Review: Aayirathil Oruvan

Hampering in no man’s land – Andrea (left), Reema (center) and Karthi (right)

B-grade flick turns into a CGI disaster

Aayirathil Oruvan (A)

Director: Selvaraghavan

Starring: Karthi, Reema Sen, Andrea Jeremiah and R. Parthiban

Genre: What starts like Indiana Jones/Mummy becomes Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and then into 300 and finally a sequel in the making. I’m baffled.

Rating: ZERO

It took them two and a half years to make this film. All fingers pointed at the CGI which according to the filmmaker took a lot of time. Having seen the film, I think the CGI is a letdown. There are more animation programmers in India than in North America. But, the visual effects in Aayirathil Oruvan are a real eyesore. The only reason for Avatar’s box-office success is the pleasing animation in it. Every effect has been made picture perfect whereas visual effects in Aayirathil Oruvan fail to impress.

The story in short: Archaeologists Anita (Reema Sen) and Lavanya (Andrea Jeremiah) lead a team of army and coolies into Vietnam to find and rescue Lavanya’s father, Chandramouli (Pratap Pothen). The army is led by a hotheaded Ravisekharan (Azhagamperumal) while the coolies are led by an outlandish character (Karthi).

Taking the lead role is Reema Sen who tries her best to perfect her portrayal of an avenging Pandian heiress.  But, she fails to prove herself and her “meaty” role is lost in all the tomboyish antics. The role of the runaway Cholan Prince isn’t an easy one for Parthiban who with Aayirathil Oruvan adds another feather to his hat. Andrea Jeremiah arrives like a breeze. She does her best in playing the snobby archaeologist and yes, she outperforms Reema Sen in a few scenes.

Karthi is back in his Paruthiveeran instincts as a loud and lewd low-life worker who flirts with possibly every fair-skinned female he crosses. In this 190 minute film, he mentions his name only once – Sukumaran. Led by a highly experimental cast, Selvaraghavan rightly knew that no questions will be aroused while filming most of the scenes.

Aayirathil Oruvan has its true moments of the Selvaraghavan-styled adult romance between the three. But, why is there an overdose of bad dressing? The Cholans lived with respect. They were well-clothed. And, even if they were to escape and live more than 700 years inside a dark cave, they would still remember their antiquities.

And, where are the Cherans? I’ve always heard war stories involving all three kingdoms not two. Selvaraghavan’s research was the ultimate overkill. He forgot about the script and started taking in everything about the Cholans. The narratives during the titles or those cartoons on the wall, everything looks like Neolithic inhabitants and not Cholans. 150 minutes past the movie, Chandramouli is finally shown alive and in a happy psychic state. But, what happens to him after that unimaginable gladiator-like stunt sequence? No one really wants to know that. These hassles were to find Chandramouli who has gone missing. But, after finding him we just let him slip away and hell, who cares about the rescue mission, the story seems invigorating. Chandramouli bears deep influence to Harold Oxley of Indiana Jones and Kingdom of Crystal Skull.

The film tries to re-invent fantasy but fails big time. I do support the art of filmmaking and realize what a masterpiece Aayirathil Oruvan could have been if Selvaraghavan thought of a story that had a beginning, middle and end.

Aayirathil Oruvan is truly a magnum opus BUT in the wrong hands.

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