The National Award for Best Direction for the year 2009 was won by Bala, and as you may all know, he won it for Naan Kadavul, a morbid portrayal of some of the lesser known characters of our dirty world. It was a spellbinding drama with loads of black comedy and sarcasm and i personally regard it as one of the greatest Indian movies ever made. No kidding.
And after making a rock solid movie such as Naan Kadavul, Bala announced that he was gonna change gears and direct a full blown comedy - Avan Ivan (2011). I wasn't skeptical at all. The kind of talent this man has shown has drawn enough respect to make the audience trust the director's intentions, and i am sure most of you will agree with me here. But alas ! Avan Ivan is so contrived and haphazard that it makes you doubt if it was Bala who was behind the lens. This is by far his worst movie till date and as far as critical success is concerned, his first failure.
Most of the comedy is lame or poorly timed. The script lacks development and the movie wanders aimlessly into a gargantuan mess. The music department has not done its job well either. Yuvan Shankar Raja's discography can do better without the addition of Avan Ivan. A villain pops up from thin air, a college girl falls in love with Arya (just like that!) and the Police never show up when we need them the most, not even at a murder site in full public view ! Vishal's character is the only shining light in the film and the actor manages to save many scenes with his honest expressions. Arya has little to do and comes across as loud and boorish, a stark difference from his fiery role in Naan Kadavul. The female leads do not help the film in any way, though Ambika has some wonderful one-liners to deliver. Applause should also be directed at Highness (GM Kumar), the zamindar who befriends the half-brothers. Only recently, in Aadukalam (2011) this old fella had rendered a wonderful performance.
But largely, Avan Ivan is completely devoid of any real content. There are many moments where the acting is grossly overdone, including Vishal's. The blame rests on Bala, and i will say Bala alone. When you don't know what or where your script is, the actors can't do much. My expectations fizzled out within the first 30 minutes itself and i found myself staring at another Tamil dampener. Bala, of all people has let us down. I wish him better days ahead. For now, its Go Vishal !
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