Initial thoughts on Irandam Ulagam
First of all this not a review. A review is something which is done after carefully observing everything in a movie. It should be of service to the film maker and not be a mere guide to the movie goers whether to watch it or not. Only that will elevate the art. Let us set that aside for some other day. Mine is just an impression of what I thought as I was watching and after watching the movie.
The film started off with Arya telling the tale of love in two different worlds. Usually the characters in a Selvaraghavan film has lots of detailing and have shades of grey. But in this movie he has failed to do so, as it is totally unclear as to who Arya actually is, a mathematics professor or a Surgeon or a social activist. It is also unclear as to whether it is a hospital or a home of disowned people and children. We are constantly being bombarded with the patients acting so jovial with Arya around and he pretty much has free access to everywhere in the hospital, even the operation theatre. Overall, the whole love portion and everything about the first 50-60 minutes of the movie is a bunch of cliches wrapped up together conveniently. Right from the kind hearted lover boy, paralysed father to the extremely witty friend. Heck even the "boy chases-girl ignores-girl falls in love" is there but only with roles reversed.
The other world references are also very cheesy and very very convenient. It also has the share of its own cliches. The kind hearted women who created the world, the evil camp which wants to slay the "Amma" and the trademark "crying foul about women" song. the protagonist is constantly being challenged "hey can you catch the lion" and "Hey can you climb the mountain" and guess what, he effing does it. All this reminded me of when my friends used to ask me to touch my nose with my tongue or some weird tricks with my finger to show I am great.
I wonder why people there, don't respect women but seem to respect Amma, *tada* who is a woman. The creator also seem to be blissfully okay about everything and is so defenseless against puny evil people just like "The King" in a chess game.The motive for taking away "Amma" isn't strong either. Also the use of foreigners seem to be very off putting. I can see why he did that. May be he wanted the other world to be weird or simply he could not afford to travel to exotic locations with a total Indian cast. The whole sequence of rescue back "Amma" seems very amateurishly written and only invokes laughter.
The film's writing is flawed on so many levels that I cant cover all of them in this one post. It seemed like a rough first draft with so many cliches that I just could not bear beyond a point. I can't fathom why a director who gave Aayirathil Oruvan would produce such a bucket load of rubbish in the name of love. AO had its fair share of flaws but it was creatively so mind boggling for me. The graph, the film took from a treasure hunt to a historic fiction still mesmerizes to date! Here is a guy who showed a historic race like Chozhas in such a different way and he gives THIS?
If I HAVE to say some positives, it is very tough to make a movie like this. You can write "The whole cavalry gathered around him and he fought chivalrously" but how do you present it on the screen? It is totally different ball game. I felt the depictions of the other world were very well filmed, my respect goes to the director of cinematography, Mr Ramji. The concept of the film is very new to the Indian film industry or perhaps world cinema.
To my eyes these are just baby steps made by one Mr. Selvaraghavan to a new paradigm. A mother when she see her child walk for the first time, just claps and becomes happy. When it scribble something with a crayon, she encourages by saying "Look what we have! A future artist" But we all know that is not the truth. Selvaraghavan's "Irandam Ulagam" is one such attempt.