Rating: ** 1/2
Has Bala`s Avan Ivan lived up to its expectations? The answer is yes and no.
Avan Ivan has stunning performance by Vishal and an interesting portrayal of the lives of professional thieves. The movie has the potential to be an awesome experience, thanks to director Bala`s choice of the plot and the performances but Bala, the scriptwriter, let us down with a screenplay that is inconsistent and predictable.
Bala`s films are known for their harsh realistic portrayal and Avan Ivan is no exception. He introduces some not-so-familiar living conditions on screen. The protagonist is introduced in dance sequence in which he dances in the disguise of a woman. Bala continues to surprise us by showing a small village near Theni district in Tamil Nadu, full of thieves and an erstwhile zamindar who supports them.
The movie deals with the relationship between two step-brothers Walter (Vishal) and Kumbudren Saamy (Arya). The two have different traits and always try to outsmart each other. But deep down the heart they are fond of each other. Their mothers (Ambica and Jayaprabha), however, are always at loggerheads.
Highness (G.M. Kumar), the erstwhile zamindar, shares a special bond with these people and patronises them with his wealth and clout. In turn, the boys are quite loyal to Highness.
Walter and Saamy fall in love with police constable Baby (Janani Iyer) and college student Thenmozhi (Madhu Shalini) respectively. The girls too develop soft corner for the boys.
It is a routine that the people of the village (especially Walter and Saamy) get into trouble and are then rescued by Highness. The two come forward to do anything for their Highness when he gets into trouble.
The movie moves on with some hilarious scenes involving the thieves, the fight between the two mothers, the funny ways of police, and the strange lifestyle of Highness. Though some of the scenes are enjoyable, the movie fails to sustain the momentum as the story doesn`t move forward. It looks like a redundant affair after a point and hence we get bored.
The turning point comes after a long time in the form of a cattle smuggler (RK), but it is too late and too weak. The crisis brewing over the smuggling incident and the resultant murders are quite predictable.
The emotional scenes involving Highness` death and the revenge fail to make any impactas they fail to rise above the expected lines.
Bala`s intention to give a film with some lighter treatment is appreciable, but scenes look like a compilation of stray incidents that lack credibility or coherence.
The predicament of Walter, who is below par in his chosen profession (theft) and artiste at heart, has been well portrayed. Vishal has given life to this character by his stunning performance. He has dared to come out of his action hero image to proved that he is a fine performer too.
His portrayal of Navarasas (nine types of emotions) is noteworthy.
Arya`s role might pale in comparison with that of vishal`s but he has done well in portraying a man with confidence and sense of humour. He also proves his worth as an actor in some scenes.
G.M. Kumar as Zameendhar is quite impressive. His suffering (without any cloth on his body) in the hands of the smuggler is shocking.
Ambika has rendered a powerful performance while the leading ladies Janani Iyer and Madhu Shalini fail to impress in poorly etched characters.
Surya`s cameo as himself is interesting.
Yuvan Shankar Raja`s background score is effective while his songs do not make much impact. Arthur Wilson`s cinematography deserves special mention. S. Ramakrishnan`s dialogues are humourous and realistic.
Overall Avan Ivan suffers from a sloppy script despite having some fine performances. The lack of balance between Bala`s emphatic portrayal of different kind of life and his effort to provide fun is the major problem of the movie. The fun becomes farce and the seriousness turns out to be ineffective.