Aayirathil Oruvan | 2010

Genre: Drama /Adventure/ Action/ Horror

Author : Srivathsa

Synopsis: Aayirathil Oruvan is adventurous, mostly brilliant, brave and new to Tamil Cinema.

Selvaraghavan is one of those new generation directors of Tamil cinema and is certainly one of the best. His magnum opus “Aayirathil Oruvan” , is his latest after the near masterpiece “Pudhupettai”. This is a huge step in Tamil movie making, in terms of almost everything and Selvaraghavan can be proud of that.

The film has two parts; the adventurous first half and Selva’s own audacious second half. The first half of the story as such has its own typical adventure style. The film opens up with a Tamil folk drama on the streets of a village in Tamil Nadu. This typically forms the back bone story which leaps into the last Chola period, although the movie as its disclaimer says has no link with the real Chola or Pandiya dynasties. Then, the story starts revolving around the team of government officials, coolies and guards, in search of the lost archeologist near Vietnam’s islands. Of course, the daughter of the archeologist played by Andrea joins them. Reema Sen plays the character Anita who leads the team and Karthik Sivakumar, the leader of the coolies. This forms a perfect basement for the adventure story that forms the first half. It has all that is required , the seven deadly traps.Selva even becomes Quentin ,in the bitchy talks between the girls. Damn! He pulled it off in style!The second half is when the team finds the lost chola kingdom, which is pretty much now a cannibalistic, Viking kinda society, ruled by the king, performed with versatility by R.Parthiban. This is where Selva makes the difference.

We are without doubt reminded of the dark themes, surreal environments and nonetheless, Lars Von Trier sort of depiction, including the portrayal of poverty of a breast feeding woman. Also, it did remind me of the “Apocalypse Now”’ Colonel Kurtz and the hearts of darkness. Kudos to Selvaraghavan for making the theme, so profound and those fifteen minutes are fantastic, including the BGM which is pretty normal in the first half. The surrounding dancers, the king’s helpless atrociousness belong to the mind of a master film maker. But I couldn’t certainly imagine a Chola dynasty even at these days , so horrific. Perhaps, they would be more advanced than us, if they were as good as in “Ponniyin Selvan”. Leaving that apart, the movie then movie along the lines of warfare and gimmickry inspired from Lord of the Rings, 300 and certainly Gladiator. But that doesn’t hinder our theme anywhere.

And then we come to the climax, which arguably deals with the wrong doings of armies with the enemies and then ends there, without a big finale. But the pattern continues with the “allegedly” Chola dynasty running with a king and the young prince. This might very well mean a sequel, and the otherwise too. Nonetheless, it doesn’t matter. Selva, did his job and did it bravely.

The songs, I should say are well picturised including the music video styled “Eesa En Eesa” and the hippy “Un mela asathan”. But cannot forgive GV Prakash for his usage of “Bo Sambo” ‘s tune as BGM for a scene. Cinematography deserves a special mention, which in spite of the some crappy visual effects sometimes, tends to stand out.

There are a few minor disappointments though, which merely affect the film’s flow. This includes the sloppy editing, the unnecessary skeleton graphics in the arena scene, and depiction of Cholas as a Viking kind of barbaric society. The art team should be appreciated for their work and so does the visual effects team deserves it. But yes, for the budget, we tend to keep our fingers crossed for better visuals.

Selvaraghavan has given us a film that breaks the genre barrier of the Tamil industry. With its minor flaws and a few logical issues, which I overlooked, due to the enormity of the undertaking, “Aayirathil Oruvan” is an audacious attempt, that marks the beginning of a really Hollywoodish, Tamil film industry.

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