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Review by : Behindwoods review board
Starring: Pa. Vijay, Meera Jasmine, Remya Nambeesan, Namitha
Direction: Suresh Krishna
Music: Vidyasagar
Production: S. Martin

There are, perhaps, very few movies in the film industry which get talked about most for the seniority and other accomplishments of its scriptwriter. Mostly, all the hype surrounding a film is about its hero and maybe its director. But, now, since it is Kalaignar who is penning a script for the 75th time, all the talk has been about the
CM and his amazing ability to keep writing at his age in spite of having huge responsibilities. Down to the movie!

Ilaingan, set in the mid-19th century tells the story of the struggle of laborers against a feudalistic owner. He believes only in squashing workers under his feet, throwing them a pittance of a salary, mistreating them in every possible way and nipping any signs of resistance in the bud. He creates a generation of downtrodden laborers who are tired, overworked and angry, but unable to react or revolt against years of injustice. Destiny brings a man with courage into their midst. Does he change their fate?

Set very close to the first struggle for independence, Ilaingan is an attempt at recreating a period that is rarely seen in Tamil cinema. It would have made very interesting viewing if the period had been carefully and flawlessly reconstructed inch by inch. Instead, what we get is a half-baked reconstruction which looks authentic in parts and immature in others. A lack of consistency in maintaining the period feel throughout the movie dampens the viewing experience. Regarding the plot; it has got a lot of potential in creating excitement and inspiration in the audience; something that is realized to an extent by the screenplay. The narration firmly follows the central plot right from the start, there are very few detours. That is a good thing; but, being on a serious track throughout gets a bit tiring for the audience going into the second half. Also, there are no major peaks in the proceedings where the excitement levels sharply rise. There is a level of predictability in the course of action being taken by both the antagonist as well as the protagonist. But, there are moments where the director, crew and cast have worked together to create a few breathtaking spectacles.

The department that really seems to have worked overtime for Ilaingan is art. Thotta Tharani and his team have brought out some awe-inspiring sets. The big ship under construction is one of the most magnificent pieces of work seen in Tamil cinema over the last many years. Each and every frame shot around this edifice fills the screen and leaves you stunned. Also, the sheer number of junior artistes used in each of these scenes is awesome. Be it in ship construction or the final rebellion; the number of people involved just amazes you. Suresh Krissna must be commended for coordinating such huge elements shot-by-shot. The camera captures the canvas admirably well, but one cannot detect any consistent tone adopted to give a period feel. Costumes also lack consistency that would have enhanced the authenticity. Dialogues are not in the characteristic Kalaignar mould; he has chosen to go short and sharp this time and it works well. Only the climax portions show the classic Kalaignar lines.

The lead actor Pa. Vijay has done a neat job. The lyricist shows that he has potential to be a full-time actor. He scores especially well in the portions where his job is to inspire a generation of downtrodden people to rise above themselves and be heard; his dialogue delivery at these instances impresses. Heroines Remya Nambeesan and Meera Jasmine have only a few scenes between them where they have done fairly well. Suman looks imposing in the negative garb. Nasser, Khushbu, Ilavarasu etc… bring in their experience to elevate the movie. Vadivelu is hardly there; just a couple or so scenes. Vidyasagar’s tunes are not exceptional but ‘Imai Thoothane’ lingers in your mind.

Ilaingan is a movie that extols the virtues of communism; of workers demanding their rights and fighting for them. A good tight plot which seldom deviates, but is weighed down by a slightly plain graph of narration and a bit incomplete period recreation. It will be a good watch for those who enjoy strong-willed dramas.

Verdict: United we stand!

Tags : Ilaignan, Pa. Vijay, Meera Jasmine, Remya Nambeesan, Namitha, Vidyasagar, Suresh Krishna
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