Ayutha Ezhuthu is a tamil political thriller film written and directed by Mani Ratnam. Like his previous political thriller films, this one features personal relationships set against politics. However, unlike his previous films, this one focuses more on the politics and features not just one relationship, but 3.
Unlike many films, this film is full of well known actors and actresses including Madhavan, Surya, Siddharth and Trisha Krishnan. It’s rare to see so many actors and actresses that are well-known star in the same film. First, let’s talk about Madhavan. The man does a splendid job of portraying a power hungry thug who swings quickly from anger to kindness. The level of emotion that Madhavan delivers is truly astounding and he flexes his acting muscle quite a bit. It’s also refreshing to see him playing a more villainous role that his previous acting gigs. Surya, Siddhart, Trisha Krishnan and Esha Deol both deliver good performances that I will classify as “good enough”. I don’t have anything bad to say about their performances, but I did not see anything that really pushes their performances. Meera Jasmine, who plays the wife of Madhavan’s character, does an impressive job and is able to keep up with Madhavan’s acting. To be honest, these two make a great pair on screen and you can really see the chemistry between them during their performances. The most of the main characters themselves are not 2-dimensional at all. Unfortunately, the villain characters come off as fairly 2-dimensional. They are villains because they want to keep power and money, and that is all there is to them. Madhavan’s and Meera’s characters are both fairly complex. They have a complex relationship between them that both continue to pursue due to various motivations that are shown over the course of the film. Surya’s character also gets some background exposition and his motivations are revealed. Siddharth’s character undergoes the most change from being a selfish young man to being a politically active individual who wants to represent the best interests of other people. Trisha’s character also shows some change during the course of the film as she develops her love for Siddharth’s character. Unfortunately, Esha’s character is a 2-dimensional affair. She plays a girl who loves Surya, but that’s about all that there is to her character. Overall, the acting and character department of this film is fairly solid.
The music is helmed by A.R. Rahman and as usual he delivers. What is particularly interesting about this film is that A.R. Rahman experiments with more Western styles and influences, and I even saw some hints of music from the Electronic genres. Songs such as Dol dol dol and Yakkai Thiri have modern Western styles and make heavy use of electronic sounds. They sound incredibly experimental, especially considering music from Kollywood during the time of the films release. Heck, even now, they still sound quite new and edgy in comparison to most Kollywood music. Janna is a song that is a typical upbeat song and of course there is a melody song there as well. Both songs are solid.
Score: 8.5 / 10
This is one part of the film that I was not blown away by. Don’t get me wrong, I did not find the cinematography bad, but I did not find it astounding either. It did its job and did not get in the way of telling the story. The angles were fine, shots set up nicely and there were no shaky cameras. The song/dance sequences for the various songs in the film also were nothing special. There was nothing really special about any of it.
Score: 6.5 / 10
This is easily one of the strongest parts of the film. We start off with a sequence of events that involve all 3 characters. Surya is giving a ride to his love interest, they have a conversation and he drops her off. Then, Siddharth who is chasing his love interest asks Surya for a ride so he can chase down Trisha’s auto-rickshaw. Then, we see Madhavan’s character having a discussion about how he can’t live with his wife and how he cannot live without his wife. Eventually, the scene culminates into Madhavan shooting with a gun Surya as he is riding his bike. At first the viewer is totally confused about what is happening. Then, we are sent back in time to see how this particular sequence came about. We start with Madhavan’s character’s story and how they relate to this sequence. Then, we see Siddharth’s story and Surya’s story. These flashbacks make up the first half of the story. After the flashbacks, we are brought back to the present where the aftermath of the sequence is dealt with and eventually this leads to the movie’s conclusion. While part of the time, the story is non-linear, it is not confusing at all because it manages to be simple enough that the viewer can understand. The flashbacks are also used to greatly develop the characters. While the story is simple, there are a lot of interesting nuances that the viewer will connect together during the course of the various flashbacks that lead to me having a few “AHA” moments. Arguably, the first half the film is the strongest. The second half of the film is where it starts to falter a little bit as the story becomes a standard young people fighting the old geezers in politics. Thankfully, the second half still remains strong enough to not drag down the movie.
Overall Score: 7.75 / 10