A Tamil film hero is an interesting study in paradox.
He makes lewd remarks at women he’s not scripted to fall in love with, but with the leading lady, he’d turn into the kindest soul in all of humanity. He treats himself to an item song — you know it as that segment in a ‘masala film’ where women are paraded around as sex objects purely to titillate the audience. But within a span of two-and-a-half-hours, he does an ‘andhar bulty’ (Tamil film parlance for an about turn), and sacrifices his life to protect a woman’s honour.
With Ayogya , these were the least of my concerns. Don’t get me wrong. Vishal plays the quintessential Tamil film hero. His police inspector Karnan is all that you read above, and some more. But of immediate concern to me was, will Vishal be any louder than in his previous films? I wasn’t disappointed.
Ayogya remains faithful to its Telugu original (Temper) for the most part until it doesn’t right at the end. As Karnan, Vishal lives and breathes the corrupt cop but unwarranted exaggeration prevents the character from being truly engaging throughout. The film also has four of the five key elements you’d want to see in a typical commercial film. There are over-the-top fight sequences, an item song, a romance track with a beautiful heroine, and appa, amma, anna sentiment.
- Cast: Vishal, R Parthiepan, Raashi Khanna, Pooja Devariya
- Story line: A corrupt cop turns over a new leaf, and upholds justice when he comes across a brutal rape and murder case
- Director: Venkat Mohan
Where the film deviates from the template is comedy. There’s Yogi Babu, but he is in exactly four shots. Instead, we get Parthiepan, who plays an extension of his character from Naanum Rowdy Dhaan . We’re led to believe he is the primary antagonist throughout the film, but he neither lands a punch nor takes one from the hero. Such an antithetic villain!
Among the elements irrelevant to the plot is Sonia Agarwal, whose brief seems to be, “Find a bunch of microphones, and speak into them”. Perhaps if it was another junior artiste, the role may not have stuck out, but it is Sonia Agarwal, and one wonders about her choice of roles. There are also continuity errors such as Karnan’s preference for singing old Tamil film songs, which he completely forgets to do post intermission.
But isn’t it a masala film? Isn’t it right to leave your logical brain at the ticket counter before you enter the screen?
I agree. There’s no way a random guy, even if he is a police inspector, can walk into a beach side property, and accost a young girl. Even so, there’s no way the same girl would fall in love with this man when he repeats it, and this time, for added pleasure, threatens a family member. That’s suspending logic. But sample this. You’ve been beaten black and blue, and buried alive by the villain’s army of overweight goondas. Now, not only do you make a comeback to the living world in true WWE style (remember the Undertaker’s buried alive wrestling matches from the late ’90s?), you’re walking alright the next day, and the only injury you sustained is a minor bruise on your cheek. Really? Even the mighty Thor would have had a few deep cuts.
But while Tamil filmmakers continue to struggle to deliver the near perfect commercial movie, Ayogya works because it is a true copy of an already successful template.