Iraivi FDFS Review -
Karthik Subbaraj after delivering back-to-back path-breaking hits comes out with Iraivi(Goddess). The answer eagerly awaited by fans and Tamil industry is to know whether Iraivi be a hattrick for this most happening director...
Iraivi weaves a web of stories of man-woman and their relationships. Karthik Subbaraj makes an earnest and ambitious attempt to get men to re-think the relationships with their women. It shows a number of situations of egocentric men, often in anger and sometimes in drunken stupor, making rash spur of moment decisions without thinking of ramifications to women in their lives.
Story, Screenplay and Direction
Karthik takes on a different genre of emotion set against an unlikely backdrop of crime and drama. It focused on the lives of women narrated through the point of view of men. The story has 3 lead characters -- Vijay Sethupathy, SJ Surya and Bobby Simha. The story hops from the one lead character's shoulders to another right when you get emotionally invested. The story takes almost an hour in establishing all the characters.
Iraivi is surely not one of Karthik Subbaraj's better screenplays, despite appreciable intentions and boldness. Wish Karthik Subbaraj had worn his short filmmaker hat in telling a tighter story. The director could have structured his screenplay better and crisply edited the initial portions to compact the first hour in almost half the time. The director tries too hard to be symbolic and poetic touch in his narration. Finally, the director finds his groove back as the story begins to flow better in the second hour. As seen in earlier movies, expect the unexpected as characters make quirky decisions and move the story forward with some interesting twists. Karthik Subbaraj's dialogues are top-notch.
Karthik Subbaraj should be appreciated for making bold attempts for the central message he tries to drive home. However, Iraivi doesn't make any attempt at being family friendly with liberal use of curse words, drinking scenes, strong violence, and suggestively shown love-making scenes. SJ Suryah as a director who gets into tiff with the producer who stops the release of his own movie. There are way too many drinking episodes which become tiresome after a point. The execution should have been much better to keep it engaging. For a story that is riding on its characters, the characterization should have been clearer and relate-able.
Casting and Performances
SJ Suryah gets the most screen time among the three lead heroes. Bobby Simha, as SJ Suryah's kid brother, gets more prominence as story totters into second half. Vijay Sethupathi as loyalist to Suryah underplays his role. Kamalini Mukherjee plays SJ Suryah's wife while Anjali plays Vijay Sethupathy's wife. Despite Kamalini's modern outlook, she comes across as confused and indecisive in life matters. Pooja Devariya plays the widow that reminds you of characters one may have seen in many Balachander or Balu Mahendra movies.
Among all these characters, the two actors who score high are SJ Suryah and Anjali. SJ Suryah in final scenes of the movie proves his acting chops. The village-belle Anjali has the strongest character among all (and also the one who steps out in the pouring rain and get drenched). The director also breaks certain stereotypes on what the society typically views as notion of as strong woman through these 3 central characters along with Vadivukarasi, who is in coma throughout the running time. Karunakaran tickles with limited screen-time and Radharavi underplays his part as father.
Karthik has all the right technical elements working together. But, all these elements were mounted on top of an not so steady foundation. Santosh Narayanan's songs do not really get elevated even after watching it with visuals. The background music is good in a few scenes while completely out-of-sync and misplaced at many others. This is arguably Santhosh's least impactful re-recording work till date. Camerawork tries to often get under the character's state of mind with shot angles and duration. The art direction and lighting give a unique feel to the settings and mileu. The editing could have saved the long and drawn out first hour of the movie. At least 3 songs in the movies do not serve much purpose apart from commercial reasons.
To watch Iraivi, you need a lot of patience and complete trust in the director that the ride will be worth it at the end. If you could stay with the director till the end credits, there is definitely some pay-off. But, the investment you need to make for that is not commensurate to the pay-off you will eventually get. The women in the film end up being portrayed as victims of rash decisions made by men rather than showing up as strong 'manidhis', far cry from 'iraivis' as the title suggests.
Rating : 2.75/5