June 01, 2004
We saw the new Mani Ratnam movie Aayitha Ezhuthu last weekend. For various reasons, we ended up watching it on a pirated CD rather than in the theatre, which is where we'd ideally have preferred watching it.
The movie is about the lives of Inba (Madhavan), Michael (Surya) & Arjun (Siddarth) and how their lives change after an event on Napier Bridge. [correct me if I'm wrong, arent Hamilton bridge and Napier bridge the same?]
Inba is a rowdy and he frequently gets to count the bars on account of his various misdeeds. His brother works for the local MLA as a henchman. Inba wants to have a lot of power, like an MLA or any other politician. He beats his wife (Meera Jasmine) and yet she flies home the moment he asks her to come back after any quarrel.
Michael is a sort of genius, a born leader and revolutionary. Even though he has an opportunity to go to the US for higher studies, he refuses the offer. Instead, he wants to clean up the political system by ensuring that the youth get into it. He is prepared to fight well entrenched politicians and their goondas to achieve his goal. Esha Deol plays his love angle and has little to do.
Arjun is a yuppie and has a couple of ambitions - have lots of girlfriends and study & settle in the USA. He is perfectly happy chasing these two dreams. Trisha is the girl he really falls in love with.
When Michael meddles around with things like local elections by visiting a nearby locality and getting one of the women in the area to nominate herself, he makes himself a target of the political establishment. He is firmly a marked man when the woman wins. Movie director Bharathiraja plays the local MLA (or well, some elected representative!). He even tries to meddle around with the college elections but is thwarted by Michael and his supporters. Bharathiraja then gets his henchman's brother Inba to eliminate Michael.
The movie goes into flashback from the moment Inba shoots Michael, describing the events which culminated in the shooting.
Where does Arjun fit into this? What happens to Michael? What about Inba? Does Michael achieve his goal of winning a few seats in the election?
Overall the movie is quite good. The timing of the release could make an impact, with elections just over and quite a few 20-30 somethings having entered Parliament. The basic theme of the movie is to instigate the youth (which is why the movie has also been made in Hindi as Yuva) to enter the political system to clean it up from inside rather than adopt a policy of laissez faire. Surya and Madhavan have done a very good job. Surya has, of late, been doing different types of roles so this movie will be a good addition to his resume. Madhavan's last couple of movies have seen him as a ruffian, so maybe he's getting stereotyped? Siddarth really has nothing to do. Bharathiraja as the villain is reasonably adequate. Watch out for him getting more such roles in future.
You could get confused when the first flashback gets over. We wondered about if the CD had got stuck and it had started playing the movie all over again. Then a few seconds later, having watched so many movies, we figured out that this was the end of the flashback.
Unfortunately, since we saw it on a pirated CD, there were quite a few cuts, including two songs. So remember to watch it on the big screen!
Mani Ratnam is possibly experimenting with a new genre of film making now and could be picking more such themes. In the 1990s he made Roja and Bombay and Kannathil Mutthamitaal a couple of years ago. Obviously he has exhausted conflict & terror related themes.
Labels: movies, review