Movie Review: Aayirathil Oruvan (2010)

Aayirathil Oruvan (2010) – Tamil



With an epic camouflaged in a modern script served with technology dessert, Selvaraghavan was able to hold his audience awestruck, with his simply amazing script in AO. A story set in the modern age with reference to an old Tamil history involving Chola and Pandya dynasty. The story starts with a stage play or it is called Therukoothu in southern Tamilnadu, in which the scene depicts the Chola king handovers his son to one of the people of his kingdom to save his successor. The scene shifts to the old 1279 era’s Chola king in his last stage where in they were driven away from their dynasty as it is invaded by Pandyas. Cholas run away to a secret place to conceal them from the Pandyas.

Then the storyline shifts back to the current age where archeologists from India sets out for an expedition to find the whereabouts of the Cholas with the trails left by Pandya warriors. The team lead by Reema Sen and Andrea with Karthi and others set their journey towards the exploration of Chola land, which turns out to be an Indian government aided project. The obstacles they face while travelling towards the destination with the help of an old map in a parchment paper and the encounter with Chola king Parthiban who still exists in a secret village after many islands and traps away sets the story to the audience.

The back score of the movie is really awesome and it sets the ambience for such an ancient story in the modern age. The screenplay definitely stands out as Selva was able to bring out the real essence of the script. It is really a brave attempt in a Tamil cinema which would definitely reap its fruit of hard work and innovation which Tamil audience have never witnessed before.

The main crux the story lies in the seven traps which ought to be crossed to reach the place where Cholas had lived. They are viz. sea creatures, cannibals, warriors, snakes, hunger, quick sand and a village. Well the story seems to be adopted from various fantasy based stories like that of Vikram Betal, Sindbad the Sailor, Alif Laila and many of them which children would have read in the books. But the story has an ancient-modern stability that the director maintains throughout the movie.

The depiction of Chola history and the kingdom, the people, the old houses takes us to virtually to hundreds of centuries back. You call it a technology effect or the strong story base; it invariably gives a Hollywood touch to the movie.

The Seven Traps

  1. Sea creatures: They resemble an orange glowing lotus leaves which emerge out from the sea and gets stuck to the human body. They emerge from the water when the team of people gets down in the waters near the island, they reach in the night. Since the boat cannot proceed further till the shore of the island, the team had to walk few distance in the water which is still below knee level. Once two or three of the creatures captures a person, he feels extreme irritation and pain in the skin where it gets stuck and makes the person totally impaired. When he drops down, many such creatures engulf him taking him into the sea to his death bed.
  2. Cannibals: These people are encountered by them, once they walk into in the island. There is an entrance to a small village like settlement, where a group of people surrounds them and try to kill them. They look dark, ugly and horrible decorated face (Apocalypto kinda). One can avoid death by not looking into their faces directly. Many are seen to cook humans in the movie. Human legs are protruding out of the cooking pot over a fire, human head will be polished with blood and the inside of it will be extracted and cooked. The horrible scene sends butterflies in our stomach. They speak weird language, which Andrea seems to know and she can talk fluently with the clan leader with black grayish yellow teeth, who likes her very much and want to marry her!
  3. Warriors: These are people who engage in sudden war of fire tipped arrows which kills many of the archeological team who would have deliberately tented in the area after being warned by cannibal clan leader. Thousand of arrows fall from the sky like rain drops and kills many of the people. The team led by Reema Sen and the Officer Azhagam Perumal understand the volume of threat that they are encountering, they engage in gun fire with the red warriors. Reema reminded me of Lara Croft, with her pistols. After mass killing, they burn the carcasses of the warriors and proceed further towards the expedition.
  4. Snakes: They reach a particular place in the forest and as the dusk sets in, they again tent. Andrea being an archeologist, reads Olai chuvadi and predicts that they may be attacked by snakessince it is one of the traps set by Cholas and she was not given due respect as Azhagam thinks being warned about snakes in a forest is dumb and insane. Karthi, Andrea and Reema get separated from the crew during the escape efforts.
  5. Hunger: Yes, after the snake episode, they walk longer miles in the forest, ultimately reaching a vast open sandy desert. Not even a single tree or a water resource would be seen in the finite distance that their vision could reach. They keep walking in hunger and thirst. The desert is vast, sunny, and hot accompanied by sand storms. They have to cross that to reach the next trap which they do not know where and how it is set.
  6. Quick Sand: The three reach a vast open space post desert where the ground is flat and sandy not so loose like that of the desert but thick and hard as a normal sandy roads. Stepping on a particular area may lead to the formation of deep pit which will fill automatically due to the quick sand presence. So if you walk on the sand, in a random place, the ground under your feet will break and you will fall in to the pit and the sand will seal the pit automatically. So the point is to cross the Stonehenge which lies in the center of the vast open ground. They have to cross the quick sand and reach the place after that. The Nataraja Idol shadow which is formed exactly when the sun rises and the rays falls through the Stonehenge to protect them from being drowned in the quick sand, according to some ancient Tamil scripture was a good concept which calls in for appreciations.
  7. Village: This is place where the remaining of the story takes place. Many of them in the village are mad and they abide by the king. They starve and fight for meat like a lunatic. The village is very much ancient and they abide by the king.

Before proceeding further, read this

யாயும் ஞாயும் யாரா கியரோ
எந்தையும் நுந்தையும் எம்முறைக் கேளிர்
யானும் நீயும் எவ்வழி யறிதும்
செம்புலப் பெயனீர் போல
அன்புடை நெஞ்சம் தாங்கலந் தனவே

and this one too…

குளித்து மணல் கொண்ட கல்லா இளமை!
அளிதோ தானே! யாண்டுண்டு கொல்லோ,
தொடித்தலை விழுத்தண்டு ஊன்றி நடுக்குற்று
இருமிடை மிடைந்த சிலசொல்
பெரு மூதாளரோம் ஆகிய எமக்கே?”

I’m sure many of the Tamil readers reading this, will not be able to understand the whole thing above, except few. That’s how the second half of the movie will be. After the interval, the scenes will be of the Chola people and the village. The language that they speak is very partially decipherable. They speak lucidly in such an accent that, it gives a real feeling of being with the Chola people.

Karthi, Reema & Andrea finally reach the place where Cholas had lived after crossing all the traps. But unfortunately as it said that, many of them who came in search for this place are lost and never return. The mystery unravels here for us as why is it so. All three will be happy to have located the place. The remnants of the Chola dynasty are seen in front of our eyes. The utensils, idols are found to be available in the streets amidst the dilapidated houses and buildings. There prevails a sudden silence and the air flows in the remnant buildings. The air flowing in and out of the old broken statues situated in the streets creates a high decibel sound which makes them quiver out of pain and suffering, bleeding in nose and mouth. Ultimately they lose their mind and they go mad running in a targetless direction towards some place where they get captive with the village people.

Over exposure to infra red rays causes heat. But in the movie, over exposure of Reema Sen, who is already hot makes the audience edge the seat. She plays her part well. The modern city girl who suddenly speaks ancient Tamil, and performs blood sacrifice rituals in the second half of the story, makes us flummoxed. Her brilliant performance is really an icing in the cake for the AO. The “Govinda Govinda” song sequence and the English track in between gives a feeling of Hollywood music video. She reminded me of the Rihanna and Beyonce at times in the song sequence. It gives an eerie and paranormal flavor to the music. Andrea has very less role in the movie. She has performed equally well, but the there wasn’t much performance from her side as she was silent mostly.

The war tactics, usage of weapons, large boulder thrower etc are something which Tollywood has never witnessed in these days. The scene in which the Reema and the Chola king Parthiban sitting in the throne of the king in a big round amphitheatre, like that of the roman colosseum, witness an age old fight of a mass human fighter who has this big body and has a huge heavy spherical rock attached to a thick long chain which can reach the circumference of the theatre. The lunatics are forced to fight with the big man who constantly levitates the heavy mass of rock and throws it in a direction where a group of lunatic humans are assembled. The rock hits few of them killing mercilessly with blood and flesh splashing into the rock. Our hero fights with him, killing him and winning the duel and he becomes an important subject of the clan.

The Chola King Parthiban has done his role flamboyantly well. His introduction is just another awesome flick from a Hollywood movie. But whatever it is, he simply scores in his performance. He fits the role well. The ancient Tamil in his tongue flows lucidly and has his humor touch here and there. “Linga Darisanam kandu…” dialog will be something which cannot be missed by someone who knows a bit of Tamil in depth. Hats Off to you Parthiban. You always give a humor touch to everything. We loved you as a Chola king!

How can we miss Karthi? Yea, he is as usual casual, humorous and smiling. In his recent movies, he has been portrayed as one filthy, country side, dirty macho man, speaking begrimed language in a contaminated accent. This movie is not an exception as well for him. He plays a coolie who has been hired to help in the expedition. He confronts Reema and Andrea with his naughty mischievous actions, “Kalyananam panna ungala than..pannikanum…”. Later his frown stare at Reema and an affectionate stare on Andrea, facilitates the movie to run interestingly smooth. An extra piece of chicken for Andrea, is an extra piece of chicken for us too!

The movie ends with the death of the king & Karthi running away with a king’s small boy inorder to protect him from the Reema, Azhagam Perumal and others who turned out to be the Pandya successors who were in an expedition to reclaim the lost idol from the Chola king, thus saving at least one the Chola dynasty, indirectly sending us the message that the Chola people and their successors still exists in today’s modern world.

This movie gives a perfect blend of Hollywood series 300, Indiana Jones, Gladiator, Avatar, Mummy, Apocalypto and many other series. Well no story is unique as every story is an outcome of inspiration derived from some other series. I’m sure this one will be a hit in Tamil. This is a must watch movie for those who would expect something different from the kuthu paattu, sentimental cries, action fights, mass heroism, college romance. A completely different approach and try by the director for the Tamil Industry.

There are many scenes in which the so called objectionable and ‘bad’ words are used very perspicuously that suffers a mute. Andrea and Reema involve in wordy duel commenting about their bosoms and using the F word and many other words which is lost in the editing during the censoring. Hmmm…….

Hope the movie finds its place in the box office!

P.S: One thing which keeps nudging me was the use of iPhone by the officer, in the island min-gua near Vietnam. Well I was thinking about which network works well in such an isolated island with strong signal reception! I was wondering about my Airtel connection which sets itself to “No Service” mode 100 kilometers outside the city limits.

Ayirathil Oruvan – All is well!

My Rating: ●●●●● (4/5)

Short Story: I dont wanna miss you

It was a Saturday evening.

A group of children were playing in the park making noises that hit the nearby houses. They were enjoying the Saturday evening to the core. No studies, no homework, no exams. What else children need these days? An hour of sleep, lots of time to play and enjoy.

65 year old Vasudevan was sitting in the bench and was keenly watching the kids playing cricket, in the park situated nearby Mercy Oldage Home. He was in his white dhoti and well pressed khadi pyjama which has been donated by Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan to all the senior citizens of the Mercy Home. The walking stick, which never parts from him, was lying beside him. He was here by his own decision.

He could see two kids fighting in the crowd of children playing see-saw. A flabby obese child was hit by another one who is thin and weak to his age. He could barely lift the cricket bat which was lying on the ground. The scene of the weak tiny boy who keeps hitting the obese child disturbed him. Vasudevan was very much tired for his age and in his life. The small boy’s mischievousness was at the peak. He constantly hits the obese kid with the bat and this plump kid never retorts back. After few more hitting, both of them leave the place and this flabby kid walks towards the bench.

Vasu seeing him coming, calls the obese kid.

“Hey you. Come here dear”

Hearing those words, the boy turns his side and comes running towards him.

“What is your name?”, Vasu asked him softly bearing a light smile in his face.

“Deepak” came the reply.

“Deepak, why do you play with that naughty boy who keeps hitting you always? Why don’t you hit him back so that he never shows his mischievousness to you?

Deepak replied, “I play with him because; others don’t include me in the games. They don’t allow me in their group because I’m fat. I look ugly. My dress is tight and they hate playing with me. Aswin plays with me even though I’m fat. He is the only one who accepts me as a friend. If I hit him back he’ll too leave me. After all his the only one I’ve, to play with me. I don’t wanna miss him”

Saying this he hurriedly left running towards the park gate.

Deepak’s words stirred Vasudevan’s thoughts.

***

A week back in his own house, he shouted at his son Krishnan, who was assistant manager in an elevator company managing the finance and accounts.

“I’m leaving this house”, Vasudevan’s voice reverberated the 3BHK flat which Krishnan bought a month ago. “I cannot stay with him who doesn’t have any respect to his father. I’m leaving”

“Father, it’s you who happily gave away the important file containing the account statements to waste paperwala. You know how important that document is? I had worked day and night to prepare that report and it was due submission. I had to ask another day to prepare it again and submit it back. It is the only reason, I spoke harshly to you. Why are you leaving us for this?”

“No whatever reason you give me, I’m not in a mood to accept it. I need respect. When it is not available here, I’m not staying here. See you”. Vasudevan packed his bags and left the house and he is now here in the Mercy home for the past one month. Krishnan’s effort to make his father stay back went in vain. He was helpless.

***

Someone knocked the door early in the morning. When Krishnan opened the door he was surprised to see his father back home. Vasudevan quietly entered the house and entered silently into his room and sat in his chair. Krishnan could not say anything. He wanted to talk to his dad. But he did not want to hurt him saying anything. He wanted his father to rest. He was in tears out of the happiness that filed his heart seeing his father back home after a month from the Mercy home.

Krishnan was getting ready for the day’s work and was hurrying as usual to his office. He left home hurriedly seeing his father asleep in his room.

By the time he reached his Office, he got a call from his manager.

“Krishnan, please bring the audit report which we prepared yesterday. Hope you reviewed it at home as you said”

“Yesss Sir…I’ll be there in a minute”. When the receiver was placed down, he realized that he had left the file at home. “Oh my God…today again in hurry I left the file back at home”. He quickly made another call to his manager and informed that he need some time and he’ll be back in 5 minutes.

“Oh yes. No problem Krishnan. Take your time. Come to my cabin after 5 minutes”, Manager replied and put the receiver down.

By the time he was about to start home. Krishnan received another call from reception.

“Mr. Krishnan, someone is waiting for you in the lobby”

“Yes I’ll be there in a minute”

“Thank you Sir” the call ended.

Who wants to see me now? I want to get that file from Home immediately. Shall I ask him to come another day and discuss? Thinking all this he got down the stairs and reached the lobby in search of the person who has come to meet him.

***

Krishnan approached the reception and the lady pointed her pen towards the couch. It was a fraction of time Krishnan took, turning to the direction the receptionist pointed, to see Vasudevan sitting in the couch, with a file in his hand, along with a flabby kid who was holding a football, sitting beside him. His heart was heavy with melancholy.

“Father….” He said. He was not able to talk. His throat was choked out of happiness of seeing his father.

Krishnan could not control his feelings. He burst out in tears and came towards him and fell on his father’s feet.

Vasudevan spoke, “Krishnan, here is the file which you forgot to take with you, this morning. Amma gave this to me to handover this to you. Hope this is so something important for you today. I don’t wanna miss you”

P.S: This is a thought expressed by my colleague. He wanted those thoughts to be written in some form of story and I’ve tried my best to put it here in a story as narrated by him.