About Aayirathil Oruvan
A time-traveling story involving a missing archaeologist's daughter who goes in search of the missing 'Chola' tribe with her helper (Karthi Sivakumar). They discover more than they originally set out to find.
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Aayirathil Oruvan Movie review
Selvaraghavan's magnum opus epic adventure Aayirathil Oruvan, one of the most-hyped movies of recent times made with a huge budget, has been in the limelight since it began. As we know, movies for which expectations are high seldom satisfy audiences and critics when they are released. They are made with so much effort and dedication, with the entire team eagerly awaiting critical acclaim and box office success. But sometimes, they fail to meet public expectations and audiences and critics thrash the movie. Aayirathil Oruvan pushed other movies to the backseat with its hype it generated, but does it belong to the 'dud' lot? The answer is 'No'! The director has managed to touch a rare genre of Tamil Cinema. This exceptional film emerges successful as one of the best fantasy movies made in Tamil cinema or even world cinema.
Before beginning the review, we must mention that Aayirathil Oruvan is for mature audiences only, strictly not for kids. It is one of the most violent and explicit movies belonging to the genre of 300, Caligula, Gladiator, Cannibal Holocaust and other movies based on war, zombies and cannibalism. It also takes inspiration from popular fantasy adventures and cult films like Lord of the Rings, Narnia, Mackenna's Gold, Beowolf, King Kong and Indiana Jones. Aayirathil Oruvan may be perceived differently by each moviegoer and Selvaraghavan fan. Some may feel it's just an epic fantasy adventure while others might sense that the movie explores sensitive current issues pertaining in the country or between countries and its people. Discussions will surely take place on various forums drawing attention to this extravagant film, making it a cult movie. Keep reading!
Who's In It?
Aayirathil Oruvan brings together Karthi, R. Parthiban, Reemma Sen (earlier spelt Reema Sen), Andrea Jeremiah and Azhagam Perumal plus an extensive supporting cast. Almost two years after his debut role as the protagonist in Paruthiveeran, Karthi plays the role of a porter in Aayirathil Oruvan. R. Parthiban and Reemma Sen make a comeback, delivering their most powerful performances. Andrea Jeremiah, last seen in Pachaikili Muthucharam, sings and acts in Aayirathil Oruvan. Azhagam Perumal joins hands with Selvaraghavan again after Pudhupettai as an actor.
Aayirathil Oruvan is written and directed by Selvaraghavan and has music by G.V. Prakash Kumar. Aishwarya Dhanush is one of the associate directors. R. Ravendran produces the movie for his Dream Valley Corporation.
What's It About?
Aayirathil Oruvan starts with a disclaimer stating that the events and characters depicted in the movie are pure fiction and not based on actual history, people (living or dead) or incidents. The story of Aayirathil Oruvan unfolds from the time when the Cholas were driven out of their kingdom by the Pandyas in southern India. To escape from them and save the life of his successor, the Chola emperor sends his son (along with his people) to a secret territory unknown to his enemies. The Cholas also take away with them an idol sacred to the Pandyas, which angers them even more. To capture the escaped Cholas and retrieve their idol, the Pandyas extend their invasion to the unexplored territories which the Cholas have covered with their prince, but fail in their invasion.
Several centuries later, Indian archaeologists continue searching for the existence of the Chola empire based on clues left by the ancient Pandyan warriors. But all the archaeologists disappear during the search missions. Archaeologist Chandramouli (Pratap Pothen) is the last person to have reportedly traced the empire but he also does not return from his mission.
The Indian government organizes a search expedition led by archaeologist Anitha (Reemma Sen) to find Chandramouli and the Chola Empire with assistance from the Indian army led by Ravi (Azhagam Perumal). They meet Lavanya (Andrea Jeremiah), daughter of the missing archaeologist Chandramouli. She assists Anitha and gives crucial documents prepared by her father on the Chola dynasty with instructions on the route to reach the destination. She also joins the expedition since her insight is considered essential for the success of the project.
Along with the army, Anitha employs a group of porters headed by Muthu (Karthi), who behaves like a spoilt brat. He ogles both the women and has naughty confrontations with them. The journey leads them to an island near Vietnam. On the way, they are attacked by cannibals, warriors, snakes and witchcraft. Many porters and army men are killed.
Muthu, Anitha and Lavanya get separated from the others. The curse of the Cholas almost turns them into zombies. They nearly go mad before finally reaching the remaining ruins of the Chola dynasty. The three of them find an ethnic isolated primitive Tamil group ruled by a Chola king (R. Parthiban). The king and his people are in hiding, awaiting the arrival of the fabled messenger whom they believe will bring glory and prosperity back to their land. The king gets angered on seeing the intruders and orders Muthu, Anitha and Lavanya to be burnt alive as sacrifice to their gods.
At this point, Anitha tells the king that she is the messenger he had been eagerly awaiting and had to disguise herself as an archaeologist to find the lost civilization. Muthu and Lavanya are taken as slaves. Anitha is given a chance to prove herself as the messenger. She tries to woo the king with her physical beauty. Anitha convinces the Chola king that the message she brought to him is to march towards the world outside on a particular day with his people and live the life of a king instead of hiding in dark caves. He suspects her bona fides since none of Anitha's actions match the qualities of the messenger described by his ancestors.
Anitha finally exposes her identity and the real intention of visiting this civilization. She is the heiress of the Pandyan dynasty. For generations, her family has been trying to find the whereabouts of the Chola prince and his people who escaped with the Pandya idol. She is here to extract her revenge on the Cholas who stole their sacred idol. The Chola king is shattered for having believed in Anitha as his true messenger and tries to eliminate her. She escapes from the cave and joins the army outside which is also led by Pandyas. The Cholas are at war once again with the Pandyas. The king has to battle against the army to save his people and his son. He also finds that Muthu is the true messenger - the chosen one who would save the Cholas from the clutches of Anitha and the army.
They fight bravely but the Cholas lose and are taken prisoners. Their women are molested and raped by the army and the king is killed. The story ends with Muthu saving the king's son and the remaining Cholas by escaping into the forest and watching the army searching for them, suggesting a sequel.
Aayirathil Oruvan is all about performances from the cast. Karthi, R. Parthiban, Reemma Sen and Andrea score with their acting skills. Their characters will be remembered for long. Karthi, as the leader of the porters, reminds us of his role in Paruthiveeran. He is at ease and once again proves that he is a born actor. Andrea as Lavanya is good. But, the show-stoppers are R. Parthiban and Reemma Sen! Parthiban as the Chola king and Reemma Sen as the heiress to the Pandyas steal our hearts and amaze us many a time with their daring performances. Parthiban is brilliant and is the pillar of the movie!
Reemma, sexier than we first saw her in Minnale, heats up the screen! She is a never-seen-before revelation; the director has successfully unearthed her acting talent completely. It is doubtful if any other actress would have agreed to play this character which seems tailor-made for her. The trust and confidence she had on Selva's characterization shows on screen. This skilled actress pouring out various emotions seems to have been underutilized until now. Though the initial sequences are dominated by Karthi's histrionics, the post-interval section belongs to Parthiban and Reemma.
For Techie Lovers
Selvaraghavan's dream project Aayirathil Oruvan excels in the technical department, filled with groundbreaking visuals and art direction. Considering the reach of Tamil cinema worldwide and the budget constraints, the visual effects team has done a commendable task. The screenplay in the first half keeps you panting for more! Erum Ali's costume designing for Aayirathil Oruvan matches international standards, enriching the look and feel of the movie and dialogues are a major plus. G.V. Prakash Kumar's music stands out; the songs and re-recording seem to have been composed with much attention and research, deserving much applause. Art direction by T. Santhanam lends credibility to Aayirathil Oruvan. This is one of the best works of stunt master Rambo Rajkumar, who passed away recently. Cinematographer Ramji has woven magic with his lens.
Apart from being technically sound to a major extent, the movie does have its negative points. Coming close on the heels of Avatar's release, comparisons are inevitable as far as Computer Graphics department is concerned. More perfection could have been achieved. Of course, Aayirathil Oruvan is no match for the 3D Hollywood flick made with an astronomical budget.
The fictional story seems complicated especially in the second half. The post-interval screenplay is long; certain scenes need drastic trimming to improve the pace of the film. The violence and gore depicted in the movie makes it only suitable for adult viewing and is disturbing many a time.
To conclude, irrespective of the verdict the movie receives from reviewers and audiences, Selvaraghavan's effort is to be appreciated. Producer R. Ravendran and his team have given a cult film worthy of high praise.
Cheers! Selvaraghavan and Ravendran!
Review by Shailesh
Please note: Every review on Galatta.com is written by the person who has watched the movie. Therefore, while conscious effort is made to give a fair, unbiased and ethical opinion, every review will have a personal element and opinion to it. Ultimately, every movie experience is a personal one and readers should watch each movie on their own terms.