Wednesday, October 26, 2011

7ஆம் அறிவு - Tamil Jingoism in top gear

7ஆம்  அறிவு - Tamil Jingoism in top gear

Thanks to my friend Jaya and Shankar,  we got to see the much awaited Tamil movie of the year yesterday. As with any movie with such sky high expectations, there is bound to be divergent opinions and mine is not flattering.

After Gajini became a super dooper hit in Tamil & Hindi, expectations were running high as AR Murugadass, Surya and Hariss Jayaraj teamed up again.  With a open checkbook from Karunanidhi family, 7ஆம்  அறிவு has been shot in exotic locales and in a grand scale. 

First the good stuff..
Udyanidhi Stalin (producer) 'proudly' presents this movie and it shows in the movie.  He has spent lavishly, be it for exotic locales or for outlandish fight sequences.  Besides the open checkbook, producer also seem to have given his prized possession for the film, car.  Udayanidhi's Hummer is the villan's transport in the city.  

The marketing engine of Red Giant has gone all out to hype this movie and if one were to just go by the media buzz, the change in power (from DMK to ADMK) doesn't seemed to have affected this movie at all. 

Suriya (lead actor), as usual has worked hard for this movie and it shows in every frame he appears.  He clearly compensates for  the lack of charisma with his sheer hard work.  He must have worked really hard to get and retain '8 pack abs' all thru the movie.  Suriya has come a long way in the last few years.. well done Suriya.. I applaud your dedication and hard work.

Thanks to AR Murugadass for putting the spotlight on Bodhi Dharman.  I wouldn't have known or read about this 6th century Tamilian if not for this movie.

Fight sequences have been shot on a grand scale and are riveting.  I particularly like the crashing of vehicles and theme in the fight.  I also liked the first fight sequence in a Chinese village.

I liked the elephant ride sequence and the song sequence shot in the busy Ranganathan Street.  Also, several portions of the film have been shot in South Chennai and I personally could relate to some of those.. like IITM, Thiru Vi Ka bridge, Vet clinic, Elliots Beach etc.,

Now the not so good stuff..
Harris Jeyaraj music is just passe.  Expect for a couple of songs, his music score is very average and the background music is jarring in many places.  I expected much more from Harris.

Shruthi Hassan, the famous daughter of a famous actor debuts in this movie as a actor and does a decent job.  But she should have gone for voice over.  She pays glowing tributes to Tamil in a heavily accented delivery which takes the sheen away from the message.  Brush up you Tamil & delivery before you attempt to lend your voice again for Tamil movies.

Plot - AR Murugadass's treatment of the story line is very shallow and weak.  He shows China as attempting to launch a biological war on India but fails to show the motivations for such diabolical war.  Worse, he wants you to believe that it can be handled by a lone scientist with no broader Govt. involvement.  And what will this scientist do? She will do DNA re-sequencing on a living human being.. never mind the fact that it has never done before.

Jingoism - AR Murugadass has put the spotlight on the forgotten Bodhi Dharman, but in the process he has shown the present day China in a poor light. I wonder why?  What was the need for that?  Also, there are factual inaccuracies about 1962 Indo-China war, which India lost badly. 

AR Murugadass shows Tamils as victims in many parts of the world and talks about the துரோஹம் perpetuated on Tamils in Sri Lanka by a group of 9 countries... where is he getting the facts from? 

AR Murugadass also gets very preachy urges Tamils to 'Awake & Arise'.. and that perhaps is the 7ஆம்  அறிவு?

Overall I give ** (out of 5) for this movie.


  1. MR.Ram

    True review write up about this movie,I saw this movie has the same opinion as of you.

    Senthilnathan Palaniswamy

  2. Good review, Vishu...

    Here's my take, and perhaps a slightly differing perspective.

    First, as a fan of Christopher Nolan, I was one of the many that felt outraged by ARM's Ghajini which was 'inspired' by Nolan's Memento...but still I thought he indianized it as well as any of the locals could have...and definitely Ghajini was watchable

    So I was looking forward to this dude's new flick, and must say it ended up being watchable for the most part.

    I did read up on Bodhidharma after the flick and he is credited more with Zen and Buddhism than with Kungfu, but a bit of truth-stretching is OK....on the other hand, the past-to-present linkage was inspired, and yea totally sci-fi'sh - but thats ok too....after all, we have seen Tom Cruise with a fake face in MI-* and loved every bit of it, because of its execution...

    Speaking of execution:
    - though the stunt choreography in china in the beginning was pretty nice, the whole segment of the village, people etc was quite amateurish(c'mon - nicely permed & shampooed straight hair for the kid in 6th century AD??)
    - I thought Surya was OK - not bad, but nothing tremendous either
    - On the other hand, I was hugely impressed by Shruti Hassan's performance...yes her diction could have been better, but then what bowled me over was her conviction of characterization - she played the role wonderfully...this girl has the looks, genes and the legs to last I think
    - Like you, I thought Harris Jayaraj was horrendous (he lost his mojo a long time back, and should really stop)
    - Ravi K Chandran's cinematography was stunning - he is a current legend, and lived up to every penny of his top billing (the shot on the beach at dusk framed by just the headlights of the hummer - just wow)
    - ARM shot some scenes quite well...the scene where the professor is "shown" being killed for example
    - the songs were done for commercial elements as they say, but then again, dont think anyone actually enjoys them - just cant figure why they use song sequences to intrude into a story and screenplay that hums, with or without logic
    - the whole tamil thing was too much, sorry....he came off too preachy and artificial...i am a tamil guy who likes & appreciates my culture and heritage, but it was just too much over-the-top jingoism as you stated

    Overall, I felt the movie actually had a storyline right from the beginning, and was enjoyable as an action flick....definitely recommend it as 'worth a watch', 3.5/5 stars...

  3. Thanks for the review...yet to see the movie

  4. Ram,

    Good review. I did watch the movie and thought exactly like what you thought. Not sure where he got the facts 'DROGHAM' from.....
    Again, I did feel some hidden messages are being passed on to 'Arise & Awake' not against anyone else but against the existing regime in TN.
    Again, ARMs immaturity has shown as you have rightly said by showing China in poor light, which is totally unwarranted for and provocative again.
    Hope people don't take all the stupid things which ARM is trying to implant in the mind of youth.
    Overall, I did not find the movie fascinating and that's purely because, I had some expectation but the movie did not meet the expectation.
    Shruthi looks good only so long as she keeps her mouth shut. The moment she opens her mouth, her accented Tamil comes out.
    Further, her facial expression has been standard throughout the movie. Find it hard to believe that she is 'Kamala Haasan's ' daughter.