January 17, 2010

Aayirathil oruvan

I have always believed that there cannot be a film that can be liked and hated at the same time, well I was proved wrong when I saw AO. I know people are peeved at my non - opinionated and Non - Committal stand, but that is exactly how I feel about the film. What was Selva trying to do, Is a question that went through my mind as Selva's magnum opus unfolded before my eyes. Lets start with the genre. What genre does this film belong to? I have 2 opinions. Is it an Adventure/fantasy - Yes, if you consider the film till Reema, Andrea and Kaarthi reach the place where barbaric and primitive Chola's live even today. And No - When you understand that Reema is actually from the lineage of Pandia's and she is here to fulfill the dream of her roots, which apparently is to get back the idol stolen approximately 800 years ago.

Selvaragahavan starts off the narration with a short story about an Idol stolen from the pandias around 800 years ago by the Chola's and taken back to their home land. 800 years later, Prathap Pothan finds the place where the chola's are very successfully hiding inside caves (Yes, fantasy eh?) and he disappears. A team is assembled to find Prathap Pothan who happens to be Andrea's father.

Reema Sen and Andrea along with Kaarthi - a rather foul mouthed casual labourer and Azhagam Perumal(Ex- Military man) accompanies the 2 lovely ladies on a trip to a remote island in Vietnam in search of the Statue. This is where the movie takes the avatar of an adventure epic. We are told that reaching the village inhabited by Cholas is extremely dangerous as they have very cleverly laid traps(The count is 7)to prevent people from finding them! No free doughnuts for guessing that Kaarthi, Reema and Andrea somehow get separated from their team after a fair dose of fighting and killing Red Indians and venomous snakes. With Kaarthi left alone with 2 sexy sirens and Selva at the helm, you get what you expect. Reema and Andrea are poles apart with Kaarthi played around between them. He gets kicked around and ridiculed; and even shown as weaker "sex" when he rolls down the sand dunes while the ladies walk past him with nonchalance. I sat up, I came to a selva film to see this, precisely this. You also get to experience THE - FIRST - IN - TAMIL CINEMA -attempt to mouth profanity laden conversation between 2 lead ladies which pretty much looked like Straight out of Martin scorcese film.

Shut up bitch- I will blow your fucking brains says Reema. I will leave it to you to have an opinion. I had 2 things going on in my mind- Is this "I can do a scorcese-QT in Tamil Cinema By Selva" or was that actually cool?

The first shot in the harbor is strikingly reminiscent of the movie "Mummy" where Brendon Fraser is asked to accompany the lovely lady to find the "Mummy". The movie gathers momentum from a - "Silly- good adventure ride" to a "good - Author backed narration". The transition however isn't smooth. The audience are left wondering whether Selva has made 2 films, They were treated to an Adventure fantasy ride; and as they settled down with popcorn and pepsi, they are now shown a film that is a "Period- fantasy film" with a Pro Eelam Subtext that is hard to ignore.

Yes- In this part of the film Kaarthi- Reema and Andrea are captured by the Cholas who have been living in a cave away from a rapidly developing world ruled by a king (Parthiban). Now, the story takes a violent turn with Reema revealing the ultimate twist to us, that she is a pandia herself and she is on a family mission to retrieve back the Idol; there is also a shocking revelation that Azhagam Perumal is also from the Pandia clan.

This is where the movie gets incomprehensible- The Tamil especially is difficult to pick up even to those who have learnt the language in school. Reema with her expertise in Black Magic convinces the king of Chola's that she is their messenger. And ultimately, she betrays the Cholas by bringing the army to wipe them off and get her revenge.

Now, this is where I have a problem, why couldn't the army enter the cave and shoot every body? Lesser said about the war that ensues. The army shoots with machine guns and the Cholas defend it with a shield in their hands. Selva please! What were you thinking when you were shooting the scene? I do understand that this movie is fantasy, but did I complain about black magic? I didn't. Did I complain about the Natraja's shadow in the desert? I didn't. Reema's pathetic lip sync to ancient tamil dialect doesn't help matters as well. For someone who took great pains to leanr sword fights, may be she could have done her bit to learn the language as well.

Did I complain about a stretch of land which collapses when ever Kaarthi, Reema and andrea step on it? I didn't! But shielding bullets from an AK 47 with a shield is Stupid, not to mention the gladiator inspired stunt with pathetically made graphics. I don't expect such things from you.

I am actually intrigued about idea or frame of mind Selva was in while he started writing the film. Did he set out to make a film about Eelam and he just replaced those involved in the war with Cholas,Pandias ? Or did he suddenly felt the scope to refer to the Eelam issue in this film and decided to have it? I contend that is something that only he can answer, but I confess it didn't work either way.

The climax scenes of the army raping women depict the atrocities the tamils in Eelam are subjected to. The references are too apparent with Parthiban heading the ethnic tamil group and Cholas being subjected to exploitation by the army. Why in this movie? Why not make a separate film about the Eelam issue ? Why is selva Ragahavan desperate to recreate the gladiator magic? Why couldn't you do something on your own selva? I already own a DVD of Gladiator and your version wasn't better than what I have already seen.

Coming back to the earlier question of whether I liked the film...I think Karthi has a bright future if he continues to choose films like these, he outshines other actors when he has something to do in the film. Reema Sen has finally come off age and is seen doing a role with substance (And OOmph as well). Perhaps we should appreciate the kind of work that has gone into this film not only the intellectual work but also the hard work of the numerous junior artists. But I just gave it a thought and now I am thinking whether should we actually appreciate Selva for making this film?

I will leave it to you this time.


saTish said...

I refrain from commenting... i implore you to watch the film again.

Try to understand the film buddy...not that it has complex layers. It is just that people aren't ready to pay attention.

And I belive the army ddnt invade the chozhan cave because the confrontation between the 8 surviving pandiyans & the chozhans is an epic tale of revenge & redemption. It is a war which has to be fought!!!

And, why do you find it tough to believe the chozhan armor & shields can't withstand bullets??

karthik said...

And, why do you find it tough to believe the chozhan armor & shields can't withstand bullets??

Dude its not possible to defend bullets n all in reality :)anyways this film s so different from other film and i do appreciate the efforts put in from everyone associated with and it.... hats off to the director. hope people do dfferent things like this,... but ya there are few flaws :)thats not deniable though :)