Tamil cinema has a history of doling out revenge dramas that have male heroes serving justice of their choice to the victims or survivors of sexual exploitation. The latest addition to that long history is Ariyavan. The film is about a Kabbadi player who undertakes a vigilante mission to rescue and avenge in behalf of women that are subjected to sexual violence by a notorious mafia. Director Mithran R Jawahar has directed the flick. Writer Maariselvan Su has penned the story of the movie. Actors Ishaaon, and Pranali Ghogare have played the lead roles. Actor Daniel Balaji has essayed a pivotal part in the drama. So, how has the action film Ariyavan come out? Will it be a successful film for actors Ishaaon, Pranali Ghogare, and be a memorable movie in the career of director Mithran R Jawahar? To know that let us get into the movie review.
The film follows the life of Jeeva (Ishaaon), a purposeless belligerent young man who claims to be an aspiring Kabbadi player. However, he does not follow that with any dedication. But yep, he has romance in life. That is mandatory you see. He is in a relationship with Nethra (Pranali Ghogare). Things move smoothly until Nethra’s friend Jessi (Nishma Chengappa) lands in a vicious trap set by her nefarious boyfriend Appu, who has videotaped an intimate moment that the couple shared with the intention to coerce her into sex trade. He begins to blackmail her with the video. Jeeva comes to know of this, and is infuriated by it. He takes it upon himself to get justice for Jessi, and chops off Appu’s hand.
As he sets up on his quest to take down Appu, he learns that he is not a random perverted guy. And that he is part of a nexus run by his brother Duraipandi (Daniel Balaji), who has built a business out of getting young men to lure women in the guise of relationship. Tape their intimate moment, blackmail, and push them into sex trade. Learning about what happened to his brother, Duraipandi sends a bunch of his henchmen to kill Jeeva, and those who he holds dear. Will Jeeva be able to safeguard his loved ones, will he withstand the attack from Duraipandi, and put an end to Duraipandi’s sex trafficking ring, is what makes the rest of the flick.
From the precis of Ariyavan what one could infer is that director Mithran R Jawahar’s aim is to construct a strong message to encourage women who are victims of sexual violence to be brave, and come out and take on their perpetrators. Sadly, what unfolds on screen is in no way even closer to this. A subject such as this needs to be approached with a sense of sensitivity. But the treatment is foolhardy and cursory. One other baffling factor is that while atrocities are being unleashed on women the lead pair blissfully go on to their dream location to live out a duet. Then return at their leisure to save people.
Ariyavan fizzles out even before it gets to the fight against bad guys. One of the many reasons being, none of the characters in the plot have a proper characterization. They are as shallow as it can get. To top it all, there are graphically presented gruesome violent acts on victims with their agonizing shriek, and as retaliation the lead character goes on a slaughter spree, until finally the director is convinced that justice is done. Then we head to the climax. By this time, if at all we are awake, and still have at least a fractional attention on the screen, all we get is a slap in the face waking us to reality, asking us to pull ourselves out of misery and head home.
Almost every actor in the movie looks absolutely clueless about what they have signed up for. Actor Ishaaon seems desperate, and tries hard to make an impact as a performer. But he just comes across as a kid in a school level fancy-dress competition trying to look different than the rest of the contenders. Actress Pranali Ghogare’s character does not have much to move the plot. The sad aspect of it is that the actress finds it incredibly difficult to perform even in a next to nothing part. It is heartbreaking to witness such a performer like Daniel Balaji struggle on screen. Not even one of comedian Sathyan’s jokes land well. Literally. Actors Supergood Subramani, Rama, Ravi Venkatraman, Kalki Raja, and Nishma Chengappa achieve the contrary effect to why they were brought on board. The rest of the cast has delivered a middling performance.
On the technical front, music directors James Vasanthan, Ved Shankar, and Giri Nandh’s tracks are uninspiring, and do not last in our memory for long. Even their background music is just the archetypal blaring score. Cinematographer K S Vishnu Shri’s camera work has a repulsive effect on us making things as difficult as possible to sit through the drama. Editor M Thiyagarajan has done a lethargic job. Perhaps, he thought this scale of work is sufficient for a flick like Ariyavan.
On the whole, director Mithran R Jawahar’s Ariyavan is a mediocre revenge drama that ends up being a great yawn fest.