After his fine performances in Nandhaa (2001), Kaakha Kaakha (2003), Pithamagan (2003), Perazhagan (2004), Ayutha Ezhuthu (2004) and Ghajini (2005), all of which labelled Suriya a fine actor but an actor for the ‘classes’, he attempts playing a typical massy masala hero in Aaru. Of course, his roles in Pithamagan and Mayaavi (2005) played to the galleries but the films were still regarded ‘different’. Aaru has no such pretentious and frankly, this violent bloodbath of an ‘entertainer’, directed by Hari, is an assault on the senses.
Aaru suffers from a typical hackneyed tale of a motherless boy brought up by the villain who uses him for his own selfish purposes till he becomes dispensible and he wants him out of the way. Of course, the hero’s eyes open, after all, he does possess a conscience and a heart of gold, he will have none of it and takes revenge. A film likes this is heavily dependent on treatment and style but Aaru is largely a let down in this department as well. The film is standard, crass commercial fare with regular dosages of action (overdose of the bloody stuff), romance (very weak) and comedy (mostly unfunny).
The screenplay devotes too much time to the jobs Aaru (Suriya) has to do for Vishwanathan (Ashish Vidyarthi) rather than concentrate on his human side or any complex conflicts. This is one of the reasons the film is overfull with action and violence as basically Aaru has to kill and set people in their places for Vishwanathan. And when he has to take revenge, he has to do it by following that very violent path. Deaths, killings, bloodshed are all present and in great abundence. Admittedly, films like this override logic but one still doesn’t know how after his full killing spree and his surrendering to the police, Aaru is a free man at the end of the film. Violence aside, the film has little. Aaru’s romantic track with Mahalakshmi (Trisha) is half-baked, functional at best and needed to be developed better as well.
At best, one can concede the film does create the ambience of slum life in Chennai successfully to a certain extent and has a raw, gritty feel to it. Also, the film has a pace that doesn’t let go. Hari keeps the proceedings moving along and no scene or sequence is dragged on unnecessary, many of them extremely short and straight to the point. However, this is not true taking the comedy track or the last song when Aaru finally declares his love for Mahalakshmi. The film was moving into high gear towards the climax here and the song does nothing but bring the narrative to a grinding halt. One has to say here that one cannot understand the use of the comedy track in most mainstream Tamil cinema. Often, it is little more than an item by itself having no bearing on the story whatsoever.
As an actor even in commercial tripe like this, you don’t really have complaints with Suriya’s act except perhaps wanting to ask him as to why he chose to do an awful film like this. But then one has to concede mass acceptance is a must for every actor and even more so in larger-than-life-star-worshipping Tamil commercial cinema. Not only does Suriya saddle the masala role with ease, he plays it with strong conviction, effortlessly speaking the local Chennai slum Tamil and what’s more, gives it great intensity as he essays the lawless, angry-young-man to perfection but finally to little good as the film does himself and itself in. Trisha has no role really to speak off and consequently makes little impact. The only scene of note her character has is when she manages to get medicines for the injured Aaru without the doctor’s prescription. Just about the only interesting aspect of her character is that rather than trying to reform Aaru, she loves him for what he is – a goonda with a heart! The rest of the cast (Ashish Vidyarthi, Kalabhavan Mani, Aishwarya) ham outrageously and are loud till it hurts. Vadivelu’s comedy track is a big, big intrusion without being really funny.
Technically, one has to commend Priyan’s camerawork. Some of the on-location camerawork amongst the Chennai slums is handled really well but did each and every shot have to have a local train going by? One understands that the area is next to the railway tracks and the odd train passing shot making sense but all the time??? Similarly the region near Thambaram is filled with shots of aircraft taking off. Understood, it is near an airport, Hari Sir! The action scenes are reasonably well choreographed though the odd punch or kick looks obviously fake (a little ironic in a film where otherwise blood flows like water) while VT Vijayan’s sharp editing ensures the film keeps up a frantic pace throughout. If the film still appears to be overlong, its really the script at fault and not the editing. Music is very so-so and frankly one doesn’t recall any song, either composition wise or its picturisation after the film is over.
All in all, Aaru is painful and heachache inducing, Suriya notwithstanding.
Tamil, Action, Drama, Color