A Perspective on Aayirathil Oruvan

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.

Picture Courtesy: Indiaglitz

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?


37 thoughts on “A Perspective on Aayirathil Oruvan

  1. Hm we almost watched this movie yesterday, decided against it.
    Now after reading your review, I want to now!! Intriguing. Tch tch!

    Adi: Haha, you can try it next weekend. But I have a feeling you won’t like it! ;)


  2. dude..I loved the video of un mela aasathan too..been on loop the whole time since I saw the movie..The reason i feel why the boobs sequence was allowed was because it does not depict sexuality but poverty. The fact that the child cannot breastfeed shows what conditions the tribe is living in..Hence it must have been accepted..So i guess thats one step forward in Indian Cinema..

    Adi: Probably but that still doesn’t seem convincing.


  3. I am sorry to say that your review is even more crappier. What effort are you talking of – there was no coherent screenplay through out and frankly I was just waiting to see if it all makes sense till the end.

    I dont understand why you like the first half – those creatures in the sea look so random – what are they – magical creatures or some special Cholan fish species – this was all with poor graphics.
    Then they massacre all the tribals claiming they have crossed the challenge – what crap is that? Does the director know anything about human rights – even the tribals have a life and are humans and not animals – why is it that only Karthi’s 3 friends have a family back home and not those tribals!
    Then the shadow – this was more crap – appearing from nowhere.
    Not to forget the terrain switch within kms.
    Is this all not there on Google Maps – what crap – I mean either say it is a time machine or say it is some magical pull – I could just not comprehend.

    All I can say was that there was loads of crap in the movie. I read a review saying second half was the plight of Lankan Tamils with Parthiban playing Prabhakaran. I think there are better ways to project the untold misery of our Lankan Tamil brothers – this movie was just a load of crap in which I dont want to even hear such allusions.

    Also Cholas lived a civilized life and led many conquests north, south and even across the seas. They were known for their architectural abilities, painting, art and music. To show them as barbarians and cannibals was the biggest insult and gross mis-depiction of our rich Tamil history.

    I am only shocked at this review – if you of course are in someway related to the crew do let me know.

    Adi: I seriously don’t have the patience to take each issue here. But next time sign in with a proper name and valid email and website!


    1. Just wanted to clarify. I don’t think I will like this movie either. Not seen it.

      But you’re shocked and shaken by this movie? :D How do you manage life? oru kutti question.


  4. did u like maalai neram?

    Adi: I love Malai Neram! But you know what? It wasn’t anywhere in the movie. Nor was Indha Padhai. But in hindsight, I wonder where Malai Neram would have made sense. Nowhere! Indha Padhai is quite relevant though.


  5. absolutely loved un mela aasaithan! wondering why so little has been written about that song. esp loved the “kaathadi pola…” line.

    Adi: I love Dhanush’s accent in the song!


  6. adi, nice review. i am yet to see the movie and i am pretty sad malai neram is not shown. really? :(.i loved tht song.
    also, more than the review i like the reply you have given to a certain shocked and shaken person.

    Adi: Even I like that song. It was the first song that became popular when the music was out.


  7. The movie is not nearly as bad as people have made it out to be , and Karthi is awesome . I love how Selva made it so that Karthi doesn’t play the hero in all the scenes , but gives a realistic performance , fear , crudeness n all .

    Ppl have told me the ending sux , but to me it was the best thing about the second half , which IMO , in a word , sucked – esp when compared to the first

    I can handle the weird graphics , ppl dying crazily and the fact that they could not find the area on google maps , ( they could still get a cellphone signal there ! ) , but It had too much unnecessary mysticism and I agree with the anonymous poster above – Cholas were really badly depicted as a bunch of uncouth savages

    Music : Even though as u said Malai Neram wouldn’t have fitted in , its my fav song of the movie and I was hoping it would come in somewhere :|

    Adi: Second half sucked, yeah. Majorly lost the plot. Probably the Cholas were depicted that way because they’ve remained a spent force for so long and never quite adapted with the changes over the years. Far fetched, but yeah.


  8. Dude, I saw the film in London, but I’m literally kind of upset that I may have seen a cut version.

    Where was the boobs scene/military rape scene in the film?

    Adi: It was immediately after the introduction of The King. The gang rape scene is towards the end of the movie in the island where they break.


  9. So the boobs shown are not Reema Sen’s? votha! Then what’s the deal with that bitchy catfight in the trailer? They don’t tear their tops off and claw each other? I was going to see the movie just for that sequence! Tcha!

    Jokes apart, I will go and see it after all. Mighty impressed with Karthi’s debut in Paruthiveeran & I’m anticipating better things from him. Hopefully he won’t be typecast as the rogue.

    Adi: Very much possible, that typecasting. Hope it doesn’t happen though.


  10. hmm.. most people who saw the movie hated it! still haven’t decided if i shd watch it…

    Adi: It’s definitely worth watching, but of course, don’t take the kid :)


  11. Buddy beat me to it with his comment. I haven’t seen the movie but I think Reema Sen’s boobs would have added an extra couple of dimensions towards solving the mystery you talk about in the movie.

    Adi: Haha, but of course!


  12. They showed boobs in a Tamil movie?! wowie…sounds like I’ve been hiding under a rock for the past 20 odd years, wonder if there are some Tamil dudes like in “knocked up” who created a site only devoted to movie actresses boobs-that would be pretty funny!

    Adi: Hahah I remember that very funny subplot in Knocked Up.


    1. and adding to what i wrote … why do people say the screenplay was incoherent … i thought it was very well done – i was able to understand it and it felt absolutely normal. Infact the complexity and the fantasy never go together – but it did very well here !


  13. After you having written so much i need to watch the movie now

    Adi: Watch it but make sure you put those two kids to sleep. Same goes for Ishqiya :)


  14. On the hand, one should appreciate Selva for trying out a so-called offbeat film. On the other hand, it’s high time people started watching a movie cause it’s good and not cause it’s different. Yet to watch the movie, so I shall keep shut!

    Interesting blog dude.

    Adi: Thanks!


  15. Ha.. Am I the only one who liked the second half more than the first? Think about it nga.. First half had flicked almost 70% of the scenes from everywhere starting with 300, MacKenna’s Gold, Indiana Jones and what not.

    It was the second half that looked faintly original. In fact the story begins only in the second half. And yeah, you are right, people are shown that dark and with that culture because they are a dying culture who are not exposed to the open. Thats why Parthiban hunts, offers food in rations and so on and so forth.

    Personally, it was more than the effort. Barring the stupid special effects and shoddy direction it was excellent wrt screenplay, story, acting and music. There is no point looking out for nuances here.

    Adi: It’s not that I hated the second half but there a paradigm shift in the way everything was done that somewhere things seemed lost.


  16. There’s a reason they showed the Cholas as savages. If they had showed the Pandyas as the timid savages and the Cholas as sophisticates, autos and aruvals would have come from Madurai.

    Remember what happened when Ghilli was released. They had to take another movie named ‘Madurey’.

    Adi: Hahahaha!


  17. Dude,
    just happened to watch this movie.

    Last 20 mins was horrible. Why would they show those tent scenes for every women?

    Karthi was the only consolation in the movie and ofcourse Reema sen for reema sen lovers.

    I hope selva hits back in his favorite theme and gets back to Yuvan.

    Adi: Wasn’t that bad, dude. I quite liked it.


  18. Not sure if anyone else has mentioned this, but I found Erum Ali’s costume designing (in the second half) pretty neat.

    Adi: Yep, and only in the second half they even changed costumes!


  19. Hi,
    Praveen pointed your post after I wrote a review and here I am. Looks like we are more or less in the same page. The movie is definitely worth a watch, though the second half could have been cut down.. Parthiban and Karthik shined through out and the literary Tamil was really nice to hear.

    Adi: Yep, Parthiban’s character buildup was awesome.


  20. This appears to be a movie right up my street… and the movie to watch du jour!

    Adi: Yes it is. And it’s genuinely good film making, you know? I think you’ll love this the way you loved Arundhati. Do write about it if you do!


  21. I agree with some of the sentiments.
    It was the overwhelmingly disrespectful manner in which the Cholas were portrayed that totally put me off the movie.
    All my life i hear about the Cholas as a highly civilised society and this movie they are depicted as some mentally deranged cave dwelling beasts that deserve to get shot down by modern armies.
    I am an expert at spotting sublte mind control tactics used in cinema. Called subliminal brainwashing.
    Its socially irresponsible to promote division among tamil people. You can say it is just a movie, but people get affected. At a time our community has suffered so much and desperately needs unity. Whether its true or not if we are divided as a people, there is a certain responsibility movie directors must have.
    The director being a tamil should not make a mockery of our ancestors. We have enough non-tamil people insulting our ancestors without our own doing it. I am a Sri Lankan tamil and have to put up with all kinds of rubbish that Sinhalese make up about us.
    The movie was just plain crude. Glad i did not watch it in the cinema, i would have walked out.


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