Bala is from a rare breed of directors – peculiar and uncompromising in whatever they do. One director he can be compared to will be Mahendran. But sometimes complacency can strike you hard and it may end up as your downfall. Avan Ivan can become the demise of a one of the wonderful storytellers Tamil Cinema ever had.
Avan Ivan is a story of two half brothers Vishal (effeminate, theatre loving, squint eyed guy) and Arya (Brash, master thief) from a thief community. Although they have their own family, both are fond of Highness (GK Kumar), a zameendar who is like a God father to the whole village. GK Kumar gets in to a tussle with RK, an illegal butcher who kills GK brutally. The brothers take revenge for the death of their beloved. (Yes, that’s the story)
Characters don’t maketh a movie. There are 3 wonderfully crafted characters and it seems Bala had a confusion on how to bring his own brand of “Good wins over evil” concept in to the movie. Vishal as Walter is a surprise package and his introduction is impressive Yes he is effeminate, squint eyed – so what it doesn’t form any important role in the movie (for instance although a commercial potboiler, Varalaru’s main premise was based on the effeminate characteristics of the lead protagonist). Arya as Kumbdren Saamy on the other hand cake walks his role filled with Pithamagan type actions. GK Kumar as Highness steals the show with right dosage of acting. The scene where he is disappointed with Arya’s love affair and the comic scenes with Arya are simply brilliant.
Avan Ivan grossly loses the plot in execution. Bala could have concentrated in the screenplay instead of crafting such loveable characters and failing them. Ramakrishnan’s dialogue are crass and doesn’t evoke any laughter. The heroines Janani Iyer (Baby) and Madhu Shalini (Thenmozhi) fall in love with Vishal and Arya at the drop of the hat. I could not understand how Bala who crafted heroine characters like Abhi and Manju came up with such bad characterisations. Comedy doesn’t mean it should be illogical. The saving grace in supporting cast are the likes of Ambica, who just wins over you with her casual acting. Ananth Padmanabhan as the father is a misfit. Yuvan surprisingly had different compositions out of which couple of them are left out. The screenplay doesn’t provide much scope for his background score. Theni looks beautiful through the eyes of Arthur Wilson.
The story doesn’t start until half way through in the second half and when it starts, you can easily guess the climax of the movie. The same old brutal murder, the same old template fight with good triumphing over the evil – and you end up with a big yawn. Bala has to come out of his template picturisations and try something new. It’s painful to see a wonderful writer being spoilt by the commercial commitments and when Surya comes for a cameo to promote his Agaram, you can only sympathise for both of them. What could have been a wonderful movie with two different characters ends up like a crass third rated comedy, something which you don’t expect from a director with so much calibre like Bala.
A 2/5 just for Vishal,Arya and GK Kumar – not worth a watch