Sunday, December 11, 2005


[Pic Courtesy Sify]

Blame Aaru on Tamil cinema's unwritten rule that refuses to accept a hero as a mass hero unless he plays a rowdy. Vijay did it(and still keeps doing it!). Ajith did it. Vikram did it. They all did it with varying degrees of success though. Surya did it disastrously once before in Sree but now that Ghajini has put him on the verge of superstardom, he has predictably done it again. The itch to do such a role is by itself not surprising considering the prize but the vehicle he has chosen for satisfy that itch is disappointing.

Almost all movies featuring a rowdy as the hero(the last one being Thotti Jaya) have a pretty standard storyline of the loyal rowdy eventually turning against his master and Aaru doesn't deviate from this one bit. Here Aarumugam(Surya) gets not one but four masters - brothers Viswanathan(Ashish Vidyarthi), Boominathan(Rajkapoor), Loganathan and Jagannathan. Mahalakshmi(Trisha) is the rich college girl in love with him. When Aaru, who treats the four as his brothers, realizes rather harshly that they consider him as little more than an expendable commodity, he turns on them.

Aaru is not too sure about where exactly it should fit in. On one hand, it is too violent to be a crowd-pleasing, masala film. On the other hand, it has too many commercial ingredients to be called a gritty, realistic film about a rowdy. In the end, it lurches between the two, with episodic scenes of gratuitous, brutal violence interleaved with a filmi romance and sparingly funny comedy.

Unless Sivakasi figures among your favorite movies of the year, you should starting watching Aaru only after the first quarter. After a good introduction for Surya, the film stoops very low as it lays the groundwork for later happenings. This section of the film is loud, crass and vulgar, with two duppanguthu numbers, crude jokes and double entendres galore.

A heart-wrenching incident eventually brings about an improvement in the film. Surya turns serious and as long as the focus remains on him and his mission, the movie works. He is a man on a mission and since he has 4 bad guys to take care of, he is able to get results immediately rather than play games with 1 villain or keep clashing with nameless henchmen. So the movie manages to maintain its pace though the comedy and romance still serve as regular speedbumps. But the villains' brutality and Surya's ways of dispensing revenge make sure that we never get a respite from the violence. This is one violent movie and Surya and Hari better have their heads checked for proclaiming that it is a "film for the entire family".

Surya and Trisha pretty much play a ping-pong match of romance as they keep loving and then rejecting each other one after the other. But the romance does manage to rise above the cliches of a rowdy-rich girl love story. It is not as cute as the romance in Dheena or as mature as the one in Thotti Jaya but it is developed in a pretty sensible fashion considering how mismatched the participants are. There are some tender moments that work and the couple's behavior remains sensible to their character arcs throughout.

Aaru is tolerable only because of Surya. He is convincing as the rowdy and inspite of mouthing foul language and spewing unprintable expletives, the likeability that he has earned in his last few movies manages to see him through. And inspite of all the shouting he does(some of which is indecipherable as he speaks too fast), it is clear that subtlety and quiet emotions are his strengths. The scene in a marriage hall and the scene where he quietly delivers a threat using one of the villains' cellphone confirm that. Trisha looks cute(or is it just that I've missed her?!) but her collection of expressions looks pretty small. Vadivelu has a pretty substantial role but there are only a few throw-away lines that raise some chuckles. Most of his episodes(like the one where he runs into people who seem to have survived big accidents) seem to be buiding up to a good finish but than fail because the punchline doesn't exist or is just too weak. Ishwarya, with her face darkened artificially, adds to the loudness with some crass language but I admit that she does so convincingly. The villains are pretty much indistinguishable from one another. Kalabhavan Mani once again proves that he is much better as a bad guy rather than an overacting comedian.

Aei Thottute Thottute... is the pick of the song sequences but thats mainly for its location. The barren landscape with the rock faces and the castle built right into the rock face provide a great backdrop (was the location the one used in the climax of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade?). Dhrogam Dhrogam... provides a nice background for some sequences and the lyrics and the tune match Surya's anguish and intensity. The slow version of Nenjam Ennum... plays in the background while the fast version earns our irritation just because of the time it pops up.

Aaru is a ratha aaru.


At 9:14 AM, Blogger narayanan said...

Aaru is a ratha aaru.

hahaha..I wanted this to happen. I am just wishing Aadhi bombs out even bigger than this :). Good for KNM and TT :)

Let the mission to end all 'larger than life' movies begin.


At 9:31 AM, Blogger Vidya said...

'Ooru aaraa irukku but Aaru paakka ooru ready' nu previous post la sollitu.. ippo.. after the movie.. 'Aaru is a ratha aaru' nu sollarel ... Hmm guess I'd rather stay away from this one..:D me being a die hard Surya fan.. it is gonna be pretty difficult.. warning kku mikka nandri :D

At 3:38 PM, Blogger giri subramanian said...

Well to be frank Aaru is a horrible movie,definitely avoidable.I watched Kanda Naal Mudhal and if you want to watch a clean entertainer with good performances then you should be watching this.

Stay away from Aaru.Pathu dollar waste :(

At 3:41 PM, Blogger giri subramanian said...

Hi ranganathan st,I dont think Aadhi will be a failure as I have watched its original(Athanokade) and feel that it will be great one for a vijay fan.

If Sivakasi can be a hit,I predict that Aadhi will be a blockbuster(not that its a great movie but it will for sure satisfy Vijay's fans).


At 4:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

aaru enna ipdi boreu-nu solliteenge elaarum saerndhu!

bb, indha trisha mayakkam ungallukku innum pogaliya?!

At 9:34 PM, Blogger narayanan said...

@ giri: neenga vera, vijay padam full'a attention-stand at ease'la ninna kooda padatha 50 naal ottiduvanga. naan ennoda stomach burn'a konjam kottinen ambududhen.

This was an extract in a mail from a friend of mine "Nethi Aaru padam parthom, paravailai, nala irruku, once sure a parkalam"..enga poyi muttikkanum'nu theriyale :-s


At 12:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aaru is one of the most stupidest movie of this season.The title is apt for the movie because the movie wont run for more than six days!.

At 1:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The other day, they were playing 'Mazhai' on one channel, and its Telugu version on another. Trisha looked quite cute, Shreya looked quite annoying.

At 2:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always felt and feel, Surya is good in soft roles. Like the sanjay ramasamy thing in Gajini. He is best suited fro such roles. But when it comes to acting, everything falls apart.
He should understand his limitations and stick to it. That will make all his movies watchable and enjoyable!

At 3:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Aaru' would be director Hari's Naalu (4th flop).

At 6:42 AM, Blogger anantha said...

BB: I was going to do a post on this today. I saw Aaru last night!And...YES YES YES... Same location as the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.. Its the temple at Petra!Did you know there is a Tintin reference too? :) More on my post!
In any case, I am wondering if
Ajit:Red::Surya:Aaru! I hope not.
And though Vadivelu raised a few laughs, in my case some of it was for the opening Anniyan rip-off, which sadly did not lead to anything! And ya, Aishwarya! Enna aachu avalukku.
Trisha - She's going to end up as just another bimbo if she wont'd do anything different soon. As Hemanth puts it (on Teakada), Tata and Toyota can feature Trisha as their mascot! Every single movie of hers seems to have her in either of these vehicles!
Notice that i haven't said much about Surya. I think this movie was a mistake. I just hope that Surya has not developed a "me too" complex after watching movies like Gilli, Thirupachi and Sivakasi!

At 6:45 AM, Blogger anantha said...

BB: Btw, did you notice how every shot of the movie that also had the railway tracks in the frame had a train passing through? That was another reference that I was looking at, after I found that there is nothing much more in the movie to grab my attention!

At 10:30 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

narayanan, enaku pudikkala avlo dhaan. BO verdict innum theriyadhe :)
and on your friend's 1-line review, the film has got +ve reviews @ a couple of other blogs i saw too... surprising!

vidya, yep... pretty violent for a masala movie. but then again, surya is the only good thing in it. so tough decision for u :)

giri, "clean entertainer with good performances" - i've been waiting for a movie like that for a long time :)

ram, poyiduchu nenachen. guess not :)

prabhu, yep. as i said, the scenes where he kinda played it soft in 'aaru' were the best in the movie...

mav, LOL paarpom. i'm sure the title's gonna lead to some good puns :)

anti, cool! thanx for the confirmation. but didn't note anything tintin ref. but u've made me curious now :)
as for trisha, i was surprised there was no mention of tata indicom though she sells cellphones and is a spokesperson for that...
and pretty much every hero develops a me too complex after those movies. ellam 'mass hero' tag varadhukku dhaan :)

LOL. looks like u were even more bored than me to catch the trains :)

At 12:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Balaji, first and foremost, very polished review.. I guess, it was a little too much for me to expect a much more "in-your-face, I-couldn't-stand-this-movie" kind of review from you. I am a huge fan of Surya, but even I walked out of the theater with a headache (despite the fact, like you, I also thought that "Man, without Surya, "Aaru" was absolutely nothing!")..

I'll probably agree that every hero wants to become a "mass hero" at some point in their career.. but I don't think that (honestly) Surya meant for "Aaru" to turn him into a mass hero. Let's take Surya's last 6 movies, for example :-)!

Aaru, Ghajini, Maayavi, Aaydha Ezhuthu, Perazhagan, Pithamagan.. (You won't find a single traditional masala mass hero role here anywhere (Ghajini and Maayavi are probably the two roles where there is a semblence of that!).. I felt that based on his performance in "Aaru" (and obviously, without a doubt, Surya was the real saving grace of the film!) I didn't get the feeling that "Aaru" was immediately going to make him a mass hero overnight (even if it went to beat box office records!).. If any one hero in tamil cinema is constantly struggling to define himself with every film that he does (because the pressures on his 'mass hero' status is so acute!) its probably Vikram (more so because he wants to do so many diverse roles but people have come to expect more of the "Dhil," "Dhool," "Gemini," "Anniyan" kind of films from him!). Once in a blue moon, a "Kaasi," or "Pithamagan," turns the trend in his favor (but then very rarely!)...

So, my thought on "Aaru" stands.. it is clearly not an attempt by Surya to be labelled a "mass hero." I personally think he's too smart not to have figured out that Vijay and in most cases, Vikram, have got that title nailed down next to their names! :-) After all, it took Vikram 10+ years to make it and once he did, a series of 'hit' masala movies to get that title.. don't think Surya could have begun a trend and gotten a 'mass hero' title just with the success of "Aaru." But then, in the tamil film industry, you never know what's going to happen to a star's image after one successful film!

At 5:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Puli'-ya parthu Poonai soodu pottukonda story than AARU...
Surya should better stick to his class roles and not to Kuvam Aaru and Sunda Kanji...They are belongs to VIJAY and VIKRAM.

Maybe he is trying to follow AJITH. Doing some class movies initially and then come back to "Mass Hero" films. Hope you guys knew that AJITH was the first choice for Gajini (Mirattal).

The problem is, Surya dont have any star value as such. He can not give a hit without a strong story, good director and then very good music director. They will contribute 75% of the success of the film and Surya only need to contribute 25%.
Whereas Rajini and Vijay are able to get profits without anything in their movies. (Adisaya Piravi, Pandiayn, Thirupachi and Sivakasi)
SO I would suggest Surya to stay on class roles in the shadow of good directors and leave the mass hero things to big guns.

At 6:25 PM, Blogger anantha said...

Anon: Your comments suggest that you seem to be leaning towards Ajith. Good luck with that ;) :p
Sandya: Excellent measurement. Though, you did fail to mention Kaakha Kaakha, your words still stand good.

At 7:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

aNTi, I am not leaning towards AJITH or VIJAY or VIKARAM... Wanted to mention that Surya can NEVER EVER be a Mass Hero. He can stand for sometime because of lots of Female fans.
Y'day - Vijaya Kumar, Siva kumar, Karthik, Aravindswamy, Madhavan

Today - Surya...
Tomorrow - Who knows??

Surya is just trying stay away from that list by choosing mass hero movies like AARU.

At 7:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anti.. Kaakha Kaakha was his 7th film backwards (I wanted to mention only his last 6 films (since this "mass hero" issue was in reference to "Aaru"!) I also cross-checked Surya's official website and made sure I mentioned his last 6 movies correctly. Surya has done 6 films since Kaakha Kaakha, that's why KK didn't make the list!..

At 10:19 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

sandya, actually 'aaru' didnt fall in the 'i couldn't stand it' category for me. if it did, then i wouldn't have hesitated to write the same in the review as i did for say 'oru naal oru kanavu'.

surya may not have meant for 'aaru' to turn him into a mass hero. its more like he wanted to show that he could be a mass hero too. thats what i was trying to say. traditionally, mass heroes have enjoyed most box-office clout, fan base, etc. every hero aims to reach the stage where movies are bought on his name alone. and its only when one becomes a mass hero that that happens. 'aaru' was surya's attempt to do that. its kinda like kamal doing 'sakalakala vallavan', 'thoongathe thambi thoongathe', etc. he knew he couldn't beat rajni and he knew he would take on diverse roles. but mass hero roles keep the distributors happy and are even necessary for the actor's survival. so he did them to show he could do them too.

At 2:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Balaji, did you take a look at the box office for last weekend?.. Looks like we are going to be getting a barrage of 6s if this continues..

God help us!.. Then again, if it means that 6 is doing well purely on Surya's strength and I'm happy for him.. That could only be a good thing.. But I would still advise him to stay away from Hari! :-)

At 6:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the film wud hv released last weekend only and the people wud hv been flocking the theatres bfore they even knew the results . but now after kowin abt the film no one wud dare go to the theatre

At 8:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said Siva... I agree with you. They will praise anyone against Vijay.

At 1:07 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

siva/anon, if u've read my previous posts u'll know that i actually like vijay. 'sivakasi' was 1 of the few movies of his that i really didnt like. i would even say i like him more than i like surya.

i have mentioned that the 1st quarter of 'aaru' was cheap and vulgar. but i think 'sivakasi' was cruder and cheaper. the reason is that here its the others(ishwarya, the villain, etc.) who are vulgar
while in 'sivakasi' it was vijay. i just didnt like it when he spoke to asin vulgarly or when he was chauvinistic. i think heroes need to be more likeable and that was a big reason for not liking 'sivakasi'

At 11:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Balaji, I think you missed a scene in Aaru where he shouts at Trisha & Co in a restaurant. I would consider that is cheapest comment about girls in recent times. It is true that big heroes should be more responcible in their films but I would also appreciate if the reviewer should stand neutral and not leaning towards or against one hero. I would consider Sivakasi is better than Aaru because atleast you can sit with family and have some fun time where as in Aaru half of the dialogues are bad words and mere rowdism.
Probably rowdies and politican might like this movie. They will go with their gang to theaters and enjoy every bit of it.

At 3:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

top ten movies on 18 dec 05

raj tv - 1) sivakasi
sun tv 1) sivakasi
vijay tv 1) sivaksi

dun know whr is tt , aaru and knm :-(

At 2:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aaru is a disapointment. What else an U expect from hari? Starting from tamizh, all his movies look the same. As for male chauvinistic dialogues, all heroes do it. Vijay does it in very film, rajini has been doing it for years & now surya too is continuing that tradition. The joke is that these heroes will bash up the villain if they make fun of the heroine & then mouth those dialgoes themselves.

At 4:57 AM, Blogger Prabhu S said...

Aaaru is the worst movie that I have seen oflate.

At 11:27 AM, Blogger Arvind Srinivasan said...

Have'nt gone over all the comments - but here is interesting event sorrounding aaru -(personal one tho)

was watching this movie at santa clara (or somewhere in that area) - after the movie, i was super disappointed, and came out and shouted sarcastically - "Aaru, aaru thadavai parkalam" ;) :P

someone took it seriously and said 'neenga vera, oru thadavai parkardhe kashtam' :-)))))

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