DIRECTED BY SUSEENTHIRAN
STARRING: APPUKUTTY, PIRABHAKARAN, ADVAITHA, SOORI, ARULDAS, AZHAGAN TAMIZHMANI, DEVARAJ and SARANYA MOHAN
An end-to-end with ‘Azhagarsamiyin Kuthirai’ and it strikes with conception, its flair imminent. It does not leave the viewer dissatisfied, but it doesn’t bear fruit either and I found myself a foot away from true delight, mouthing an “is that all?” with a curious smile on my face. For after all I thought was in store, the film somehow disappointed me by turning out to be exactly what I expected – in other words, it gave me the worst of let-downs, that of satisfaction. It took me along the route that I would take, instinctive and not predictable, but it still matched mine. At least it didn’t lead me astray with an excuse of ‘getting back on track later’ and I guess I’ll have to be thankful for that.
Yet another stretch of a rubber-band plot where it’s pulled to the extreme that its creases show, with more emphasis on fighting fatigue than driving actual impact. The storyline is spacious though, the playfield expansive with an immense amount of scope for inserts, the actual contributions of screenwriter-director Suseenthiran. The film is in adherence to the usual sketch on superstitious belief and exploitation to match, its quirk being the fact that it doesn’t strive to emphasize. Some of its best moments could thus very well go unnoticed, a fact that makes them a self-assured delight for the attentive viewer – a risky bit of detail since it could pretty much split ‘intelligent’ from the otherwise-usual verdict of “subtle and enchanting.” And that’s double the points for just taking that risk.
All said and done, ‘Azhagarsamiyin Kuthirai’ joins the likes of films as ‘Onbadhu Rubai Nottu’ and even the immensely-acclaimed ‘Paruthiveeran’ in the fact that it shows not as much promise as premise. And quite as much as the above-mentioned films, it also serves to hide its strain behind visible expertise. By that I speak not of their choice of locations or an interesting assemblage of ‘people being people’, but of their actual ‘beacons’. If it was Yuvan Shankar Raja in ‘Paruthiveeran’, it’s the old warhorse this time who’s come around to prove a point, championing a competent cause. It’s amazing how Ilaiyaraaja complements the film with his intelligence, provoking response to match his class. And the effect is spell-binding; near-parasitical.
The film predates on his prowess, but the Hero stands tall. Which is precisely what makes him one.
Needless to say, ‘Azhagarsamiyin Kuthirai’ is still a boring film, with the silver-lining being that it doesn’t complete its task, for it leaves you with a dash of life – it’s a stretch, but not to breaking point. The performances aren’t too great either, but it’s unfair to expect: it’s a question of affordability. And again, I’d have to appreciate the fact that the film actually saw some light, instead of fading out in conception.
This Horse loses its bronze-medal match for this year’s best, with vacant spots for second and third. On top is the obvious construct of a multi-faceted stadium on an ‘Aadukalam’, with this film merely being an interesting exploit with hooves instead of feet. But then I guess it’s the men who matter more.