It’s lazy and amateurish of writers to settle on their epiphanic ideas even before they are put to the test. Somewhere past the terrible opening stretch, and filmmaker Venkat Prabhu’s clumsy acting, you begin to see that this is where writer-director Vignesh Karthick fumbled while fleshing out a cool one-liner into a suitable screenplay; he seems to have settled on just the ideas, ending up making a mediocre film that only worsens with each passing moment.
With alternate reality and time travel as the devices, Vignesh wanted to tell the story of a broken man getting a taste of everything, only for his desire to consume him wholly and throw him into disarray. Teenager Jeeva’s (GV Prakash) life revolves entirely around wooing his school crush Senthazhini (Gouri Kishan). But fate intervenes tragically when his parents die, and Jeeva never manages to express his love to her. Years later, a now-grown-up Jeeva, who is suicidal and depressed, runs into Sethazhini (who has become a popular playback singer) again.
Jeeva is unsuccessful in capturing her attention even now, but thanks to an accident, enters an alternate reality where he’s an Oscar-nominated National Award-winning music director named Arjun... and married to Senthazhini! But contrary to what you’d expect, he struggles to fit into this reality too, and the original reality becomes hell as well.
Given that this whole film is about Jeeva’s quest to “get” Senthazhini, a girl who is unaware of his existence, you’d expect more of a reason to justify why this girl means so much to him after all these years, apart from her being a teenage infatuation. But the narrative that follows tells you how wrong you are to expect any emotional depth or finesse in writing.
It doesn’t help that Adiyae is a film driven by two uni-dimensional characters. Jeeva’s sole objective is to impress the love of his life, and Senthazhini (despite Gouri trying her best) becomes a puppet to the script, doing very little other than falling in love or getting married. Even the experience of Jeeva being transported to another reality ends up revolving only around this relationship!
Yes, Vignesh does have some fun in changing things up in this alternate reality — Chennai (Madras, as the name never changed) has snowfall and e-commerce delivery is done in drones, Venkat Prabhu becomes Gautham Menon directing Vijay in Yohan: Adhyayam Ondru, filmmakers Christopher Nolan and Shankar collaborate to make a movie on Formula One racer Ajith Kumar, ‘Kattipudi Kattipudi Da’ gets a romantic twist…you get the gist — and such creative takes do amuse you, along with RJ Vijay’s comedic timing. But you wonder why we don’t see Jeeva (as Arjun) experience anything else in this futuristic alternate reality other than just Venkat Prabhu’s corny impression of Gautham Menon and Senthazhini showering him with love? Why doesn’t he attempt to learn more about his new self Arjun or the life he had apparently led?
Jeeva never learns the elemental ropes of time-travel/reality-hopping either, despite an exhausting number of opportunities, and it gets infuriating to see this character repeatedly acting like a glitched robot chasing the girl. You start wishing Senthazhini escapes from the clutches of this man-child... and fast.
Considering how the director’s previous film Thittam Irandu managed to create quite a lasting impression beyond all flaws, it’s disappointing to see such writing in a story that doesn’t keep things simple, a screenplay that’s all over the place, and a done-to-dust message. So draining is the experience that an unconvincing resolution becomes the least of your worries in front of a never-ending climax. It’s also annoying how the background score is used to highlight all the melodrama; on the flip side, you wish the soundtrack deserved a better film.
Adiyae is currently running in theatres