I don’t know about other reviewers but I also tread on a thin line (mellisana kodu). Either, I like a movie or I don’t. I liked Yennai Arindhaal because it is simple, but a taut cop movie that kept me interested throughout the entire span of the movie. Yennai Arindhaal is not a classic. But it has pushed boundaries in Tamil cinema in more than many ways. I have to admit that I felt the shades of Gautham’s previous cop movies but I felt he deliberately made it in that way (he later accepted it in few interviews) but the movie also had shades of Chathriyan (Director Subhash’s debut with Mani Ratnam’s screenplay).
The best thing about Yennai Arindhaal is that it didn’t try too much. It has a very simple story line completely relying on the deft screenplay and performances. Brilliance of Gautham Menon shines when he consistently refers to the “thin line” philosophy based on which the lead protagonist takes his decisions. If you are a careful movie watcher, you would see the subtle representations of ‘thin line’ in the movie. As the title says, you need to explore Sathyadev more. I have always respected the way he handled his women characters (except for Vinnai Thandi Varuvaya) and Yennai Aridhaal pushes it further more. He breaks the so called tamil film grammar when Sathyadev falls for a single mother. That scene where Sathyadev proposes to Hemanika (Trisha) is a scream.
Yennai Arindhaal differs a lot from normal masala movies. The mature handling of romance, deliberate exclusion of over the top action sequences and most importantly the principal protagonist fails multiple times. The antagonist is so powerful that as an audience you really believe that he might win. That’s what makes the movie a success.
Ajith scorches the screen with his magnificent presence and underplay. Here you have a star who is pushing his boundary to become a better actor. Unlike the other superstars fans, his fans are willing to accept their idol in any role and he is exploiting it to the maximum with roles that break his mass mould. I certainly do know that he will age better than Rajinikanth. On the other hand, Arun Vijay as Victor has finally got his due. Although, he made some brilliant performances in movies like Thadayara Thakka, Yennai Arindhaal will shine new light on this talented performer who just sizzles on screen and matches Ajith in every scene. The supporting cast of Anushka, Vivek, Anikha and Parvathy Nair just make the movie even better. Anushka’s character shows another dimension of Gautham’s women. I thought Anikha had a less speaking role but can’t complain as she could emote well while Vivek’s scenes should have seen the brunt of Anthony’s slice and dice.
Gautham bringing in a new cameraman (Dan Macarthur) has worked wonders because the change of colour tones between the romance and action scenes is interesting. The only blot in the technical part of the movie is the uninspiring background score from Harris Jayaraj. Although repetitive, his Mazhai Vara Poguthey and Unakkena Venum Sollu (both versions) are elevated through Gautham’s picturisation.
As I have mentioned, Yennai Arindhaal is not classic but it gives you lots of reasons to celebrate. Yes, there are logical loop holes in the movie, some blatant mistakes (especially in the organ trading sequences) and it has cliches of Gautham Menon. But it’s a Tamil movie where the actor wants to be an actor and not a star (It’s a shame that I had to write this as a reviewer because our movies are plagued with over the top stardom). It’s a movie in which you also see the rebirth of a talented actor. It’s a movie in which you see a director who wishes to direct honest movies not heeding to the pressures of stardom.
A 3.5/5 and a must watch to Gautham Vasudev Menon’s Yennai Arindhaal. You will come back with a smile in the end. Explore Sathyadev more and you will fall in love with him…
- I am against plagiarism but other directors can take a cue from Gautham on how to handle his female characters.
- I wish Gautham releases the Director’s cut.