Self Expression Magazine

Avan Ivan: A Few Thoughts...

Posted on the 18 June 2011 by Aravindan Ingersol @iaravindan
  • Not many auteur's in Tamil cinema, I believe, can dictate the terms and conditions on the kind of armor that their fans must wear,as a measure of caution before a movie, to protect them from celluloid shrapnel skewering their equanimity, as BALA. So entering into the theatre, to watch a movie of his is tantamount, metaphorically, to savages (or audiences, as proclaimed to be) witnessing beasts and wild animals thrown to gladiators in an amphitheatre, fighting for death. The modalities of voyeurism, therefore, are worked out beforehand in mind to expect death as the inevitable outcome of this form of entertainment
  • Just when you thought, you had the characters and the general milieu of the Madurai genre movies figured out, after a barrage of them released in recent years, Bala sproutslike anartist from a distant planet, populatinghis art with gray men & women suffused over a social fabric that is not shy of transgressing the contours of morality, which most of us, I presume, may find hard to fathom.
  • The film is non-metrical, very much like his other movies. There are no contraption of events, each triggering the next, to culminate at a climactic point. For the most part, the film traverses along a single fabric revealing its frayed threads, leaving a single knot halfway to make ends meet finally- to let the audience know when to leave the dank room and to carry with them what is popularly known as post-movieimpact. How much of an impact- if there is any such thing-Balahas cast on us at the end of this movie is an open question !
  • Vishal as Walter,a thief by descent and a Kalaignan (artist) by choice, is sketched withimpeccable detail. His feminine physical language, accrued as a result of his longing for his artistic greatness has been interlaced beautifully, yet quite paradoxically, with a dormant beastinside him, brewing to swoop down on the predatorat the mere sight of distress to his family.
  • Arya, trying to enact the Surya of Pithamagan as a scruffy, degenerate thief and his accomplice -a pot bellied 12-year-old-lookingpranskter (understatement perhaps ?)- make for great agent-provocateurs,mocking and irritatingpeople at will;placing bravado above all else and enticing trouble wherever they are. No doubt, these two have carried theburden of humour,for the most part,that Bala was overtly suggesting to enact as the genreof this movie.
  • ¨Highness¨, played by GM Kumar, as a jameendar stripped of all his paternal wealth, looks and plays his part of a spoiled drunk man,without a day job, quite well. Gautham Menon, could perhaps, take cue from the scripting ofthe character Highness- inspiring histwo proteges undergoing mid-life crisis to wreck their life as bad as his- and ponder over on how he could have scripted a similar father inspiring son story, plausibly, in Vaaranam Aayiram
  • There is the sense that Bala, in his directorial career has reached a point, where the curve has started tostraightenout,devoid of any sporadic spikes of the unexpected; like the cuisine of a well established eat out, where any new dish that you are going to experiment is obviously going to be great, but yet made by the same chef within his narrow confines of greatness. There isn't any avant garde plot sequence or genre in his movies, anymore. Thoughi don't think thats a bad thing per se.
  • Vintage Bala is at work here, in Avan Ivan, with his characteristic undercurrent of dark humour, poking fun at evangelists, hugely paid actors and even Rajapakse !
  • But i sensed a great degree of sychophancy in maketing Surya as a philanthropist with a saintly glow. Completelyoff mark and sadly there wasno humility in Suryas defense of the allegations of self-promotion-while-engaging-in-philanthropy, even though his defense sounded close to convincing ButBala stooping lowto promote individual agendas in his movie, despite them being noble, isnot quite expected from him !
  • The fringe characters, like the inspector, the belligerent swear-words-spouting moms of Arya and Vishal, are sketched quite interestingly. Sample this : a newly appointed inspector, a soon to be a D.S.P, invites the criminals-past and present- in town for ´kari soru´ (feast) just to plead and request them to promise, before god, not to sabotage his career aspirations. All this happens in a premise of normality, without any comic overtones; like a group of people assembling to eat in a marriage. It is just that, here,drunk criminals and thugs are hosted to a feast by their very own predator to be. Yeah, only in a distant world, that we are so unaware and yet that is so real, populated with gray men and women by BALA !

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