Aayitha Ezhuthu
[Pic : akkthefilm.com]

This is a long biased post. I have unbiased reasons to write it. Aayitha Ezhuthu which scores a century with today, has been one of the most expected movies of this summer.

It’s unfortunate that since Aayitha Ezhuthu’s release, it hasn’t created any kind of serious criticisms or analysis. Seems like both the media and the public have ignored completely it by not having an opinion on it. Forget creating waves of criticism it hasn’t even created ripples at all. A fact that was even true for Mani Ratnam‘s Iruvar. With Iruvar’s release there was a political cloud and that might have kept the public away from the theatre. But Aayitha Ezhuthu, though politically inclined, has also had elements of Mani Ratnam’s commercial brilliance. We aren’t talking about the usual cinema review of the media. It is about an analysis on the social, political impact that they movie represents and above all the spectrum of today’s youth it portrays.

Movies like Virumandi, Kannathil Muthamittal have been seriously argued even in the most commercial magazines. Aayitha Ezhuthu, I personally feel, has been shunned completely except just one or two magazines which analyzed it. Now, if you might feel why should a movie be analyzed or discussed seriously. Aayitha Ezhuthu represents a cross-section of the society. It doesn’t advocate or preach a theory, rather, subtly wishes political awareness among the progressive youth. The movie has been experimented in a form that’s tough for a normal cine-goer to grasp. But it is the media that should have encouraged the movie and should have given it five stars for the excellence in cinema that it brought along. While all this is an earnest longing to happen for any good film, here are my silly/serious/semi-serious reasons in Aayitha Ezhuthu to get five stars.

These are some sparks of brilliance, though silly they may sound, they carry forward Aayitha Ezhuthu and it’s theme. As they say, a film is all about teamwork. These five stars are named straight to the particular person who excelled though they are actually awarded to Mani Ratnam and his complete crew of Aayitha Ezhuthu.

Sujatha / Mani Ratnam
- Maddy cribbing to Sriman in the truck, Oru 50 milli sarayathukkaga saaraya kadayaye vaanga kudathu.
- Enna Autographa, Madhavan responding to the policeman while he signs the release register in prison.
- Vote for Inba Sekhar. The shot that subtly/obviously hints Inba Sekhar’s desire for power.
- Surya holding DNA responsible for even a headache.
- That amazing conversation of Bharathiraja – Surya in the university when b’raja tries to brainstorm Surya to rush away out of politics. Surya respoinding – Neenga mattum evalavu naal kashtapaduveenga, Naangalum varom.
- Glimpses of Michael Vasant’s genius in prison where he conveys universe isn’t made of infinetly dense matter. Though this is just a hint, it conveys the genius in him, helping the movie to move ahead. It’s a make-believe to make Surya’s character seen as a hipster. Yet another similar shot where he quickly talks about hormones and showing his disbelief towards the institution of marriage.
- Sidharth’s flirt dialogue with Trisha in the Coffee day. One of the most revealing dialogues of the SMS cultured modern day yuppie youth. Sidharth : Naappathi Rendra, Trisha : Ah !! Yaar Andha Arrai, Sidharth : Neenga Thaan, Trisha – Thoda and the following dialogue as to how Sidharth wants to make his life thereon.
- Sidharath saying Indha Pakkam Oru Vellakaari, Andha Pakkam Oru Karuppi, Naduvula Nala Venba Project. This is one is straight from Sujatha. It is his cute way of unleasing the mindset of the character.
- Surya talking amidst students in his house, Naama Poi Software ezhuthuvom, Coco-Cola vippom, aana inga endha poruppum eduthukka mattom, iIla.
- The amazing one-liner Surya tells the TV correspondent, Century Adikanumna Kooda Singlela irundhu thaan aarambikanum.
- Surya banging Madhavan’s head on the Napier Bridge, and telling him, Nee enga ethiri illa. Un Azhukku Arasiyal. Atha Naanga Maathaporom. Showing the clarity of Michael Vasant’s thinking which eliminates the sub-causes and going in for to rectify the root cause of the issue.

A R Rahman / Vairamuthu
- The theme of Aayitha Ezhuthu, though not a part of the album. That music that starts with a single bang and continues as a harmony.
- That fabulous techno music background during titles along with the sounds of buses and cars moving around
- The nice bit song, Nee Mazhai, when Sidharth and Trisha travel in pallavan bus, a variant of Hey Goodbye Nanba
- Fanah. Completely classy. Great contribution of Vairamuthu.
- Aayiram Elainargal Thunindhu Vittal, Aayutham ethuvum thevai illai. Lyrics by Vairamuthu.
- Nicely orchestrated Hey Goodbye Nanba, especially the jazz piano slowly playing at the back
- A classy re-recording throughout the movie, not to mention the final climax and techno feel music at the back, similar to the titles.

Mani Ratnam
- For the characterization of Surya as a progressive youth. Unaffected towards his goals by the elements that hinder. Even in the final scenes he carries himself while his friends dupe that they have lost in the elections.
- The characterization of Madhvan. Fabulously observed from the streets of chennai.
- The amazing sketch of modern day yuppies, the easy accessibility and the kind of escapist attitudes thats prevalent among them.
- The distinction he chose to make in the final scenes when a chudhidhar and a couple of jeans walk into the assembly.
- Surya, not uttering even a single word and just quietly, slowly pushing bharathiraja away and making his walk into the assembly, telling that he is unaffected. One shot for the entire movie that talks.
- For the amazing format, the movie was taken.

Team
- Surya for getting into the skin of Michael Vasant. That very derisive smile he does to Bharathiraja when they meet.
- Madhavan’s hysterical dance for Dol Dol song in the boat.
- Trisha mimicking to her friends about Sidharth when he calls.
- Sidharth and Trish for the very cute Wow…..wow.. long interlude in Hey Goodbye Nanba.
- The incredible co-ordination of everyone for Hey Goodbye Nanba.
- The well done climax scenes on Napier Bridge. Superb re-recording, editing, amazing steady cam shots and every other thing done to those shots.

These are just the positives of Aayitha Ezhuthu. The list of minuses are comfortably forgotten to meet the idea of the post. And if any of these points, provoke you in some way to like or dislike the movie, or even if it prompts you to watch the movie, the idea of the post is met. As Surya says in the movie, Century Adikanumna Kooda Singlela irundhu thaan aarambikanum. Aayitha Ezhuthu’s century today is one of such a single run towards good cinema. Yep, Aayitha Ezhuthu One (in a) hundred. Three Cheers, Aayitha Ezhuthu.

23 Responses


  1. You watched it again? :-)

    Kumaraguru | August 29th, 2004 - 7:17 pm

  2. ;-) Not really KG. I’ve been actually waiting for a long time thinking of this post. But yes, I had seen it a couple of time since the firstday firstshow.

    My only concern people actually didn’t have an opinion on the film.

    Lazy Geek | August 29th, 2004 - 10:17 pm

  3. Lazy..
    U wrote abt the pros of the movie..what abt the cons(esha)?I’d like to hear that too!!
    am sure Maniratnam would giveya a call to say thanks if he reads this well analyzed stuff!
    Good one.
    -Raapi

    Raapi | August 29th, 2004 - 10:19 pm

  4. I guess tamil cinema isnt ready for moveis of this sort, I for one thoroughly enjoyed it. Its sad, since there was a time when movies of this sort would actually do well in the theatres.

    Sujay | August 29th, 2004 - 10:24 pm

  5. I must say I didnt find this movie all that great-btw, does Sun Tv or its affiliate KTv have some personal anger towards A.E ? The movie is rated way down in the Count Down and I hardly get to see the songs on KTv.Ive been wanting so much to see the songs of A.E on Tv esp Fanah and Hey,GoodBye Nanba

    Priya | August 30th, 2004 - 3:08 am

  6. well I really started paying attention o the songs after your blog and that of Andnad’s about the meaning of ‘Fanaah”. I really enjoyed it after that. so thanks guys.

    Oh and there is yet another tamil slang from my mom’s generation .sounds like “fanaal…” means total cup scene. Goes with the urdu meaning of destruction. I need to research that.

    Tilo | August 30th, 2004 - 4:45 am

  7. Priya, You got the first half the issue. The publicity for AE has been ragged in all the channels.

    Lazy Geek | August 30th, 2004 - 11:27 am

  8. Great review and a good follow up. I got ur url once when I was searching for the word “Fanah”, from then I am a frequent visitor to ur blog page just to be in touch with whats happening in Chennai :-) and I am in Pune right now.

    Manoj | August 30th, 2004 - 12:36 pm

  9. 100 days where ? In Chennai ? I don’t know how far these media reports about the movie being a flop in smaller towns is true. The movie reviewer on Sun TV has been almost running a campaign again AE. Madan was +ve though.

    I liked it and have watched it twice, might watch it a third time.

    En Pointsu :

    *Very slick overall – Mani and team rule, period. There is no-one in over-hyped Bollywood or more-intellectual than thou Mallu or Bong movies to match him, when it comes to combining Masala with slight cross-over themes in a slick package.
    *Yuva is not as good as AE – Frankly I think Mani Ratnam should stop dabbling in Hindi and stick to stuff he knows best.
    *Bharati Raja was outstanding – why does it take a Mani Ratnam to discover him ? The guy can do more than the “En Iniya Thamizhl Makkaley …” stuff.
    * Goodbye Nanba song – Superbly shot and Mani Ratnam even got Trisha to act ! I am not trying to take credit away from her. Truly memorable – the on screen chemistry between Trisha and Sidharth in this particular song.
    * Fana dance – Well, Trisha can’t dance ! Long shots of Sidharth on the dance floor not all that good.
    *Before going to the movie I couldn’t imagine Madhavan in Inba’s role – Boy, I was wrong ! Again hats-off to Mani – reaonably talented people seem to be putty in his hands, and he motivates them to raise their acting to an altogether different level. But his costumes were a bit off – but maybe it is because we need to see rowdies in sleeveless maroon colored banians and jeans to get used to it ;-)
    * I found the background score for the fights to be extremely jarring, esp the first fight with Surya in the Univ canteen. But it did have the desired effect.
    *Dialogue is good for the most part, except when Inba uses words like “Position”. Also liked the touch of realism in Bharati Raja’s dialogues. Sujatha has not hesitated to be crude where necessary.
    * Overall Mani proves himself to be the master again, though his taste is slightly more urban than what an average audience would like. Full marks to the kick-ass team of Vairamuthu, Sabu Cyril,ARR, Camera, etc. But then the urban audience is growing in number and spending power. That might enable MR to make the kind of movies that he is really good at without any compromises. In fact AE might be the first one in that series, hopefully.

    Rams | August 30th, 2004 - 1:29 pm

  10. Thanks Raapi and Tilo.

    Rams, good summary and yes, the movie has crossed 100 days in chennai. though to be frank they were just 1 show per day in two thatres.

    Lazy Geek | August 30th, 2004 - 2:12 pm

  11. Yeh,yet another Manoj here..OK

    A good follow up Lazy,actually i catched the movie in its final special show on Saturday at Studio-5.This time i was able to enjoy it a bit more than the first time,that’s Mani for you,and am glad to see a write-up on the movie coinciding my watching it second time.

    Manoj -Old | August 30th, 2004 - 6:38 pm

  12. Catch the downside of AE in my blog!!

    http://extrospectrivia.blogspot.com/ 2004_06_01_extrospectrivia_archive.html#108645851079386990

    It’s the second post in the page.

    Btw, I clarify that I am a major Mani fan. Just that there were a few blotches here and there in the otherwise slick flick.

    Vijay | August 30th, 2004 - 7:54 pm

  13. vijay..is this what you call internet blog advertising.lazy has done a wonderful piece of the story here and you divert people elsewhere.
    i think this blog note is for all those who missed the movie or who hated to have an opinion.

    this blog can really go beyond the reach of normal movie viewer. I am blownaway by this analysis especially.

    Rajeev | August 30th, 2004 - 8:06 pm

  14. AE by all means was a good movie. But if one has to compare to the older Mani movies then I’d say it was not that good. When compared to the crap of movies being released now AE stands out.

    dumbs | August 30th, 2004 - 10:01 pm

  15. Was the movie a commercial failure (in Tamil)?

    ram | August 31st, 2004 - 2:01 am

  16. Rajeev,

    AE was a much-talked about movie, in the time before its release. But it has been repeatedly accused of not meeting Maniratnam’s standards.

    I have attempted to detail that mismatch in my blog. And like Lazy says that, “(the movie) hasn’t created any kind of serious criticisms or analysis” – and hence any blog that has done the critique, needs to get the credit – whether through “Internet Blog Advertising” or otherwise.

    Vijay | August 31st, 2004 - 6:13 am

  17. How much money did AE make? Was it a major commerical success? I know it is not a blockbuster. I think a movie-to be a success-should be cohesive from A to Z not just in parts… the whole. The whole needs to ooze that spunk, come together and tell me an interesting story. Yea it was great camera work by RKC. The editing was all right. The music (songs not RR – ARR is a baby when it comes to RR. Ask any Raja fan) was ok. But why didn’t the movie click? You never blame the audience mind you. Never. They pay for it. The truth AE is not an honest, sincere attempt at movie making.
    So, in essence AE was able to titillate a few intelectuals and a good number of wannabe intelectuals. But failed to arouse the imagination of the audience that really mattered. Period. In other words, the movie sucked.
    Aside:
    You know, even in the great Maniratnam’s movies lovers dont smooch. Dont you think he is also just another director that is anxious NOT to piss off the system? I think he couches this obvious impotence by stylizing his work. While Mouna Ragam and Nayagan are exceptions -Flamboyant aberrations? (I love the movies), the rest some how were artificial. Pls don’t over-rate just because you like him.
    Just a personal opinion, needless to add, but hey think about it: we are in short supply of real heroes man (not movie heroes but men that break new ground and lead by example), so we cling on to best of the worst. One eyed man is a cool-ass in the kingdom of the blind.

    Suman | August 31st, 2004 - 4:06 pm

  18. Loved your comments Suman. Thanks for them. However I differ.

    I don’t over-rate anyone. I firmly belive there is nothing like over-rating at all. Just like how Shivaji replied to the question of over-acting, he said , can you define acting to contrast the over-acting.

    Hence, me without defining rating cannot over rate Mani Ratnam. They are relative terms. That which is rated best by no may completely be under-rated for me.

    I indeed said there is a long list of AE mistakes/issues/concerns which were possibly forgotten for this post’s idea.

    These are howeve two opinions of two different cinema lovers. Probably that’s where these cinema’s thrive ;-)

    Lazy Geek | August 31st, 2004 - 5:24 pm

  19. Suman, let me assume that your point of smooching in Mani’s movies with respect to AE comes from the scene where Sid and the girl are kissing madly in the train.
    Agreed that they dont smooch and that this might seem unrealistic.
    But, we also need to remember that this was a couple of kids just out of college – barely 20 or so. It is entirely possible that they do not know to smooch. It is possibly their first brush together. It is typical for first-timers(when they’re in college) to kiss like that and it takes them time to perfect the art.
    I think Mani wanted to portray just that – the wild and ugly passion of two greenhorns, and I felt that scene was very realistic.
    Hell, I was reminded of myself in college, so to say…. {embarassed} thats exactly how I did it…. :d
    Your other points about Mani are beyond the scope of this post and I leave it to other Mani loyalists to take on them….

    Anonymous | September 1st, 2004 - 4:44 am

  20. Was jus’ wondering how no one talked ab’t ‘Amores Perros’. I gotto watch this at the Film Chamber (Thanks to ICAF) and the truth is except for the scene where 3 people are there at a particpoint at a particplace the individual stories are diff from AE. Found AP too long and the truth is AE was a much better movie.
    Also was surprised to see no one mentioned about George Reddy (Gold Medalist, Student leader – Osmania Univ brutally murdered in 70s) was the real life inspiration to Mike. This Mike character is actually a cult.
    Get the feeling that this movie’s gonna age well.

    Vivek | September 9th, 2004 - 7:43 pm

  21. Well.. We can talk and talk about AE again and again Guru..I was fed up with the people pinpointing on all flaws of AE..It is hightime somebody talked about the positives in AE, and it is good time that you did it in LazyGeek.

    I do agree that Sujatha’s dialogues were simply bolts out of the blue sky. I agree with all your mentioned dialogues. The dialogues concerning Surya were simply outstanding. I loved the scene Surya talks with his mother, especially the dialogue “Un Samayalla Than Etho Irukku..Adhu than Engala Anninyatha Eduthu Porada Solluthu”. Similary the scene where he confronts Praveen, and the way the Rowdy takes a backseat”Ippa Ennathanya Panna Sollreenga”. Ditto with Bharathiraja in the college campus, some sort of treasure to be preserved and shown to all dialogue writers of Kollywood.

    And the song “Nee Mazhai..Naan Yezhai” deserves a special mention. The ARR-Vairamuthu Combo had really done a wonderful job in that piece as they did with the bit “En Jeevane” in Madhavan’s direction.

    Also amazing is Surya’s performance as Michael Vasant. It was simply a rocksolid performance. I had admired his performance as a confident youngster in “Mounam Pesiyathe”, but as Michael Vasant, he has given one of the best performances I have ever seen. Not to forget the decisive smile.

    The one thing I would like to add to your blog is Rahman’s amazing handling of BGM in Surya’s portion. His craftiness and timeliness come into fore, as he splits the whole “Jana Gana Mana” song as BGMs. For example the intro scene of Surya starts with the start of Jana Gana Mana, the Neikarampatti scene slowly starts with “Ini Oru Ini Oru Vidhi Seivom” played very mildly in the background, after attacking Praveen in his house “Jana Gana Mana” vocals and come the jail scene “Ayutham Ethu Aanavum Sudhu” bit. It was simply a great score by Rahman for Surya’s part.

    I can go on and on about AEs plusses. However the minuses still cannot be minused(erased). Nevertheless as a Maniratnam movie, I enjoyed watching it 11 times. Looking for more

    Rathnavel | September 26th, 2004 - 9:05 pm

  22. aayitha ezhuthu is a Magnum Opus.

    Mani Ratnam rules!

    Balaji | January 21st, 2005 - 11:11 pm

  23. Guru!
    Good follow up. Why didn’t AE create any ripples?
    1. The striated back and forth narration cannot be blamed IMO. But could have avoided the napier bridge scene coming up again and again.
    2. Is Siddharth character required at all? I dont think so. And many among the audience felt so (I could hear them clearly pal)
    3. Sudden speed in the second half, clearly a result of lag induced by useless siddharth flashback. Thanks to AE, Siddhart can kiss his career in Kollywood good bye!! :-)

    4. Coming to main theme, Actual entry into politics isn’t as easy as shown pal! Remember leela kumari in Madurai, inspite of having a strong political backing from communists, she was murdered in broad daylight! And hitmen in chennai do not do it in mumbai tapori style on napier bridge. They do it pithamagan style buddy. Corner you, shoot you, maim you and then slash you with sickles. They make sure that their mark does not reach hospital alive. They undergo mentoring in Kooli padais for all this. So the depiction is way off mark. So the dangers of joining politics are not clearly shown. The tension that must be between BR and Surya is not there (remember Untouchables, the tension between Al Capone played by De niro and Kevin Costner’s character. In the whole movie they come face to face only in 2 scenes, but the impact was rivetting).

    5. So in my opinion, AE is an uninspired effort by a maestro who is certainly in the downward swing. Maybe he can focus of TV serials along with his over intelligent wife.

    Jaiganesh | February 18th, 2005 - 10:42 am

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