Vikram the animal, the masala hero, the romantic hero, the aggressive hero... you could go on and on about the unique and interesting roles that Actor Vikram has played so far.. Well with "Arul,".. it's Vikram "the rehash of Saamy, Dhool, Dhill, Gemini, Padaiyappa, Baadshaa and on and on." Vikram tries his best to shoulder the humungous weight of a dragging screenplay and an extraordinary running time of 2.5 hours, but loses interest and focus at intermission. I don't blame him, I would too! :-)
Vikram plays a factory worker, who has given up his previous profession as a goldsmith, after his father badmouths him. You see, our hero just can't stand anyone using insulting or demeaning words at him or at someone he knows. As the catch-phrase drivel continues, he says "Anniyaayam panna Aandavanukku pidikkaadhu. Asingamaa pesinaa Arulukku pidikkadhu.." and of course, "Ennai Paarthu Sollu, en Kannai paarthu sollu"... Within the first half of the film, as a viewer, you have probably figured out that Hari has created a "lament tale" of how he would have been a great director for a Rajini film (Mind you, a chance he did not get! Don't think he will get it if he makes more Aruls). With Rajini-esque style, stature, dialogues, catchprases and a gazzillion people showing up behind Vikram's back to support him.. it's difficult not to question Vikram's decision to act in this film. After 70 odd years of movie making, it is quite puzzling, how Tamil directors still deliver the-father-constantly-complaining-and-hurting-his-son's-feelings-for-being-"a-good-for-nothing," and ultimately, the son makes him so proud in the end and so on. Whatever has transformed Vikram into a huge 'box office draw,' Director Hari vanquishes in this film. Luckily, it appears that Vikram will survive (as he had with flops like "Samurai," "King," "Kaadhal Sadugudu") as he is already involved in Director Shankar's "Anniyan."
Jyothika is slim, pretty and overall, looks like a million bucks, especially in the song sequences. Her facial expressions and ease in acting hold testament to the maturity that she has reached in the last year or so. Her diet and excercise plan also seems to have worked well. Welcome back, Jothika!
Vadivelu as the "silversmith" with a potti shop facing Vikram's home, raises a few laughs whenever he has company from Vikram, K.S.Ravikumar or Gayathri (the "super ten" girl, hope I got her name right!). K.S.Ravikumar and Saranya, as the loud-mouthing, brash-talking, aggressive couple are a delight to watch. Saranya simply excels in her comic Oppaari... truly one a kind. If you have wondered, why I haven't told you about the story yet, well, there is nothing much to tell. The film is on a similar wavelength as "Thamizh," where the innocent yet aggressive bystander is dragged into gore, violence and political mindgames. What Vikram brings to the package, is just his strong "super-hero" image. Unfortunately, Arul might not cash in as expected.
This is full meals for Vikram fans and for those who aspire to see Vikram become the next "Rajini." For the average viewer, "Arul" is long, stale, tedious and drab.
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