Reviews

‘Yennai Arindhaal’ - The Evolved Cop  

Ajith Kumar in gautham Menon's new film, 'Yennai Arindhaal'. Photo: Special Arrangement

Ajith Kumar in gautham Menon's new film, 'Yennai Arindhaal'. Photo: Special Arrangement  

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If Anbuchelvan (in 'Kaakha Kaakha') was a shy cop, Raghavan ('Vettaiyadu Vilayadu') was a romantic. In 'Yennai Arindhaal', Sathyadev is actually a family man who doesn’t make police work his priority.

The final installment of Gautham Vasudev Menon’s cop trilogy,  Yennai Arindhaal, featuring actor Ajith Kumar in the lead, is a much-needed intervention in the Tamil commercial cinema space. It is also the most engaging of the three.

 

While the cop has become a symbol of valour, honesty and integrity in Tamil cinema, he is also expected to (onscreen) conform to accepted societal norms. For instance, can you imagine a tough ‘gay’ cop? Or even a cop who is impotent?

 

Commercial cinema has long privileged the implicitly acknowledged but dominant social conventions and regulations.

 

It is here that Gautham wins as he has reconfigured, albeit not radically, the basic contours of a Tamil cop. Gautham has consistently improved on the character sketch in the last three films.

If Anbuchelvan (in  Kaakha Kaakha) was shy cop, Raghavan (of Vettaiyadu Vilayadu) was a romantic even as he was fiercely assertive. In  Yennai Arindhaal, Sathyadev is actually a family man who doesn’t make police work his priority. In fact, he is ready to give up his career for the sake of his daughter. In this way, the film is at its most powerful when it questions these conventions.

 

Ajith Kumar plays an IPS officer named Sathyadev, who infiltrates an organised crime gang of Victor (Arun Vijay) to eliminate it. This film incorporates the basic features of  Kaakha Kaakha and  Vettaiyadu Vilaiyadu. In all three films, the protagonist, after being forced to deal with the threat to his girl friend/wife from the antagonist, had to fight him.

 

In an industry where male superstars refuse to do characters that even slightly deviates from the social norms, all credit to Gautham Menon (and Ajith for agreeing to do it) for writing a cop, who wants to marry a single, divorced mother and even goes as far as saying, “I don’t want to have anymore kids. Your daughter is mine too. The only issue would be that I would have to run to the pharmacy often.”

 

The pacing and biographical treatment to the film, with added emphasis on how the personal life of a cop often is often a troubled one, provides a film a nice rhythm. The briefly non-linear narrative, however, can make the audience feel incoherent. The film’s central plot then is the tussle between Sathyadev and Victor, the gangster. As they take turns to hurt each other, the film races towards what is expected to be apocalyptic showdown, but disappointingly ends with a whimper.  Yennai Arindhaalis certainly not a procedural social commentary on state of affairs in our society. It is a star-vehicle, packaged in the most effective way. 

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Printable version | Aug 23, 2019 9:01:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/cinema-reviews/yennai-arindhaal-film-review-the-evolved-cop/article6861277.ece

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