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Movie Review: Thiruvilayaadal Arambham (2006) Back to Movie
Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam
Fans Rating: 81%%81%% 81% (32 votes)
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We’ve had actor-director pairs(Vikram-Hari, to name one) start off great (Saamy) only to disappoint with their subsequent film (Arul). But Dhanush and director Bhoopathy Pandian have fortunately moved in the other direction. After the boring and plotless Devadhaiyai Kanden, the two have come together again to deliver a funny, entertaining film in Thiruvilaiyaadal Aarambam. One just wishes it had been a little more original too.

Thirukkumaran(Dhanush) is one of those familiar Tamil cinema heroes who has no job, hangs out with equally-jobless friends and as a result of those 2 things, is constantly at the receiving end of rebukes and lectures from his father(Mouli). When things come to a head with his father, he walks out of the house. Its love at first sight when he sees Priya(Shriya), the sister of a rich businessman Guru(Prakashraj). Priya falls for him too and when Guru realizes this, he offers Thiru money to dump Priya. Thiru chooses money over love and breaks up with Priya.

Considering the unbelievable nature of the romance between Dhanush and Sridevi in Devadhaiyai Kanden, the sweet romance here is a pleasant surprise. Dhanush is very sincere as he woos Shriya and some of his techniques make the eventual romance easier to accept.

Thiruvilaiyaadal Aarambam proves that even if a movie is chockfull of familiar elements, a small twist in the screenplay is all that’s needed to help avoid it look stale. For a while, the movie leads us along the very familiar path of a poor boy-rich girl romance where the girl has a brother opposed to the romance. But in the key – and again, very familiar – scene where the brother tries to buy the hero’s love, the movie twists things by making Dhanush accept the money. So instead of seeing the hero refuse the money and give a lecture on love, we see him take the money and give up his love. This invigorates the movie and the momentum gained is enough to keep us involved through the rest of the movie.

The movie has a consistent undertone of humor that helps keep it entertaining. There are few scenes that are laugh-out-loud funny but the movie manages to keep us smiling throughout. Whether Dhanush is being berated by his dad or professing love to Shriya or going up against Prakashraj, things are handled with a humorous touch. A number of lines are funny and some of the wordplays would make even ‘Crazy’ Mohan proud. This humor makes us view the cinematic or even silly happenings less seriously.

Dhanush squaring off against Prakashraj is the main part of the movie but here it is more bark than bite. Dhanush’s plans, when he clashes with Prakashraj, usually have a good build-up and make us anticipate something clever. But the finishes are usually weak and belie the build-up. In some cases, they don’t make much sense considering the number of loopholes in them. But the aforementioned humor, along with the good pace, help overlook the lack of substance.

I’m not sure if it was intentional now that Dhanush is related to Rajnikanth but the movie reminds us of many other Rajnikanth movies at several points. While the Dhanush-Prakashraj clashes naturally take us back to the enmity between Rajni and Satyaraj in Mr.Bharath(the Ennammaa Kannu… remix is a nice touch since it tells us that the director realized the similarities too), a number of individual scenes seem designed to remind us of similar scenes in famous Rajni movies. But these sequences are handled with some subtlety so that the movie doesn’t come off looking like a rip-off.

After a few initial movies where he proved that he had talent and took roles that he could fit into, Dhanush got too ambitious in Sullaan as he wanted to become an action hero. That proved to be his undoing and nothing he did after that worked. Here he once again picks a role that fits him perfectly. He is very casual and comedy comes to him naturally. He creates a likeable hero and the mix of action and comedy works. Shriya looks pretty but is relegated to the background after the first half since the movie’s focus turns to Dhanush and Prakashraj. Prakashraj is solid as usual, giving his character the right amount of seriousness to avoid the movie becoming a full-length comedy. Karunas, Mouli and Saranya are adequate and the boy playing Dhanush’s brother has some very funny lines that he delivers well.

Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam