Tamil Features

Yennai Arindhaal UnReview: Of Superstars and Those Who Make Them

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Yennai Arindhaal Movie StillsGautham Vasudeva Menon is the chronicler of the lush and opulent; of mineral water and cappuccinos; of Carnatic music lessons and designer furniture and simple cotton salwars that cost a fortune. A certain upper middle class sensitivity pervades his movies, even when he doesn’t mean to. It’s his strength and his weakness. This straitjacket.

A hip, sassy Themozhi (Anushkha Shetty) singing Oodha Colour Ribbon to a potential bridegroom is hilarious because it is so unexpected.

Or later on in the movie, when a couple of sentries wish Sathyadev (Ajith Kumar) “Good morning Sir” in the middle of the night. Repeatedly.

When a few thugs run away nervous, a comment on Ajith’s backpack.

This is Gautham Menon with a twist.

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A Thiagarajan Kumararaja twist?

*****

At the multiplex we watch the movie in, I am graciously allocated a corner seat because I am with one ladies. The ladies in question can’t help fawning over how pretty Trisha’s Hemanika looks. The gents can’t help but agree.

Meanwhile, the guy next to us has a running conversation on his cellphone throughout the movie. In chaste Kovai Tamil. While trying to hide the fact that he was in a packed movie theater.

Was it me, or did he not talk when Hemanika was on screen?

A smile here, a few words there. And just like that, Trisha brings Hemanika to life.

*****

This is a filmmaker that is at home writing strong women characters. Independent women who stand on their own. Men are important but not essential to their lives.

Divorcees. Single moms. Women that go by themselves in autos to deliver their babies.

This is a filmmaker that is not at home writing needy, dependent women characters. His Thenmozhi is torn between a career and being needy; she goes from an independent professional at home making corporate presentations to suddenly extolling how handsome Sathyadev is a hundred times a minute in her mind voice.

That we can all hear.

*****

Anushka has bangs. Bangs only belong on Dora the Explorer. Just saying.

Arun Vijay also has bangs.

*****

The plot is wafer thin. A mere excuse to showcase the screenwriting and the characters. An honest cop, part bully and part softie. A beautiful daughter who gives him an excuse to leave everything behind and travel the world. A wife that could have been.

A good looking villain. Whose bangs can’t hide a striking resemblance to his dad.

*****

Parvathy Nair, debuting in Tamil. Such ruthless awesomeness. She fucking nailed it.

Ajith Kumar gets bleeped.

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A lot. Each bleep is cue for loud applause from the audience who lip read choice expletives.

Meanwhile, Isai gets a U/A certificate.

*****

The cellphone guy fixes an appointment with someone at a location half hour away. In five minutes.

*****

Utra Menon’s costuming of Trisha is a treat.

*****

Ajith Kumar – super star – so used to playing unconvincing larger than life roles, puts in his best performance yet. There are but a few hints of his star status – no egregious punchlines, no shots that pan his body, no songs that pay tribute to his prowess.

He appears every bit a star in the movie.

And belongs to Gautham Menon, body and soul.

****

The Yennai Arindhaal UnReview is (also) a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have an advertising relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.

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