Bala’s highbrow emotional dramas have gained critical acclaims from all ends and actors being a part of such films have felt it as a blissful opportunity that takes them at a jet-speed progression in their career graph. Of course, Sethu, Nanda, Pithamaghan and Naan Kadavul have been the ample evidences that gave a major break for the actors Vikram, Suriya and Arya. Naturally, the surprising look of Vishal as a squint-eyed lad made it clear that the actor is one to go through the process this time and so is Arya, who has already experienced the Midas-touch of Bala with Naan Kadavul.
In Avan Ivan, Bala does not go far from his usual paradigm as he sticks ardently to the formulas of his previous movies. However at the same time, the filmmaker seems to have opted for a slightly different climax from his previous movies.
Set in backdrops of Theni, Avan Ivan is about the relationship between two boisterously playful half-brothers Walter (Vishal) and Kumbudren Saamy (Arya) who are like poles apart constantly involved in nagging but are still fond of each other, and a Zamindar (GM Kumar).
Although we have the signature as ‘A Film By Bala’ during final credits, it’s worth mentioning that the film completely belongs to Vishal. His power-packed performance leaves us astonished. Thanks to Bala for travelling into unknown territories of Vishal’s panorama. The actor is in stark contrast from his previous films and if you’re curiously looking out for his best shots, it starts right from his introduction song, where he shakes his legs dressed up like a woman. But the ultimate master-stroke is where he exhibits Navarasas on the podium as he walks away carrying great appreciations for nine different facial expressions. Not to miss his breathtaking action sequences, it is much evident that he must have gone through toilsome moments for these sequences.
Unlike Vishal, Arya doesn’t have much scope over performance, but manages to remain under spotlights with his rib-tickling comedy tracks and dialogue delivery. His rollicking behaviorism throughout the film and reaction to an unbearable shock during climax are clap-worthy moments. The versatile filmmaker-actor G.M. Kumar as the world-weary Zamindar steals the show with his effortless performance. The scene where he expresses his anger towards Vishal and Arya is a sample. G.M Kumar also joins the list of very few actors who dared to go bare in films.
It’s too ludicrous to see smart girls falling for the unrespectable guys and is so disappointing to have an intellectual filmmaker delineating such characters. Janani Iyer and Madhu Shalini do not have much to do and yesteryear actress Ambika exerts her proficient act as a mom, who smokes beedi and demands her son to save up some liquor for night.
The writing, which lets down the movie big time, turns out to be erroneous, as the screenplay remains vague and directionless. One could literally become puzzled and impatient over the proceeding of the story until a twist that appears only during last 30minutes of the movie.
On the technical front, Arthur Wilson’s cinematography carries rich flavors, and the exotic locations of Theni are a visual treat. Disappointing to see few promising tracks - ‘Avanpathi’ and ‘Oru Malayoram’ missing in the movie. Yuvan’s background score does influence the visuals with violin, veena and strings being well orchestrated.
Overall, Avan Ivan remains as a package of brilliant performances by actors, but stumbles halfway down with its writing.
Verdict: Power packed performance, let down by loose screenplay.