Azhagaai Irukkiraai Bayamaai Irukkiradhu
Considering the first efforts of recent cinematographers-turned-directors like Thankar Bachan (Azhagi), Jeeva(12B) and K.V.Anand (Kanaa Kanden) - more the first two than the third though - Vijay Milton had rather large expectations to live up to. But he sticks to safe ground, delivering a regular romance with familiar characters for the most part. But some different touches, in style in the first half and in storyline in the second half, make the film likeable and engaging on the whole.
Mano(Bharath) has come to the city from his village to get his girl Nandhini(Deepu). But the girl of his dreams is in love with Prem(Arunkumar), a cricketer and his goal is to break them up. He finds out that he has a partner-in-crime in Jothi(Mallika Kapoor), who is in love with Prem. So Mano and Jothi set out to separate Prem and Deepu so that their own one-sided romances have a chance of succeeding.
As Bharath and Mallika join hands to break up another romance, the film starts off with an accent on comedy. Their plans are pretty amateurish and it is clear that the director's intention is to make us laugh rather than give us the impression that the two are very serious about their goal. But the fact that each of them wants to separate the couple without their own sweetheart getting hurt in anyway leads to some gentle laughs.
Director Vijay Milton tries to spice up the story with some visual inventiveness in the first half. So we have cartoon characters and thought bubbles adding some variety. AIBI is a soft romance and so these don’t really fit into the tone or mood of the film. But they do offer something different to look at since the story itself is quite clichéd.
But the clichéd story eventually works to AIBI’s advantage. The predictable path the story takes manages to lull us into a sense of complacence before surprising us very effectively. The surprise is handled very well in terms of where it is placed in the film, the build-up, the method of the actual revelation, etc. and succeeds in reenergizing the film. It doesn’t stand up too well to post-mortem analysis since it raises a lot of questions and opens a number of holes but works at that moment.
On one hand we have Arun and Deepu, who are in love. And on the other hand we have Bharath and Mallika, the film’s leads, who are trying to break them up. The eventual pairs are rather clear and so, as the story proceeds, the film seems in imminent danger of its characters falling in and out of love rather quickly and without much reason. That is usually a recipe for unimpressive characters. But the movie moves the screenplay in such a way that the characters remain true to their hearts. So they earn our respect by the time the movie ends.
Bharath is energetic as always, whether he is fooling around or talking about his love. Mallika Kapoor looks a little chubby and like most newcomers, hams it up quite a bit when trying to do comedy. Arunkumar is dignified while Deepu slips into her role quite well. Yuvan Shankar Raja delivers a different soundtrack and there is no regular duet though it is a love story. Odi Vaa…, in both its fast and slow versions, is the pick of the numbers while Kaadhalai… scores points because of its funny picturization. Yuvan’s voice in Kanave Kalaigiradhe… just sounds just as bad when seeing the song sequence on screen.