Avan Ivan Movie Review, Rating (3/5)


Film: Avan Ivan
Cast: Arya, Vishal, Madhu Shalini, Janani Iyer, Niveditha, Jaya Prabha, Ambika, Krishna moorthy
Director: Bala
Producer: Kalpathi S Agoram, Kalpathi S Ganesh, Kalpathi S S
Banner: AGS Entertainments
Music: Yuvan Shankar Raja
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Avan Ivan may look good on paper but fails in execution.

After four ventures exploring very different genres, National Award winner director Bala comes with his fifth film: AGS Entertainment's Avan Ivan, where he's tried his hand at more or less full-length comedy. Naturally, the film has generated enormous hype: what with Vishal and Arya coming together for the first time, in an industry notorious for its king-size egos.
Truth be told, the production crew, as usual, does a neat job. Arthur A Wilson's cinematography is slick, especially when capturing the mountainous locales; Suresh Urs's editing serves the purpose, while T Muthuraj's art-work brings the Kamudhikottai Jameen alive. Yuvan's music itself fits the film, even if the background score doesn't elevate itself to brilliance.

The problem, you notice, is that Avan Ivan delivers very little of the things it promises. And it's amplified by the fact that it all begins so well.

This is the tale of two step-brothers who've always been at logger-heads despite sharing a family business, that is, petty thieving. In the mountainous village of Kamudhikkottai, lives Walter Vanangamudi (Vishal), a squint-eyed, effeminate character who can't even open safes without asking for a key (!). His one great passion is acting: he begins the film, in fact, with a fantastic kuthu number.
Then there's Kumbiduren Saami (Arya), so-named, he says, because he wants everyone to respect him the moment they hear his name. With his shorts and sidekick, he's supposed to be the cleverer sibling; able to carry off a con with a slickness denied his softer brother.

Both brothers are loud, brash and wear their hearts on their sleeve -- not a very bad thing.

The stumbling block arrives in the form of writer S Ramakrishnan's dialogues, which aren't that funny, and the crowd, which bursts into spontaneous laughter whenever each brother arrives, soon lapses into a puzzled silence.

Into the melee arrive Thenmozhi (Madhu Shalini) who falls for Kumbiduren Sami and the bouncy Constable Baby (Janani Iyer), who bats her eyelids at Walter -- why, exactly, you don't really know. These aren't the kind of men any self-respecting girl would fall for, especially their behaviour towards their respective women. You keep hoping that there's something in the romance, but there isn't.
There are a few heart-warming moments though: when you're shown that the step-brothers, despite being ready to claw at each other's throats almost every minute, do like each other. The common point of reference is the defunct Jameendar (G M Kumar), who is by far the best thing in the film. Whether he's laughing at Walter's antics, shaking with righteous anger at crimes or shivering with fear at the hands of the villain, the man rules.

Sadly, these moments are few and far between. You're never quite sure what and how Vishal and Arya's characters are supposed to be shaped. You never really feel any affinity towards them. You're not inclined to laugh at their antics, feel for their sorrows and their sudden shifts in character don't gel well at all. The leading men try very hard (Vishal, especially, with his squint), but ultimately can't carry off such flaky roles.

Then there's the villain who appears almost at the fag end, and by then, you already know what his end is going to be.
The much-vaunted Suriya cameo does what it's supposed to do: showcase Vishal's many acting talents. It ends up doing, you feel, the exact opposite.

By contrast, you empathize intensely with the hapless G M Kumar, the beedi-smoking Ambika, the wannabee DSP who's forever running after our heroes and even RK who appears as a shaggy haired man with murder in his heart.

Avan Ivan does have, at its heart, a nice storyline with plenty of comic elements. But director Bala doesn't really capitalize on its strengths, and never pulls you into the story except in parts which is disappointing, as he is among today's trend-setters in Tamil cinema.

Review 2

Director Bala weaves characters and movies out of common people, many of whom may be considered undesirable and avoidable by the general public, e.g. gravedigger, drug peddler, sex worker, cannibal; Bala could keep pulling out these characters from our everyday lives to make movies. In Avan Ivan, it's a light-hearted zamindar, two thieving half-brothers, their foul mouthed moms and an 'everyone knows everyone' countryside.

A sizable chunk of viewers who have experienced Bala’s movies, consider him crude and heartless in creating his shady characters; but the underlying truth is that he has showed time and again on screen that these undesirables too can laugh, love and have hopes and aspirations like anyone else. Bala has been the USP for his movies, but for Avan Ivan, it's also the squint eyed Vishal and the shaggy Arya.

G.M. Kumar plays the dethroned zamindar, who still rides on the pride that his kingdom once owned the lands around him. He cares for his villagers like his own subjects, just as his forefathers did. Half-brothers Walter Vanangamudi (Vishal) and Kumbideran Saamy (Arya) are thieves. That’s right! 'Kumbideran Saamy' is Arya’s pseudonym, which he believes will make the pestering cops refer to him with respect, even if they don’t mean to.

Arya, the younger brother, is an elusive thief with a quick mind, while Vishal is a simpleton who tries his hand at thievery, but with little success. Vishal’s heart lies in plays, acting and dance, which makes him believe he is more of an artist than a thief. Both brothers are the trusted stooges of the zamindar, who lives alone in his humongous bungalow. Though they are seen on each side of the zamindar, the brothers do not see eye to eye, and Arya constantly sniggers at Vishal for his effeminate side.

Bala’s characters are powerful, but in this film, they seem to lack a gripping storyline compared to his earlier movies. Vishal as the gender-confused individual, movingly brings out the man and woman in his character. He also expresses exceptional talent as a reluctant thief, who feels he is better off as a stage performer. Arya as Kumbideran Saamy is witty, assertive and shows no remorse in snubbing his brother, Arya’s coming of age role we can say. Bala always injects an amount of animal into his characters. Vishal’s reptile-like moves and Arya’s baby baboon type movements again prove Bala’s signature style.

Like his earlier movies, the 'undesirable', or in this case the undesirable pair, stands up against a bigger enemy. In Avan Ivan it’s RK, who runs an illegal slaughter house. When the zamindar calls upon the police and animal activists to raid RK’s illegal trade, RK turns against the zamindar, which ultimately pulls Vishal and Arya into the melee.

Vishal, Arya, G.M. Kumar and veteran actress Ambika, as Vishal's foul-mouthed, theft encouraging mother, are the prominent characters. Janani Iyer as Constable Baby has a role to some extent, but Arya's pair Madhu Shalini's portrayal in vague. Bala's signature climax fighting scene that seem like the world is coming to an end have been religiously added. Arthur Wilson shoulders Bala's love for the luscious landscapes of Theni, while Yuvan's music combined with Vishal and Arya's dance numbers are straight out of the streets. Avan Ivan is a good watch, hence Bala has successfully reused his tested formula.

Review 3

Aarya and Vishal starrer Avan Ivan has been released today. The movie, which has attracted the audience with the lead stars' different looks in the film, is set at the backdrop of comedy. As promised, the movie has delivered its best. Read on for the movie review.

Step brothers Walter Vanangamudi (Vishal) Kumbideran Saamy (Aarya) were born in the family of thieves. While Walter could not tread the path of his elders, Dandam Saaru becomes an expert thief. Their mothers quarrel with each other every often, but they remain unite when it comes to attack others. Highness is the zamindar of the village. He keeps advising the family not to force Walter to turn a thief, as has has a lot of acting talent in him.

At this stage, cops take Walter to unlock a locker in a judge's house. But he could not open it. Later, Saamy opens it easily. During the course, While Walter falls in love with a constable (Janani Iyer), Thenmozhi, a college student (Madhu Shalini), traps Saamy. However, situation turns serious when Highness gets illegal cattle transporter, who was taking it to and abattoir, arrested. What happens next form the interesting part of the story.

Vishal, who is known as an action hero, as given his best performance till date. Thanks to Bala for bringing his best out of him. Perhaps for the first time in the south Indian film history, an artiste worked all through the film with a squint eye. His expression of ‘Nava Rasas’ just after the interval is superb and it really needs a standing ovation. Even his expressions in the climax scene are extraordinary. Aarya have done complete justice to his role. Madhushalini and Janani Iyer are adequate. GM Kumar, who played the role of Highness, is to be complimented for his performance.

Arthur A Wilson’s cinematography is good. He has picturised the action scenes and songs well. Editing by Srikara Prasad is adequate. However, a few scenes in the first half could be chopped. Yuvan Shankar Raja has given mass tunes that suit the taste of Tamil audiences. Last but not least, it is Bala, who should be complimented for his efforts in bringing out the film. Like a crusher that squeezes the last drop from a sugar cane, he has literally extracted every drop of talent from Vishal. The screenplay, the narration and the directorial talents are extraordinary.

Watch the film for the expression of ‘Nava Rasas’ just after the interval bang and the climax scene and you will get a feel that it is a 100 per cent paisa vasool. If we are not wrong, the film would definitely bag several awards this year.

Plus Points:

  • Vishal’s performance
  • Background score
  • Few entertaining scenes in the first half

Minus points:
  • Story and screenplay
  • Boring second half
  • Pointless narration

Cast: Vishal, Aarya, Madhu Shalini, Janani Iyer, Ambika and others.
Credits: Cinematography – Arthur A Wilson, Editing – Srikara Prasad, Music – Yuvan Shankar Raja, Dialogues – Sashank, Lyrics – Vennelakanti, Presents – Vikram Krishna, Story, screenplay and direction – Bala.
Banner: GK Film Corporation
Released on: June 17, 2011


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