So it’s deepavali and it’s not complete until you watch a newly released movie. I was whiling away my time at home and found that AGS Navalur had some tickets for 7aum arivu. Off I went to watch the much publicized and extensively marketed movie from AR Murugadass – Surya.
If you have watched the movie and think it’s one of the best movies made in Tamil cinema, I suggest you to close this window at once and move on. This review is going to be a stark critique of the movie.
The problem with today’s Tamil movie directors is that they want to ape their world cinema counterparts but don’t understand that they are failing miserably. 7aum Arivu is one such attempt where the director seems to be extremely confused on the subject he wanted to portray on screen. 7aum Arivu is a movie about Aravind (Surya) who is an offspring of the Bodhidarman (Surya) lineage. Bodhidarman or Damo (as he is known to the South East Asian world) is a 6th century Pallava Prince, who made it to China, cured some diseases and said to have initiated the Shaolin Temple. Aravind falls in love with Suba (Shruti Hassan – making her Tamil debut), who is hovering behind Aravind to finish her study on “genetic memory” (a study on inheritance of genetic intelligence from the forefathers). Meanwhile, the Chinese Government (a new villain for Indian cinema!!!) sends Dong Lee (Johnny Tri Nguyen), a Shaolin warrior to start something called Operation Red and also kill Suba. They think that Suba would be a hindrance to their operation as she trying to bring Bodhidarman through genetic modification on Aravind. The secret behind Operation Red, Suba – Aravind’s fight against Dong Lee and return of Bodhidarman is shown in a languid and boring 168 minute movie reel
The movie starts with a newsreel, literally. I think the director was worried that theaters don’t show newsreels these days and so he took the mantle to show one. It even has the voice of the guy who gives the background voice for Nijam program in Sun Tv. The director takes his time to unwind the love story of lead actors with 3 songs and the love is so fragile that you will actually LOL when he comes to know the truth about Suba’s intentions. Surya gets another chance to show off his 6 packs and of course nothing to worry about his acting because there isn’t much scope in the movie. Shruthi on the other hand has the maximum screen space but she is far from convincing as a Genetic Research Scientist. She looks amateurish and I just hope she inherits some “Genetic Memory” from her father. The only character that will stay in your mind is Johnny Tri Nguyen’s Dong Lee. I think it’s the time of villains in Tamil cinema, Johnny looks menacing and suits the role to the “T”. But for better stunts of his, do watch his Vietnamese movies. Better actors like Abinaya (Nadodigal) and Aswin (Ganesh of Mangatha) are wasted in small insignificant roles.
Ravi K.Chandran’s camera work in the initial newsreel is scintillating while Rajeevan’s recreation of Shaolin is interesting but with such technical wizardry AR Murugadass has failed to deliver a world class movie he promised. As I said earlier, he is not clear what exactly he wanted to portray. The movie tries to be a historical fiction and a science fiction with doses of Tamil propaganda in a masala format. You can call it a Tamil movie, I call it a confusion. There are innumerable factual errors like showing Tawang Monastery (I think so, but its not definitely Shaolin Temple) as Shaolin Temple to Shaolin monks using mobile phones, it looks like a joke. The concept of using China as the new villain is interesting but unconvincing and of bad taste. The way Johnny Nguyen kills people using hypnotism is impressive but can the martial arts be taught in few seconds through hypnotism !!! (duh). The sequence where a young girl and a sanitary worker doing martial arts fight is extremely funny to see and it’s one of the worst CGI sequences you can see. Sometimes you may end up feeling that you are watching a zombie movie.
The references to Eelam and Tamil cause is horribly out of place and seems to be a marketing ploy rather than portraying the real cause. The screenplay lacks the punch and deftness that marks AR Murugadass movies of the past. May be he also needs some “Genetic Memory” treatment to bring back his old DNA.
7aum Arivu had the right premise of becoming a historical fiction or a science fiction but it ends up as a run of the mill masala flick with unimpressive acting,terrible music score ( please don’t ask me to review Harris Jayaraj’s music) and inferior direction.
I give a 1/5 for the premise and providing a good newsreel about Bodhidharman.