Wednesday, September 28, 2005

A Aa

Movies like Autograph may have legitimized directors appearing before the camera too instead of simply staying behind it. But A Aa provides the strongest case yet for directors NOT turning into actors. S.J.Suryah before the camera is the biggest(albeit not the only) factor working against making his latest effort difficult to sit through.

Shiva(S.J.Suryah), an investigative reporter and his lover Madhu(Nila) live together. Madhu is unemployed and Shiva is always on the run, working double shifts, so that they can maintain a comfortable lifestyle. Wishing to lessen Shiva's workload, Madhu decides to start a restaurant along with her friend's brother. But Shiva fears that her daily proximity to her partner may lead to something between them and his suspicion leads to a rift between them. Now its upto their memories and thoughts of each other to reunite them.

Any review of A Aa is guaranteed to be spoiler-free since Suryah opens the movie with a monologue of what is essentially a synopsis of the entire movie. I'm not sure who Suryah thinks will be watching his movie but the narration seems way too condescending. A true case of dumbing down the audience. And from his grand declarations during the narration, Suryah truly seems to believe that he is God's gift to Tamil cinema.

Suryah undoubtedly has some good ideas in that mind of his. The brother lusting after his twin brother's wife in Vaali, lovers separated by their own egos in Kushi, a boy trapped in a grown man's mind in New - all these were new ideas. But the way he presents these ideas has unfortunately seen a decline in quality. In A Aa he gives form to the memories/thoughts of the hero and the heroine. It is an idea that is original, looks good on paper and there are a few scenes that point to how the concept could've been interestingly exploited. But the possibilities are hopelessly buried under heaps of over-acting and vulgarity.

Tamil cinema has seen the likes of Ramarajan and Kunal grace the screen. But I would go as far as saying that S.J.Surya in A Aa gives one of the most irritating performances ever by a leading man in Tamil cinema. He waves his arms more than an orchestra conductor, delivers every piece of dialog like he was talking to a deaf man and is more expressive than even Jyothika was in Kushi. He is never still and his body language makes him look like a puppet whose puppetmaster has gone crazy and is pulling his strings at random. It is clear that Nila wasn't chosen for her acting skills. But her inexpressive face and muted body language actually comes as a relief in this movie. Nambiar as the 'leader' of the thoughts(!) and Urvasi as a psychiatrist have cameos.

Suryah might have made himself and Nila live together purely for controversy but the fact does help make their separation believable. Their frequent fights and subsequent makeups help create the picture of an immature couple thrown together before they were ready for the burden of a life together. So the big fight seems believable when it happens.

Tamil cinema is really starved of new ideas with most directors having a "follow the herd" mentality. So Suryah's gimmick of giving form to the characters' thoughts got me interested. Unfortunately, it remains just that - a gimmick. Whats more irritating is that Suryah doesn't follow is own rules when he uses them either. So at one point, these 'forms' are actually able to blow hard enough to create a gust of wind that causes things to topple!. Eventually, their scenes end up looking like poor rip-offs of the scenes in Ghost. The amateurish execution(as when we see a group of 'thoughts' walking around) and cheesy graphics don't help either.

The glamor and double entendres worked in New because the movie was a sex comedy. But they are hopelessly out of place here. As Suryah talks with double entendres(or in many cases, moves his lips wordlessly thanks to the censors) in the middle of a romantic scene , the vulgarity seems heightened and only irritation sets in. What made Suryah proclaim that this movie is for family audiences, I have no idea.

The picturization of the song sequences is overdone too. The melodious Mayilirage... is completely ruined with lame graphics and unsuitable dance movements while its remix, Marangothiye..., physically hurts the eyes with its fast cuts and bright backgrounds. The choreography for the catchy Aararai Kodi... seems a little too chaotic and Suryah's steps, which I appreciated in New's Sakkara Inikkira..., seem forced and ineffective here. Varugiraai... is the only song that actually fits into the movie and its lyrics make a lot sense at the point where it appears.

I wish my memories about this movie would take a human form and leave me!


At 11:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i haven't seen this movie and after reading your blogs about this movie, I definitely will not. Thanks for warning me!

At 11:29 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

sk, lucky u! u're welcome :)

veejay, i was ok with him after 'New' but after seeing this movie i can't stand him either! and completely agree with u on the songs picturization.

At 11:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am glad to see that you didnt give the movie anything that could be remotely construed as a mild thumbs was an exercise in loudness and vulgarity...and Suryah seems to be cheerfully aware of his "image" as he points out in a "clever" in-joke...there were several scenes that got on my nerves...the only couple of scenes i found pretty funny (in spite of the raunchiness) were the ones involving comedian Santhanam...he had a couple of funny scenes, esp. the one where he's drunk...Urvashi was hilarious, i thought...except that she looks like a "thanni thotti" thedivandha kannukutti!
ARR-- u need to let go of SJS!! u deserve far better than this sleaze...!

and, what the heck was that "Kushi" scene all about...thinks that iduppu scene is a classic that he has to repeat it with Nila....?!

suryavum nilavum saerardhu 9aavadhu adhisayamaa Sun TV style, "Anbe Aaruyire-- Prakaasam Illai!"

At 11:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ah aah suxs!!

BUT go and watch ghajini

one word---superb!!!!

surya might just win a national award eventhough it shares the shades of sethu ( the mottai role), but its awesome...and sanjay ramaswamy,, he oozes with machoism and suaveness....damn it even my gf started to compare with me!!!
by the way the infos given by online are quite not memento,guy pierce played an insurance analyst,in ghajini sanjay is a bloody rich thycoon, he travels by a private jet!!! and the songs even sound better in the cinema!!


At 1:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah ramesh... the promos said prakash raj is wasn t prakash raj but the thotti jaya shouting villain prahap singh

well,bout the movie---Simply awesome!!!!!!

At 1:10 AM, Blogger DD said...

Balaji, u r missing out on learnings frm Tamil Nadu...posters here celebrating 20 days (!) of the movie scream 'Thaimarkalin aadaravudan (20 days)'!!! Dammit, even SJS' thai wont approve of this movie...

At 2:39 AM, Blogger pagala'k' said...

Come on Balaji, the only original ideas Suryah.S.J had ended with Khushi. New wasn't new, it was definitely inspired by big. This movie, apart from the "live in rship" concept had no originality. Even the dance steps seems to be a rip off from thalai. His dialogue delivery seems to quite similar to the comedian inspector in the movie.

At 4:03 AM, Blogger NS said...

ivana ellam oru manushana madichu, indha padatha pathu, adhukku oru review vera ezhudhum ungalin porumaikku naan thalai vanangugiren!!:D

i can sense ur irritation in every word...!!!

At 5:31 AM, Blogger Munimma said...

thevaiya, unakku ithu? :-D

You know that sister character in Metti Oli. In kumudam, she said SJS is her dream hero and would love to act with him. ethavathu oru small wall kitta poi thalaiya muttikattum :-)

At 6:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Balaji, we both have chosen the same foto for the review (ur reason is same as mine). Nice review. Seems that Surya has taken the tamil audience for granted. Hope this movie's verdict makes him focus behind the camera ONLY.

At 7:12 AM, Blogger Kumari said...

Gosh, that's a no-holds barred review. And am i glad i read it :)
aana, epdi ivan padatha muzhusa partheenga???

sigh...somehow all the power is in all the wrong hands...Bush, Blair and SJS :(

At 8:39 AM, Blogger jack said...

"Suryah truly seems to believe that he is God's gift to Tamil cinema". :D. good one.

seriously, the "ararai kodi" song at the start where he walks with 100's of people like rajini is height.He joins the other -------- who talk to the screen.

At 9:17 AM, Blogger Filbert said...


Even his only acclaimed movie till date - Vaali (I wouldn't include Kushi in that list) - was not completely original. It was kind of a remake of Aasai and Poomani, where Prakash Raj as the elder brother lusts on Devayani, his younger brother Murali's wife. The dual role was the only difference. And both SJS and the director of Poomani worked as assistant directors under Vasanth. So, you get the connection...

At 12:36 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

ram, i think u were scared after my mild thumbs up for 'New'. but no worries here :) i hated every moment of what was on screen :)

ramesh/sean, lucky guys. can't wait to see 'ghajini'

dd, hmmm... i would like to ask SJS exactly who these thaimargal are! reminds me of the 'boys' ads on tv after all the bashing the movie received. it had a mom&son saying that they had no problems watching the film and adviced everyone to see the film! yeah right!

pagalak, true. i should've mentioned "original for tamil". SJS' dialog delivery in many places reminded me of simbhu. the same ego, arrogance simbhu had in his earlier movies.

nithya, tamil movies mela irukum theeradha aasai/nambikkai thaan idhukku elam karanam :)

munimma, so even SJS has a fan! my wife's told me that the dreamboy for one of her friends was rajkiran!

raju, yep. vera endha fotovum decentaa illa!

kumari, "aana, epdi ivan padatha muzhusa partheenga???" ovvoru sceneleyum, inimel bettera irukumnu oru nambikkaila thaan :) but apdi nambiye padam got over!

sen, yep. no arguments there!

fibert, interesting comparison. i was talking about the dual role when i mentioned 'new idea'. it added a great twist to a familiar theme. but thats some interesting info. looks like we may have another db to compete with raju and rekhs :)

At 12:58 PM, Blogger Me too said...

SJS ivalavu torture pannadhaan neengallam vazhikku vareenga!!

At 5:11 PM, Blogger Rama said...

You are right that SJS has good ideas.but just that he has to convey that in the right manner which he doesnt :(.also its the worst acting i have ever seen in a movie :(.

At 10:51 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

rama, yep. right on both counts :)

babs, i know exactly what u're talking about when u mention the scene where he says "naan unnai love panren". got on my nerves too...

wow a whole month after its release here?

At 5:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is too much of SJ Suryah bashing going on in this thread. I do not agree that it is a bad movie. In fact, I found it funny. I've written about this on my blog also at

At 2:05 PM, Blogger TamilPonnu said...

This movie wasn't bad.. I liked it. It was funny.. and I'm SJS fan. Kudos for being different.

At 3:08 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

jags/tamilponnu, i've always said reviews r very subjective and r just 1 person's opinion. so no surprises in the fact that you guys liked the movie. but i should also say that u 2 r the first persons i've heard saying that they liked the movie :)

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