In Tamil cinema, we have had several instances of directors impressing with their debut films,
only to disappoint in subsequent offerings. Director Vishnuvardhan has bucked the trend to direct
a feature superior to his first film. While his debut Kurumbu
was silly, vulgar and irritating, Arindhum Ariyaamalum, his follow-up, is none of those.
If he follows this trajectory, his next film will be something to look forward to.
Sathya(Navdeep) moves from Nagercoil to the city to enroll in a prestigious Engineering college.
He falls for Sandhya(Samiksha) his collegemate, though he is not too expressive about his feelings.
Sathya runs into Adhinarayanan(Prakashraj), a dada, and his adopted son Kutti(Arya) a couple of
times and is turned off by their predisposition towards violence. The violence intrudes his life
when Sandhya gets shot by Arya during a fight. So Sathya goes to the police and files a complaint
Arindhum Ariyaamalum is the third movie(after Amudhe and
6.2) in recent times to take me by surprise on the route it takes. With an
everyman hero, romance and an all-powerful dada, the first half points to a masalafilm
along the lines of Run or Dhool,
where the hero takes on a much more powerful adversary. The fact that Navdeep arrives in the
city from another town and the friction between Navdeepalso point to that. But a plot point
introduced midway is a pleasant, unexpected surprise and takes the movie on a very different track.
Inspite of the familiar feel of the underlying material, the screenplay keeps us entertained
in the first half. Navdeep's confusion about Samiksha's identity and her attitude towards him
keep us smiling through the romance. Prakashraj and Arya take care of the action with scuffles with
their enemies, friction with the police, etc. The three of them come together in the second half
but not exactly in the way we imagine.
The plot development changes not just the story but its whole tone. The story that was slowly
moving towards an action-packed second half takes a turn and becomes sort of a comedy. The comedy
is a little slapstick but makes us laugh since it arises from legitimate causes. The inability of
Prakashraj and Arya to express their newfound feelings correctly and Navdeep's conflicted feelings
towards them are what result in the laughs. The director also exhibits a definite Manirathnam
influence. To convince Navdeep to accompany him home, Arya uses the same tactic that Karthik used on
Revathi in Mouna Raagam while the scene where Arya talks to
Samiksha's father reminds one of Mammootty's conversation with Charuhasan in
Navdeep suits the role of the young man. Samiksha looks better in modern dresses and reminds one of
several other actresses in different angles. Prakashraj is dependable as always. He is believable
both as the rowdy and the man struggling to make Navdeep understand his real feelings. Arya is
the real find though. He has a casual way of dialog delivery that seems both stylish and very natural
and fights well. Krishna gets a few laughs though he shows a tendency to shout.
Yuvan Shankar Raja has tuned some peppy numbers that suit the youthfulness of the film. The songs are
also picturized quite differently. Sil Sil Sil Sil... borrows its situation from Dil To
Pagal Hai but works in that it gives off a jolly, uninhibited feel. Thee Pidikka...
deserves to be better used than in an item number but is choreographed well. Water seems to be
common point in all the song sequences but it is undeniable that it adds gloss to the