7 Aum Arivu (Tamil) (Tamil) - Review

wogma rating: Add to 'must watch' list (?) - For some, the first 20 minutes will be worth the theatre watch.
quick review:

7 Aum Arivu has an interesting concept, one never attempted before in India. Surya and Shruti Haasan are charming and likeable, and the opening of the film, set in the past, is well produced and shot. However, once the film shifts to the present, the writing is plain abysmal. So, in spite of having a lot of things going for it, the film ultimately settles into be being just below average. Murugadoss deserves points for choosing an interesting premise, but seriously needs to hone his writing skills.

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Wogma Review

The opening 20 minutes of Ghajini-director A. R. Murugadoss’s latest offering, the Surya-starrer 7 aum Arivu, made me smile like few other films in the recent past have.

Set just centuries after Christ in ancient India and China, the film opens almost like a documentary on the origins of the Shaolin clan. Ravi K. Chandran’s cinematography in these portions can only be described as stunning. Every grain on the surface of the film stock used seemed to have been milked for whatever it was worth, to produce some exquisite shots, used primarily in montage. How much of it was actually post-production would make an interesting topic for a debate though.

With the arresting visuals, impressive production and VFX, and a unique concept with roots in history, the opening reels of the film laid a promising foundation for a smart, action-packed sci-fi thriller. Thereafter, however, the film nosedives into mediocrity like Ra.One’s second week box-office collections.

Still, I couldn’t shake the first twenty minutes of the film from my head even hours after the screening. That the Tamil film industry is technically at par with and organizationally miles ahead of its Hindi counterpart is no secret. But I couldn’t stop wondering that if the diminutive, almost inconsequential looking Murugadoss could have the vision to execute what I saw in the initial reels of 7 Aum Arivu, what stops the Hindi film industry from doing the same?

Once the film shifts to the present, it begins to meander around pointless songs, embarrasses the scientific community with hare-brained theories about genetic engineering and descends into near-right wing Tamil pride preachiness. Along the way, it also finds time to have Chinese people speak English in an accent that would make people believe that the ‘Britishers’ in Sanjay Khan’s Tipu Sultan were actually from Britain.

If there is anything that all that marginally redeems the film in its entirety, it is Surya. He exudes a charm and genuineness that many Indian viewers are not used to seeing. Add to this the fact that he dances like a dream and is supremely confident doing any kind of action. Surya is, quite simply, a star.

Surprisingly, even Shruti Haasan is a revelation in this film. She looks ethereal in Indian clothes, is extremely camera friendly, and seems to have had absolutely no problem dubbing for herself in Tamil. 7 Aum Arivu will go a long way in erasing memories of her in that disaster named Luck. The man playing Dong Lee, the Chinese villain, also does his bit. He is expectedly good in action and looks menacing enough.

Which brings us back to the basic problem plaguing this, and indeed most films today – the writing. Mediocre at best and downright shoddy at its worst, some of the dialogues are just cringe-worthy. I fail to understand why week after week, audiences get to witness films that could have been, but are not.

While Murugadoss needs to be lauded for selecting such a new subject for a film, his treatment of it needs serious criticism. Understandably, he had to make the film palatable to primarily the Tamil audience. How one wishes though, that commercial pressures would not figure so highly on the list of priorities for Indian filmmakers.

All said and done, I walked away from the cinema hall feeling a tad bit impressed. While they don’t venture too deep into cinematic waters, Tamil filmmakers like Murugadoss and Shankar (Endhiran, Sivaji – The Boss) show hints of a vision that Hindi cinema seems to sorely lack. 7 Aum Arivu, though an overall letdown, is not a complete waste of your time primarily because of this vision.

This review is by guest reviewer Pradeep Menon. Pradeep is a filmmaker and a dreamer. He loves books, rain, winters, tea and his parents. Cinema, however, is the only truth he believes in. He breathes and bleeds film, mostly in hues of saffron, white, green and blue. You can watch his short films at www.youtube.com/cyberpradeep.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: A number of action sequences
  • Language: Clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None
  • Concept: Re-incarnation and bio-terrorism
  • General Look and Feel: Stylized in the initial portions, like any other big budget Indian film thereafter.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 2
  • Story: 3
  • Lead Actors: 4
  • Character Artists: 2
  • Dialogues: 1
  • Screenplay: 1
  • Music Director: 2
  • Lyrics: 2

7 Aum Arivu (Tamil) - Movie Details

7 Aum Arivu (Tamil) - Trailer

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