I could not review Irandam Ulagam when it released. Simply because due to my travel and workload, I could not watch it in the first two weeks. I caught up with it later. But before that be it good or bad, I had to read Facebook posts, Twitter Updates and even blog reviews trashing the movie to the hilt. You might think my expectation levels went down when I went to watch the movie but I never have expectations in the first place for any movie. All these so called reviews made me curious. Why were these people hating these movie so much?
When I finished watching the movie and I had to stand near the Sathyam parking lot to avoid the rain, I got the chance to listen to few people who were having their casual conversations about the movie. One lady was not egoistic to admit that she didn't understand the concept but her boy friend made a ham of parallel Universes concept in an attempt to explain the movie. Most of the conversations were on the same lines. I realised that the problem was people didn't understand it and Selvaraghavan was not helpful too. Our audience are exposed to science fiction only through dubbed movies from English. And I really don't know how concepts are brought out. Even most of the sci fi movies defy science laws.
I am not saying that Irandam Ulagam was perfect. In fact, it was far from perfect. The first issue is the way Selvaraghavan tried to mix Sci Fi with Mythological fantasy. It's a very delicate line that only few people have succeeded. All Sci Fi Fantasies are made because of one question – Why not? Why not there can be a parallel universe? Why not there can be people in that country who are white but can speak Tamil? Why not there can be only carnal pleasures instead of love, marriage et.al? Selvaraghavan's these “Why not” questions are visionary and brilliant. I was amazed at the way he thought about certain things. The universe where people inhabit with extremely dangerous creatures. A lion is something else there. The hues and colors. There is no greenery. The place is ruled by monarchy. The people do Russian folk dance but speak in Tamil. They just abduct women if they want to live with them. All these are wonderful imaginations but at the execution level he could not bring it on screen perfectly. I would say he was half successful in creating the world he imagined in his mind.
The second issue is the focus towards love and less concentration on the fantasy part. The over emphasis on love makes the movie normal. Even the fantasy movies with love has a balance on the way they both parts. The connection between love and the lack of happiness in a world is bit far fetched. Or he didn't convey the thought powerfully. Probably, he needed a stronger protagonist as his hero. I am not saying Arya isn't talented but his persona doesn't match the conviction the protagonist(s) of Irandam Ulagam needed
The third issue is the expectation of audience over Selvaragahavan movies. I think this has been a problem for every movie in the post social media world. We over expect the directors to deliver and when they don't, we trash them to core. We trash even the heroes. I have never understood why a hero is made responsible for a director's mistake. All the major super stars have to go through this. Except for few who indulge in movie making, all the actors act in a movie by just listening to story narrated by a director. Why blame them for failures?
At the same time, every director can't deliver every time. We don't give them the leeway for creativity. They can't experiment. They have to take movies in a pattern they are known for. They have to match our expectations every time they make a movie. It does curb the experimentation attitude of a director. As an audience, will we mature is a million dollar question.
Irandam Ulagam is not a normal movie to start with. The parallel universe thought process itself is new to Indian movie making. It's an experiment gone wrong for Selvaraghavan but is it an experiment that needs to be trashed. No it's not. The thought process and imagination are commendable. Selvaraghavan needs a creative leeway where he can spread his wings and fly with his imagination. But what he got was to walk with what he had. Hope all these trashing doesn't curb his creativity. Hope all these trashing doesn't discourage producers to experiment.
Give Selvaraghavan a chance.