16 January 2010

Aayirathil Oruvan ( 2010 ) - Film review

Aayirathil Oruvan is a near three hour journey that shows us what we've lost / gained in the last eight centuries. An original script woven around a lost Chola legacy, this film easily manages to keep the viewers glued to their seats for most of its running time. Director Selvaraghavan unravels the story at a perfect pace through the first half, while things get a little slow at times in the second.

*Spoilers ahead, heaps of them*

Aayirathil Oruvan is an extremely audacious attempt by the Producer and the Director to mix commercial cinema with the artistic. It wouldn't have been daring, had it not been this brutal; because in that case, it would have been a runaway blockbuster. The story begins in 1279 AD with a prophecy, that a man will come, eight centuries later, to relieve the troubles of a civilization cut off from the rest of the world. Cut back to present day, archaeologist Prathap Pothan gets lost in his search for the lost kingdom near Ming hua island close to Vietnam. An expedition is arranged by a Union minister to go there and see what is going on. Initially, you might wonder why he should allot so much of time and money for this. Anyway, Reema Sen heads the expedition which also includes Azhagamperumal, few armymen under him, archaeologist Andrea and a band of coolies under Karthi, the MGR fan. While the story is as serious and magical as it can get with all the traps put in place by the Cholas (well, almost all) like cannibals, warriors, jellyfish, a million snakes etc, Karthi plays a very vital role keeping things believeable to an extent with all his antics, like "Paatha vudanaye mudivu paniten, ungala than kalyanam panippen nu..." and "Onnu pesave matengudu. Onnu over ah pesudu." that has the theatre in splits.

The real story unravels in the second half, when Karthi, Andrea and Reema reach the lost village only to discover that the civilization is not destroyed yet. The last of the Cholas live in dark caves under their king, Parthiban.It is most unusual to see Parthiban portray such a serious role, sticking to the original script, and he pulls it off brilliantly. This is where we are shown that Reema Sen is actually a Pandiya royal who is here to retrieve the statue of their goddess. What she didn't expect was the existence of Cholas under such circumstances. How she betrays the Cholas and tries to lead them to their doom and why Karthi is one in a thousand (ada, Ayirathil Oruvan) forms the rest of the story. Don't take the 'A' certificate lightly and walk in with your family / children. You will regret it. There is too much of open eroticism, blood and violence of all forms.Hope Selvaraghavan realizes that brutality is not an essential part of movie making when he makes the Second part of the movie.

Everyone (technician to actor) excels in the battle scene and Karthi shines in the gladiator-ish scene. That was awesome inspite of below average CGI. Coming to think of it, the graphics were all a little weak and meek throughout the film with a camel, in graphics, last seen near Super Mario, being the height of it. Graphics were from a lost generation too. Sigh. The songs did not fit in perfectly; only the Cholan ecstasy and 'Un mela aasa thaan' were picturized well. 'Oh Eesa' was a let-down.

The director not only shows us how brilliant movies can get through Aayiratil Oruvan, but also shows us how psychologically screwed up they can get with a 'depicting reality' tag. People were squirming uneasily in their seats for the last fifteen to twenty minutes. Almost hated that part of the movie. The Indian Army is shown in such a poor light, which could and should have been avoided. Reema Sen gets a role of her lifetime and Andrea just had to look cute (bigger role in the second part, maybe?).

If you're over eighteen and you don't throw up on extremely brutal exploitation of women, free flowing blood and loads of decapitations, you should probably give this one a try for Reema, Karthi, Parthiban and the Producer.


  1. Anonymous10:00 AM

    well knitted words coming frm heart. i understand your anger for CGI. They get paid to kill a film.interestingly its was done by a indian inc(chennai division), running for oscars2010. its a costly lesson for selva ragavan. all kudos to selva for his fantastic content,but poorly executed.underestimated the scale of the film to deliver it.

  2. A professional review- Yes! Nicely jotted down the gist of the story; but I am thinking now if I really need to check out the intensity of brutality("brutal expoitation of...etc..") watching a movie of this kind with my parents!!

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  4. hey very true.........really good review.........i completely agree with ur review........they cud hav done a lot better after creating so much expectation........

  5. Loved the review.Keep the good work coming and thanks for the heads up on violence!!!

  6. @harini
    Thx...Next on the to-review list are Goa(Jan), Paiyaa(Feb).
    Imagine, some people do this for money. Ah, whatay life.

    @anush akka
    Were you planning to take tarun? or are you scared yourself? :P

  7. Hey , Karthi is not the 'Ayirathil Oruvan'. The lad (Parthiban's son) whom saved by karthi in the climax is AO. Selvaraghavan himself told this is in a press meet.

  8. heh where is the originality to be seen... Selva needs a lot to improve his historic research.. the concept of a messenger coming later year who has a mark in his body, is tortured, and it rains when he comes etc etc is something biblical... not at all relevant to this part of the world... again the messenger crowns parthiban as the king in the pictorial representations which actually does not happen...

    Gladiator kind of scene is taken out from some western movies...(Boss we have not in indian history have read this kind of games existed in Indian kingdoms)

    apprum they say the concept is also taken from a film called Time Line(Pratap bothan getting lost and team in search of them)

    When the Cholas have mystical powers why not they use it against the invading army(eg Parthiban lifts Reemaa catching hold of her shadow and again Karthi, andrea and reema before entering the civilisation are caught by spirits and karthi does not die when he is shot at.... were those spirits not coming to rescue when the army has come?) Cholas being depicted as barbarians is not digestable at all.... such great engineers who had a great naval force of its time and the great architectures to their credit it is simply no no seeing them as barbarians... Their engineering is marvelous that their ships will not capsize in heavy tides also...

    The visuals are fantastic marvelous agreed... but that does not mean it is a great film...

    The battle scene might have looked good may be if i had not watched a gladiator a jodhaa akbar etc..

    To sum up the film is like a beautiful looking food but not so tasty....

  9. Never believe anyone who did not like this film.They dont know what a film is.Only Indian movie which is above all other movies.