There are movies that move you. That’s why perhaps they are called movies, short for “moving pictures”. There are also movies that make you think. Often way after you have watched it. And then there are movies like that uncle of yours who keep visiting you, taunting you for being so stupid and a loser, when he himself makes a living by cutting grass and has similar intelligence of the grasshoppers that evade his blade.
That was the kind of film 7aum Arivu was for me.
The whole condescending attitude the filmmaker, also the writer, A. R. Murugadoss, reminds me of one of our late grandfather on Deepavali days who sneers at us for being ne-er do well kids while he was high on 50 cent alcohol. It’s sickening, and I wanted to walk out of this movie at three occasions, but two things kept me at the seat.
One was the possible awesome martial arts showdown as promised by the trailer, and second, the debut heroine Shruti Haasan. More on her later.
Interestingly the movie picked up well enough with us following Bodhi Dharma in the 6th century, an Indian prince who taught the far east the ancient martial arts and medicine. That is about the best part of the film.
The movie then proceeds to present times, and it’s downhill from there. Borrowing from any Dustin Hoffman viral outbreak plotlines, it’s basically about a genetic engineering student with key to the one herbal medicine that can help the disease. An assassin is sent to
India from to spread the disease and he
was also to kill the student. China
Surya plays Bodhi Dharma and also his direct descendent, Arvind, who is research object to the student, played by Shruti. He first thought that he was having relationship with her, but later left heart-broken when he finds out that he was merely a research subject, but then, who could also possess the knowledge his ancestor had.
Surya, when not performing his usual six-pack porn, is fine here but was thoroughly wasted. He looked great as Bhodi Dharma, a sagely prince in the 6th century who shares same hairdresser as Gene Simmons and succumbs to male pattern baldness at later stage.
An agile and physical actor, I hoped to see Surya engaging in some batshit insane whop-ass martial art as I seriously (and foolishly, knowing this industry) thought this was an all-out martial arts movie. Apart from the interesting martial arts scene during the 6th century episode, the present day Surya he spend time running away from the bad guy and poor CG shots.
And the bad guy, some guy with penile name. Apparently he knows this special martial, which uses hypnotism. But it looked more like Sideways Stare Martial Arts (SSMA). Sure, we see him practising kung-fu on his own. But most of the action scenes involving him see him using SSMA. One SSMA has cops shooting each other. Oh, more SSMA has nut-munching knucklehead reveal informations. More SSMA, he gets some peanuts treat. No buttkicking. Only staring sideways. And when it came to the final showdown…what a bummer.
The biggest asset to this film is, of course, Shruti Haasan. What a revelation. And what a breath of fresh air. The industry was plagued with non-entities appearing has heroines for too long. It’s time to stop. Beginning with Kushboo and her temple, and the acknowledgment of standard nose-flarer Simran as a great actress, and letting walking totem pole named Trisha to continue do her business, we have steadily been making steps backwards in this department. Let me not even get started with the occasional visiting self-cleansing mannequin named Mrs. Bachchan.
There are bunch of wonderful actresses making the industry to sit up and notice. Anjali and Amala Paul comes to my mind, but they seemed to be lacking something. Something I believe Shruti Haasan has.
I mean, this film is filled with plenty of exposition, and pages of dialogues and most of it had to be handled by her character. And wow, she just pulls it off beautifully. Especially when she has to churn out some half-baked scientific mumbo-jumbo and tell off some whiny old farts who dismisses Tamil. She’s just so convincing.
In another scene, she actually moved me. She cries when she knews that inevitably her colleague is going to be killed, and even though the pal was some curly haired douchebag that I didn’t care for, I was moved by her tears. No contemporary actress had ever had that affect on me.
Anyway, back to the film. The scene after the climax just felt so wrong even in a bad film like this. If we wanted to be lectured, we go back to college. Stick to entertainment, A.R. Murugadoss. Oh yeah, there are the songs as usual, and they are a proof that however influential audiences are to the industry, the filmmakers just hate us. And in the middle of all the rambling, grumbling, SSMAing, we hear what sounds like Harris Jeyaraj composing for Ernest Goes to
movie. Harris, the party was over like four or five years ago. Get it? Hint, hint. Nudge, nudge. China
Wel, whatever Murugadoss’ fault is, at least I’d like to thank him for introducing Shruti to us. Sure, she’s Kamal’s daughter, but she is now part of the Tamizh film fraternity and we welcome her with open arms.
This remind me of thirty years ago when we welcomed a chubby actor named Prabhu Ganesan. Heard his dad was not a bad actor.
|Actual Bhodi Dharma and his, err, one pack.|