Director Selvaraghavan`s long-awaited "Aayirathil Oruvan", which has been touted as his dream project, is a brave attempt at seeking novelty in the world of Tamil cinema. Breaking away from the shackles of the stereotypes, the director transports us to a whole new world...and we are dumbstruck by the visuals, the packaging and his unique way of storytelling.
The jet-paced first half offers comedy, action, eye-catching songs, stunning visuals and grandeur. However, the film fails to impress as a whole, as it gets diluted in the second half due to the over-ambitious and illogical approach of the director.
In the movie, the government appoints a secret team led by archaeologist Anitha Pandian (Reema) and a military officer Ravi (Azhagamperumal) to track down the missing links after an archaeologist (Pratap Pothen) vanishes into thin air during his mission to discover the lost Chola civilization!
To reach the lost city, Lavanya, the missing archaeologist`s daughter is roped into the mission. A group of labourers led by Muthu (Karthi) helps the team carry their luggage and wade through the tough and inhospitable terrain and face hidden dangers and nature`s fury.
After a tedious expedition, they stumble on the lost Chola king (Parthiban) and his people and find hitherto unheard of and unexplained links between them and the world`s earliest cultures. What follows is a series of bizarre happenings that try to disentangle the whole mystery.
The fight sequence with the tribal folk and the arduous journey through thousands of snakes are some of the best scenes the film has to offer. The minus points are the length of the movie and the grave flaws in the screenplay.
Some questions are bound to come to mind - If the team suffers due to the mystique powers of the Chola dynasty, why couldn`t the kingdom save itself from extinction using the same powers?
The inexplicable `avatar` of Reema as the heir of the Pandian dynasty leaves much to be desired. The three rulers in south India - the Cheras, the Cholas and the Pandyas - are said to have led a civilized life unlike the way depicted by Selvarghavan, who shows them as cannibals. That is a bit too much to digest!
The fantasy element has been stretched too far...the director takes everything for granted in his pursuit to present a `stunning` film.
The cinematography by Ramji is brilliant and G.V. Prakash`s background score and music are good. "Un Mela Aasadhan" sung by Selva`s younger brother and actor Dhanush, Aishwarya Dhanush and Andrea is a rocker.
Reema brings an uninhibited tempo to her role and the director has extracted a fine performance from her. Andrea is likeable and seems to have enjoyed her role. Karthi is lovable and humorous. His MGR-like punch-lines get thunderous applause.
Selvaraghavan is trying to widen the frontiers of commercial cinema and he deserves to be applauded for this. But he has failed to keep up the viewers` interest in the second half, which goes wayward.
"Aayirathil Oruvan" is undoubtedly a different attempt but the second half lets the film down.