Aayirathil Oruvan, the much-awaited movie of Selvaraghavan is released at last for Pongal. After two years of shooting, the movie is out after lot of bitter incidents like Selva-Yuvan breakup, Selva-Sonia Divorce, Gossips about Selva-Andrea romance. Got to watch the movie on the First Day Night Show in Albert Theatre. After a few years, I watched a movie in an ordinary theater with screaming and whistling audience.
The movie commences with a Therukoothu (a street play) that shows a Chozha king leaves his heir in custody of an honest soldier before leaving for the war followed by the real King hands over the prince to a guardian. The prince and the guardian leave the Chozha dynasty and reach a no mans island near Vietnam to escape from their enemies. Prathap Pothen comes as an archeologist who discovers the place where the Chozhas last existed. But he vanishes in that island. The Government sends a special team to unfold the mystery behind it. Archeologist Anitha Pandian (Reema Sen) leads the team along with the daughter of the missing archeologist Dr.Lavanya (Andrea), a labourer Muthu (Karthi) and his team and a military officer Ravi (Azhagam Perumal) and his team. They reach the island after seven hurdles (as mentioned in the Olaichuvadi written by a Pandiyan soldier who tried to follow the Chozhas when they leftTanjore) and discovers the mysterious place. Stop! the film isn’t over. It’s just the 1st half of the movie. The 2nd half is like another movie which is extremely different from the 1st half. It’s like a period/historic movie where as the former is adventurous.
Reema along with Karthi and Andrea reach their destination but they were surprised and amused to see the Chozhas still live even after 800 years. Parthiban rules as their king and the people exist without food and rain. They arrest the trio and at the time of burning them alive, Reema bounces and says that she’s from Tanjore, the headquarters of Chozha dynasty and she has a message for the king. When Parthiban asks for the message she says that she would say it only after making out with him. She tries to seduce him and tells that she’s going to take him back to Tanjore for his carnation. But actually, she belongs to the Pandiyan dynasty, the enemies of Chozhas whose aim is to take back the statue of their Holy God, that was stolen by the Chozhas eons ago. The Pandiyas kept searching for the statue for many generations. Reema, Azhagam Perumal, Minister of Archeology Dept and four others are the existing Pandiyas who were brought up by listening to the story of the Chozhas and the statue.
Reema cheats the king and his subjects and manages to take the statue back. She informs Ravi and the minister to come with army and they fight with the Chozhas. Karthi joins hands with Parthiban in rescuing them. But the Chozhas get defeated and were arrested by the army and are tortured by them. The military officers molest the Chozha women, even the king’s daughter and wife. Eventually Parthiban also dies and Karthi takes care of the prince as a guardian. The History Continues…
First of all, kudos to Selvaraghavan for his bold and daring attempt. This is the first Tamil film in this genre. A great Salute to him for taking Tamil Cinema to one more step. His directing capabilities are already proven in his previous films. The imagination of Selva is incredible. I got goosebumps when the shadow of Lord Nataraja appears. Simply scintillating! When it comes to performance, Karthi scores in the 1st half. His eyes are very expressive but he’s still in Paruthi Veeran hangover. Parthi(ban) scores in the 2nd half as a king we have never seen before. But it is Reema Sen who dominates through out the movie. Definitely it’s a milestone movie for her after Vallavan. Be it ultra modern Anitha, or the historic Nambiraattiyar, she is sensuous and has done an extra-ordinary job. More than acting, it’s her attitude that makes a mark. Allowing her boobs to be seen, the pissing scene, the seducing scenes, etc. shows her attitude. She has strained herself for more than 2 years without committing any other movie. . Again hats off to Selva for molding her. The only thing she could have imporoved is her lip movements. The voice of Aishwarya Dhanush doesn’t sync with her especially while speaking the Senthamizh (which is more like Sinhala Tamizh). The cinematography by Ramji is excellent and it’s the backbone of the movie. The locations, esp the island and the forests are visual treat. The costumes are unconventional, esp the King’s attires are very different from what we have seen in other Historic films so far. No big golden crowns, jewels and throne are given neither to the king, nor to the queen. Make-up for hundreds of junior artistes is not a cake-walk. Some emotional scenes make our eyes gleaming. For instace, when Karthi’s uncle was killed by the forest people and Karthi was saved. Another, when a lady shows her breast to the king, blood oozes out when she squeezes it. Since she has no food to eat, blood comes out instead of milk. The scene was picturised without obscenity. A heart-touching scene. The 1st half is like an express with Selva’s trademark “scenes” and dialogues. The remix of Adho andha paravai pola from MGR’s Aayirathil Oruvan is a surprise package and was very well received. Ummela aasadhan is better to watch than to listen to.
The same time the concept of the movie is not explained clearly. The climax or the last scene was abrupt which I thought a second interval (as I was waiting for Maalai neram song). The war scenes are like Avatar. (The Chozhas are like the Na’vis and Karthi is like Jake who joins the Chozhas and fights for them). It also reminds some of the Hollywood flicks like McKenna’s Gold, The Mummy, Gladiator and Apocalypto. The scene in which Parthiban’s wife is asked to dance for “Appdi podu…” at gun point sans her dress, is the height of perversion and vulgarity. This single scene destroys the whole soul of the movie. Though it depicted the Sri Lankan army and the Sri Lankan Tamilians, it should be followed by a stronger scene where the Chozhas take revenge for that. The film portrays the baddies and immorality wins at last. This may be a bitter truth in reality but not appreciable to show on celluloid. The music is not appealing. I wish Selva and Yuvan will patch up to give some soul-stirring Music. Even the re-recording lacks the feel which we get in other Selva movies like Kadhal Konden, 7/G, Pudhupettai. Andrea has nothing to do in the second half, even in the first half too. The picturisation of “O Eesa” song is like the final credit songs where all the actors appear (even the minister and Azhagam Perumal). Sema comedy! OMG! The much-expected “Maalai neram..” song is missing in the movie. The editing could have been done better in the 2nd half.
As a whole It’s in a different genre and a one-time watch but a must-watch movie. Though it’s not a milestone movie, Selva’s courage to handle the subject has to be appreciated. It’s good attempt rather than a good movie. I wish Selva to go back to his form by joining hands with Yuvan, Na.Muthukumar & Arvind Krishna.
The title Aayirathil Oruvan (One among the Thousand Men) neither refers to Karthi nor to Parthiban. It’s Selvaraghavan, who thought out of the box among the run of the mill film makers.