Verdict - If you are in a mood for a really absurd action masala, you should see this.
Sasi's Ainthu Ainthu Ainthu starts off as an awkward psychological thriller before becoming a full-blown balls to the walls action masala with preposterously awesome expositions. It features a protagonist who suffers serious brain damage in a car accident and is no longer able to live normally. A part of him is convinced that he lost the love of his life in the accident -- a girl who his own brother swears never even existed. Along with this unreliable hero with questionable memories, we plunge into this seemingly normal world where things are about to real crazy.
The film tries to evoke the same feeling in us that A.R.Murugadoss' Ghajini so deftly managed to. It slowly and very obviously leads the romance squarely into the unrequited territory before showering a good dose of fatality on the lovers. The love story is very unimaginative and I didn't root for them the way I did for, say, Manohar and Kalpana in Ghajini. But there's something earnest about its mediocrity that had me grinning throughout.
Inside Ainthu Ainthu Ainthu is a very good movie just jostling to break free. I know how songs are useless in most of our movies, but they are particularly unnecessary in this film. Except for that one song which looked like a compilation of a handful of Vine videos, the film should have avoided the rest. There are moments where the direction is really bad. Instead of making us understand a character's thoughts, Sasi simply has them mouth what's running through their head or makes us listen to their mind-voice. This is the kind of ineptitude which is unacceptable even for those mega-serials on Tamil channels.
A few minutes into the film, I smugly told myself how I expected it to end; my predictions couldn't have been more wrong. That's the one thing about Ainthu Ainthu Ainthu that I love: it always kept me puzzled about the happenings and continuously piled mounds of absurd as it moved forward. The kind of epic backstory and sentimentality it lends its antagonist is sheer rip-roaring awesomeness. The non-linear screenplay is a huge plus in making the film interesting. Also, the hero doesn't simply sport a tiny band-aid to show for his major accident.. he has deep scars running the lengths of his face. How often do we see that?
After misguidedly wasting a good many years trying to score big by playing aruva-wielding characters in films like Pazhani, Seval and Thiruthani, Bharath appears to have finally reassessed his priorities as an actor. In Ainthu Ainthu Ainthu, he has evidently worked very hard and for the first time he looks convincing enough to beat dozens of people. Heck, he looks like a mountain of raw meat. Sure, he is lacking in scenes which could use more subtlety but he carries the movie on his dangerously broad, ripped shoulders.
One of the film's strikingly prominent elements is how utterly naive the character of Liyana can be. She is stoopid (with the double o's, yes) enough to believe Aravinth possesses some special power that lets him learn very personal things about her life. In reality, he is, of course, stalking her like a creep. I think we all agree that no other film industry writes ingenue female characters like Kollywood. On a scale of toddler to a fully formed intelligent adult, our women often unfortunately fall within the range of Anjali papa and Genelia D'Souza in Santosh Subramaniam. But with a mental age dwindling between 6 and 12, Liyana threatens to change these parameters forever. The director himself acknowledges this ridiculous characterization and has Santhanam make a quip about it -- who says exactly what everyone in the auditorium was thinking. My question is.. why is it always the female character who gets portrayed as a complete idiot?
As the end credits started rolling, a sympathy-porn montage was shown featuring all the strenuous activities the film's crew performed. For the last time, you just don't do that. It is like performing a magic show and then revealing all the tricks at the end of the show. Also, it is plain pathetic.
Ainthu Ainthu Ainthu is a desi-version of Shutter Island dunked in judicious amount of garam masala. It is logically stunted and I cannot promise you a good time, but I sure did have a lot of fun.