Thursday, December 28, 2006

Thiruvilaiyaadal Aarambam

We’ve had actor-director pairs(Vikram-Hari, to name one) start off great(Saami) only to disappoint with their subsequent film(Arul). But Dhanush and director Bhoopathy Pandian have fortunately moved in the other direction. After the boring and plotless Devadhaiyai Kanden, the two have come together again to deliver a funny, entertaining film in Thiruvilaiyaadal Aarambam. One just wishes it had been a little more original too.

Thirukkumaran(Dhanush) is one of those familiar Tamil cinema heroes who has no job, hangs out with equally-jobless friends and as a result of those 2 things, is constantly at the receiving end of rebukes and lectures from his father(Mouli). When things come to a head with his father, he walks out of the house. Its love at first sight when he sees Priya(Shriya), the sister of a rich businessman Guru(Prakashraj). Priya falls for him too and when Guru realizes this, he offers Thiru money to dump Priya. Thiru chooses money over love and breaks up with Priya.

Considering the unbelievable nature of the romance between Dhanush and Sridevi in Devadhaiyai Kanden, the sweet romance here is a pleasant surprise. Dhanush is very sincere as he woos Shriya and some of his techniques make the eventual romance easier to accept.

Thiruvilaiyaadal Aarambam proves that even if a movie is chockfull of familiar elements, a small twist in the screenplay is all that’s needed to help avoid it look stale. For a while, the movie leads us along the very familiar path of a poor boy-rich girl romance where the girl has a brother opposed to the romance. But in the key – and again, very familiar – scene where the brother tries to buy the hero’s love, the movie twists things by making Dhanush accept the money. So instead of seeing the hero refuse the money and give a lecture on love, we see him take the money and give up his love. This invigorates the movie and the momentum gained is enough to keep us involved through the rest of the movie.

The movie has a consistent undertone of humor that helps keep it entertaining. There are few scenes that are laugh-out-loud funny but the movie manages to keep us smiling throughout. Whether Dhanush is being berated by his dad or professing love to Shriya or going up against Prakashraj, things are handled with a humorous touch. A number of lines are funny and some of the wordplays would make even ‘Crazy’ Mohan proud. This humor makes us view the cinematic or even silly happenings less seriously.

Dhanush squaring off against Prakashraj is the main part of the movie but here it is more bark than bite. Dhanush’s plans, when he clashes with Prakashraj, usually have a good build-up and make us anticipate something clever. But the finishes are usually weak and belie the build-up. In some cases, they don’t make much sense considering the number of loopholes in them. But the aforementioned humor, along with the good pace, help overlook the lack of substance.

I’m not sure if it was intentional now that Dhanush is related to Rajnikanth but the movie reminds us of many other Rajnikanth movies at several points. While the Dhanush-Prakashraj clashes naturally take us back to the enmity between Rajni and Satyaraj in Mr.Bharath(the Ennammaa Kannu… remix is a nice touch since it tells us that the director realized the similarities too), a number of individual scenes seem designed to remind us of similar scenes in famous Rajni movies. But these sequences are handled with some subtlety so that the movie doesn’t come off looking like a rip-off.

After a few initial movies where he proved that he had talent and took roles that he could fit into, Dhanush got too ambitious in Sullaan as he wanted to become an action hero. That proved to be his undoing and nothing he did after that worked. Here he once again picks a role that fits him perfectly. He is very casual and comedy comes to him naturally. He creates a likeable hero and the mix of action and comedy works. Shriya looks pretty but is relegated to the background after the first half since the movie’s focus turns to Dhanush and Prakashraj. Prakashraj is solid as usual, giving his character the right amount of seriousness to avoid the movie becoming a full-length comedy. Karunas, Mouli and Saranya are adequate and the boy playing Dhanush’s brother has some very funny lines that he delivers well.


At 1:12 AM, Blogger srivatsan said...

Mamanaar padam thane copy adichaaru.. can be forgiven :)

At 4:09 AM, Blogger Bart said...

I found it just watchable at best. Few clever scenes and dialogues sprinkled across the otherwise dull and insensible screenplay. The director clearly struggles bigtime to take the movie forward beyond interval. Anyhow, not so bad for a Dhanush film :)
Waiting for your review on "Poi". Very Balachanderish ;-)

At 4:23 AM, Blogger srivatsan said...

I think we can safely ban Balachander from making movies, he is beating around the same bush!! as if there is no other story on Earth.

At 4:55 AM, Blogger Balaji Sivaraman said...

I found the movie very entertaining and fun to watch. But as the movie neared the climax, it became boring and dragging actually since we know exactly what is going to happen and extending it by a good 15 minutes is unwarranted. But still one of the better masala movies of the year.

At 5:44 AM, Blogger Ganesh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 1:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For once, I got to see a tamil movie before Balaji posted the review! :)

Liked the review, it echoes some of my own thoughts while watching the movie. I had reservations about Danush, but he was surprisingly entertaining in this.

At 12:07 AM, Blogger KK said...

Nice Review Balaji, I felt pretty much the same when I saw the movie.

Wishing you a very Happy and Prosperous New Year!!! :D

At 12:50 AM, Blogger srivatsan said...


Happy and prosperous new year.

Heard that *Aadu Puli Aatam* and *Azhagiya Asura* are good efforts from debutants?

At 5:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Balaji Sir,

Not sure where you saw all these positive things.... are there a different versions of the same movie?

At 5:47 PM, Blogger Raju said...

Balaji, I felt that the movie was more irritating than entertaining i most parts. There were far too many glitches.. 1) What made Shriya fall in love with Dhanush, who hadnt done anything more than running behind her? 2) If he was indeed ambitious and had plans of becoming rich, what prevented him from making him dad sit with him and explain his plans? 3) Shriya's feelings and emotions were put into ransom.. instead of which, it could have been done cleverly with her consensus... bcos her attempt to suicide could have gone fatal.. and a few more..

Sure this movie was better than some of Dhanush's earlier movies but somehow I didnt feel it deserved ur rich accolades.

Anyway, wishes for Very happy New Year to you and your family!!!

At 1:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it would be cool if shriya gets to act with dhanush's son yatra, twenty years from now...she could get an entry in the limca book of records for having acted as the wife of the thatha, the girlfriend of the appa and the amma of the paiyyan!

At 3:34 AM, Blogger srivatsan said...

ram..seems like KB movie script Aboorva Ragangal...heheheh

At 10:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

srivatsan, royalty kaekanum in case KB decides to use my "one-liner!"

Happy New Year to all bbthotians!

At 2:27 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

srivatsan, adhaan nanum nenachen :) but as i said, it wasn't as obvious or irritating as when simbhu does the same :)

wish u a very happy new year too :)

bart, i didn't sense any slowdown after the interval either. looks like this is one of those movies i liked better than many others :)

poi - gotta wait till 07 :)

balaji, looks like we're on the same boat. though the climax was a foregone conclusion(aren't most climaxes?!), i thot it was done well and so didn't find it boring...

ganesh, first lemme c if they even watch tamil movies :)

narm, true. dhanush picked a role he was suited for and so was quite entertaining...

kk, thanx! and a very happy new year to u too :)

princess, not diff. versions. just different people watching the same version :)

raju, surprised that u thot so much about a purely lightweight, masala movie. those r glitches but as i mentioned, the humor and pace helped me overlook them when i watching the film. anyway, they r accolades but not sure if they're rich accolades :)

wish u a very happy new year too :)

ram, i think ramya krishnan is in there for kinda the same reason - she acted with ntr, balakrishna and junior ntr :)

wish u a very happy new year too :)

At 5:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi guys
just a thot..i remember reading somewhere that when one slashes his/her wrist the blood spurts rt up to the ceiling and it is never a scene wherein the wash basin is a draining shown most often...
just 1dered...:)


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