Well, when you are in Chennai, the excitement surrounding the flick is palpable: there's so much being written about it in the papers, and almost everybody you know is talking about it. And why not? Suriya and A R Murugadoss are coming together again after Ghajini, and its no surprise that even Aamir Khan is keenly waiting for it.
7aum Arivu is a cleverly written masala film aimed at invoking mass appeal: something which should draw huge crowds in Tamil Nadu during the festive season. Murugadoss combines science fiction, ancient history and theatrics to create something quite dissimilar to his last cinematic outing with Suriya/Aamir.
The film starts with a chronicle of the life of Bodhidharma (Suriya), an ancient Hindu Pallava Prince hailing from Kancheepuram (Tamil Nadu) who brings knowledge of Yoga and medicine to ancient China. He establishes a school which preaches the same philosophy and propogates his learnings, which continue to be passed on to future generations.
Cut to present day: An Indian scientist Subha (Shruti Haasan) is researching Bodhidharma's family tree and traces a circus artiste Aravind (Suriya again) to be his descendant. She starts pursuing him actively in order to trace his entire DNA and reclaim Bodhi's ancient knowledge. However, present day China wishes to weaken India by starting a biological war and believes that Subha's mission might be a deterrent to their task: an assassin who possesses powers similar to Bodhidharma is sent to kill Subha.
The film, although built on a magnaminous scale is plagued by a lot of problems all of which stem from the fact that it does not take itself seriously. An issue which might have evoked a more thrilling reaction from the audience is rendered funny by copying copious amounts from foreign blockbusters. The entire concept is strikingly similar to Terminator 2, with the lead villain (Johnny Nyugen) even looking similar to Edward Furlong, his counterpart from the English movie. His mannerisms are superpowers are copied from Agent Smith (The Matrix franchise). To add to the mockery, a lady impersonates Trinity as well in what can be called one of the most hilarious sequences in the film. Such theatrics, frankly speaking were not expected from a Director as accomplished as A R Murugadoss. These dilute the seriousness of the subject and fail to keep the audiences engaged, probably in an attempt to over-entertain.
Acting wise, the three lead characters all have chunky roles and perform them dutifully: Suriya is obviously the more seasoned of them all, and looks realistic as Bodhidharma. However his characterisation of Aravind is mediocre and doesnt surprise. The Director has spent a whole lot on locales, and the film looks beautiful on the big screen.
Endnote? Watch it if you like Suriya more than Shah Rukh this Diwali: it is entertaining and paisa vasool, but it could have been way better, had Murugadoss capitalized on the mood created in the first 30 minutes. view less