A well executed action sequence in Africa, some well composed songs, a couple of clever touches and even Suriya’s central performance fail to save KV Anand’s Ayan. The unabashadly commercial offering from the prestigious AVM productions, for all the money spent to make it technically polished and slick, ultimately suffers from a weak, thin and thoroughly predictable storyline with standard dosages of comedy, romance and action.
Deva (Suriya) is a post graduate living with his mother (Renuka), who runs a grocery shop. While she wants him to take up a government job and not be like his father who was a petty smuggler, Deva ends up becoming the henchman of Das (Prabhu), who smuggles jewellery and various other items. In the course of time, Deva falls in love with Yamuna (Tamannaah), his friend Chithi’s sister, and also develops strong enmity with Kamlesh (Akashdeep Saigal), who can’t digest the success of Deva-Das combination and is also in the same profession. Subsequently, Kamlesh, in a bid to get rich quick, starts dealing in narcotics, which is against the principles and ethics of the Deva-Das combo. Kamlesh kills Das and it is found out that Chithi was, in fact, Kamlesh’s mole in the Das-Deva gang. All this leads to a bloody confrontation between Deva and Kamlesh…
A film like Ayan should move at a crackling pace, offer edge-of-the-seat excitement, have innovative and explosive action and create interesting plot twists to keep the viewer hooked but the film totally fails here. It is far too typical, fails to involve you and becomes an exercise in drudgery as it goes on and on. Just about the only twist that works is the one involving Chithi. The screenplay is unable to blend all the various ‘masalas’ into a cohesive whole and what’s more, the film shows a lack of firm directorial control over the proceedings as it meanders. The second half drags and the film could well have done without the songs that come in this part of the film as they achieve nothing other than bringing the already faltering narrative to a grinding halt. Considering each one knows who his nemesis is, the final fight to the finish between Suriya and Akashdeep Saigal too comes much too late thus ensuring the film overstretches its running time, which again does nothing for it. The style of revealing events after they’ve happened as a form of explanation works once or twice but begins to pall as it is overused in the film.
The one really well executed portion in the film is the first action sequence involving smuggled diamonds in South Africa. Though a tad long, the sequence is engrossing, thrilling and exciting. Hats off to the action director and Suriya, whom it is said has done the stunts himself. Sadly, none of the other action sequences come anywhere close to this one and are pedestrian otherwise. Some of the African locales have been utilised well-enough but that’s about it.
Coming to the performances, Suriya is reliably efficient enough without really being able to rise above the script this time. He does carry the film on his shoulders and has his moments in the film but the performance is ultimately a standard commercial one and not really in the league of his brilliant work in Kaakha Kaakha (2003), Perazhagan (2004), Ghajini (2005) or especially his previous film, Vaaranam Aayiram (2008), where he was simply outstanding. Prabhu is fine in the role of Suriya’s boss and they share a good on-screen rapport but Tamannaah makes for an insipid heroine. Admittedly, she hardly has any scope in the film and is there just for some eye candy, glamour and songs but she lacks screen presence and neither has she been photgraphed very well in the film. Renuka is so-so as Suriya’s mother while the actor playing the customs officer is fair enough. The biggest disaster in the film is undoubtedly Akashdeep Saigal as the main villain. His is a loud, hammy and simply awful performance that totally sinks the film.
On the technical side, cinematography is average, Harris Jayaraj’s music works for the well-composed Nenje Nenje written by the great Vairamuthu and Vizhi Moodi, rendered wonderfully by Karthik. However, the songs are picturised very ordinarily and the choreography too is not very innovative. In fact, Koena Mitra’s item number is a total non-item to say the least. The background score is non-happening and, in fact, harms the film at times, for instance, killing the final fight sequence between Suriya and Akashdeep Saigal. The editing by Anthony is as usual flashy and obvious but admittedly brings some pace and style to the film even though the length of the film ultimately tells on it. Sound design is loud and yes, obvious.
All in all, worth watching only if one is a die-hard Suriya fan but even he or she should be warned – Ayan is not one of his best films. Not by a mile.
Tamil, Action, Drama, Color