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Brave But Flawed: Aayirathil Oruvan
Cast: Azhagamperumal, Reema Sen, Pratap Pothen, Andrea, Karthi
Music: G.V. Prakash
Director Selvaraghavan’s three-year-long project Aayirathil Oruvan is indeed a brave attempt that breaks away from stereotypes. The director treads a different path and presents breathtaking visuals and outstanding performances.
A secret team led by archaeologist Anitha Pandian (Reema Sen) and a military officer Ravi (Azhagamperumal) goes on a thrilling journey to track down missing links after an archaeologist (Pratap Pothen) vanishes into thin air during his mission to discover the lost Chola civilization (Don’t rush for your history book. As the disclaimer says that it is pure imagination!).
Lavanya (Andrea), daughter of the missing archaeologist, joins the team to find her father. Muthu (Karthi), a labor contractor, get into the team almost accidentally. After a tedious and horrible expedition they come near the palace of the Chola king (Parthiban) and his people, who live in a different world.
The film moves smoothly until this point. However, the magical transformation of Reema and the revelation of her identity and the following sequences are bizarre and dilute the film’s appeal.
The fight sequence with the tribal folk, the arduous journey through thousands of snakes, running into a desert are a visual treat, though the graphics could be better.
Cinematography by Ramji is top class.
Selva leaves many questions unanswered: If the team suffers due to the paranormal power of the Chola dynasty, why couldn’t the kingdom save itself from extinction using the same power? The king, who seems to posses magical power, has no clue during the final war. Where has all his magical power gone? The first half with comedy, action, eye-catching songs, stunning visuals and grandeur saves the film from being a complete wash out. The 190-minute-long film fails to impress as a whole, as the second half is filled with many unconvincing twists and poorly executed sequences. The fantasy element is stretched too far.
Selvaraghavan should be applauded for trying to widen the frontiers of commercial cinema but he has failed to make it a success by going overboard with the fantasy angle.