A cricket match batting performance equivalent to Selvaraghavan’s work in Aayirathil Oruvan would read:
161-2 in 25 Overs;then an interval (read it rain interruption for cricket & read it brain hemorrhage in Selva’s case) ;then 203 all out in 44 overs.
I am not a big fan of reviewing films by splitting them into two halves. So the usual “First half wasOK,Second half was a bit slow” kind of comments irk me! But for this film,I think one cannot do justice to either halves while giving a verdict taking it as a single piece. And that is because the first half was extraordinary while the second half was dreadful-that is to put it mildly and more importantly, there seemed to exist no connection between the two halves of the film.
So let me get into the first half.
Reema Sen heads a team that is interested in finding the mystery behind the disappearance of Prathap Pothan in
They encounter traps set by the cholans believed to have existed in their destination spot. In showing how they tackle these traps, there is action aplenty-Hollywood style and surprisingly convincing too. Taking cue from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the director has made a commendable job in bringing out an adventurous ride-the scene that shows how they deal with the quick sand is an elucidation.
The locations are not at all filmy.The tribes they encounter look real, the fight with the red tribes is absorbing,disturbing to an extent as well- This is not a film for kids for sure.
After overcoming several obstacles, the only ones to reach the destination are the protagonists. They suddenly hear voices, they get lost in hallucination, behave like zombies- You get dragged to the edge of your seat and the screen freezes to show INTERVAL.
Now to the second half.
The Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade journey abruptly ends and you are welcomed by a dark gloomy setup like in
What do the killers accomplish by doing the holocaust. Of what significance is the idol?!
Why does the armed force cooperate to the cause of the enraged pandian descendants(only a few of them)
How does the hero escape?How will his journey continue when the troops have sealed the entire perimeter?
How does Reema Sen get supernatural powers if she is just an ordinary person as she explains in the commentary??
What on earth was the sequence involving the shotput throw (I couldn’t get a better name for it) trying to convey?! Criminal waste of ten minutes!!
As for the performances, Karthik does a neat job with spontaneous wits, emotions,stunts but if he has to move up the ladder he has to shed his Paruthi Veeran image. He still doesn’t seem to have got out of that mould. The industry is notorious for stereotyping. If he continues this way, his career will end short and sweet.
Reema Sen has been handled a big role and she shows wrath, shows she is a woman on a mission and nothing could just stop her from achieving it- be it the scenes she gets her guns out of the holster in typical Billa style or be it the scenes where she betrays the cholan people. But her lip sync is horrible to say the least.
Andrea doesn’t have much space. She is made a sitting duck. She performs adequately in the scenes she holds control.
Parthiban’s role is absolutely gibberish and to treat a seasoned artiste this way is disappointing. He gets a well built up intro and just when you think you are going to be treated by a nice performance, everything goes to fumes the moment you start realizing that the film is heading the wrong way.
One thing that stands out supreme through both halves of the film is GV Prakash’s music. Only two songs out of the six composed are part of the film.It has become a ritual for Selva to not picturise songs composed for his films. The victim was the solemn ‘Oru naalil vaazhkai’ in Pudhupettai.Here in AO, both the melodious numbers ‘Maalai neram’ and ‘Indha paadhai’ donot appear on screen. However, the songs that appear have been picturised well and that is a plus.The 'Adho andha paravi' remix is amateurish though. The background score is apt - The music in the ‘quick sand’ sequence in particular. There is a good score towards the climax as well - I really wonder how he was able to sit through to compose the background score for the lousy climax!
Ramji’s cinematography holds forte in the aerial shots and the stunt sequences.He is another big plus to the film.
Editing by Khola Bhaskar definitely needed to be better. There were some abrupt cuts. I might be wrong as I hear that the film has been butchered by theatre owners at will- Who wouldn’t take the privilege if the film doesn’t look sane!
Pats on the back for the producer for believing in such a different attempt and some slaps as well for not interfering in the filming as his interference would have definitely given a check on the wayward turn the film takes in the second half.
Finally to the director, I am not annoyed at him, for, he has attempted a new genre. I am just sympathetic that he has squandered a promising start. Selvaraghavan is a wonderful example to the fact that divergent thinking and lack of coherence are two sides of the same coin. He proved that in Pudhupettai with a good start and an unrealistic end. With Aayirathil Oruvan, he reiterates the same- on a bigger scale; He turns an action packed astonishing adventure ride into an awfully atrocious raid on the senses of the audience.
Verdict: (Mis) Adventure of a new kind