Yennai Arindhaal Review
Yennai Arindhaal is a bold attempt by Gautham Menon not giving way to the temptation of pandering to the "Thala" masses. It is especially more difficult when you are down and looking to come back. Kudos to Gautham Menon who has brought out new shades of Ajith's acting chops. Ajith's confidence is amazing as he takes up such challenging roles without hesitation. The narration style is unique and told from first person's point of view as seen from the minds and eyes of a righteous cop. Here is the review of the uncut version.
Story Screenplay and Direction
If you have watched the trailer, you may already have a rough sketch of the story. The story is consistent with the expectations except for a few minor deviations here and there. Gautham explores the inside-out view of a cop. He follows the mindset of a righteous cop as his life goes through rough and better times. Yennai Arindhaal's consistency in style from start to finish requires tremendous amount of discipline from every department involved in production.
Gautham Menon goes all out with his first person narratives and voice-overs we have seen in Kaakha Kaakha and Vinnaithandi Varuvaya. The director also deserves appreciation for adopting a completely different style of making in his third cop episode. The contributions by Sridhar Raghavan and Thiagarajan Kumararaja in the writing department are evident in a number of scenes.
Ajith has completely submitted himself to the director. Ajith convincingly portrays the look of a tough cop, loving dad and a respectable lover. The characterization of Ajith is realistically portrayed with a controlled measure of heroism. Ajith fires on all cylinders in the scenes with his acting and powerful dialogues when he strips down the villain (Ashish Vidyarthi). Ajith proves again that there is no match in Tamil cinema when it comes to mouthing the f** and t**p** words with such deep impact. Gautham has also made Ajith work hard doing real stunts, climbing buildings without any ropes. However, Ajith's acting during some emotional tragic scenes appeared rushed and doesn't evoke the right emotions.
This fresh team of Gautham, Ajith, Harris along with Trisha and Anushka supported by Vivek bring out interesting chemistry between the lead characters on screen. However, the surprise package is Arun Vijay. The movie picks up pace after Arun Vijay re-enters in the second half. There are some scenes between Ajith and Arun Vijay shown in split screen where Arun Vijay completely outscores Ajith when they have a face-off. Arun Vijay successfully portrays a cold-blooded guy, comes across as one of the most powerful villains seen in recent times. Arun Vijay's atheleticism, nimbleness and his dialogues will make you wonder where was he all the while. This is a strong comeback for Arun Vijay and thanks to Gautham for bringing out his potential.
Trisha continues to get better with her looks. One can safely conclude that Trisha is probably looking better than ever before. Trisha is top-notch in "mazhai vara pogudhey" montage song. For some reason, Anushka sports a wig that doesn't fit her face and structure. During the final title card, it is a relief to see her in her natural looks. Anushka helps lighten up the mood of the film with her cheery attitude. Vivek as a cop strikes a balance between comedy and support character. Gautham Menon makes a cameo similar to the one seen in Kaaka Kaaka. He also appears to have voice dubbed for a couple of other insignificant characters. Baby Anishka has charming looks and smile.
Harris Jayaraj's background scores blend better with the story as it progresses. The songs popping abruptly during the first few reels did not help with a smooth take-off during the initial reels. Harris Jayaraj's songs were picturized in a simple and effective manner. The cinematographer Dan Macarthur should be credited for the uniform style throughout. He has not used special lensing or other camera gimmicks to make Ajith look larger than life. The cinematographer with help from art director has strictly avoided the glossy look and opted for the pastel sets/costumes and lighting techniques to show some dark undertones. Majority of the talkie portions are shot in tight close-ups and mid-range shots. This must have helped reduce the effort required for art department and accelerated the shooting pace. Stunt choreography is quick, raw and impressive. Editing in second half helps prop up the momentum. The hand-held fight sequences with fast-cuts become difficult on the eyes sometimes.
The biggest challenge is the first half lacks pace and many scenes were very subtle. The first half ends on a dreary down note. One could tell from the perplexed looks on people's face right during the intermission. The first half is a collage of sequences without a clear sense of purpose. Fortunately, Gautham gets a firm grip on the script right after the interval when the story's pivotal knot is revealed. The dialogues are Manirathnam-esque in the starting reels. The pattern of dialogues are so jumbled that it takes additional fraction of a second to comprehend. The costumes and make-up department have done a great job for Trisha and let down Anushka. Even though the movie's dark and heavy style give a mature look to the movie. This also will prove to be a challenge in bringing the women, family and common audience to theatres.
Bottom-line : Engaging second half redeems the sluggish first half.
Rating: 3.25 / 5