picturization aided by the scenes that lead to it.
One WTF moment that just needs an explanation: The boobs. Yes, they actually show boobs in the movie and everyone was left wondering how did they manage? Really, I am clueless how they got away with that and how come so less has been written about it. Did I miss something? It’s only an issue when a popular actress is involved and not some unknown woman playing a tribal?