Before I start writing up my thoughts on the movie, let me give a brief on what my expectations were based on the pre-launch claims made by the movie.
The movie raised a lot of expectation with their stills and claims of "never before role" for Surya. The story line claimed to bring back a forgotten hero "Bodhi Dharman". With all these claims and the director Murugadoss'a previous scripts like Ramana.. the expectations were justified.
So, lets see how the movie scored on these expectations.
The 6th century start was quiet thrilling. I basically sat at the edge of the seat hoping to see a mind blowing script all through the movie. The phase at which the 6th century moved was surprising and before I knew it, we were in the present. That was my first disappointment. I still hoped to see a challenging script.
Then comes the routine hero ogling at the heroine shots, nothing unique there. We get to know what the heroine really wants from the hero. Ok I will give this one to them since this was quiet unique for a Indian movie standards, come on, it’s not like she was asking for his sperm to have a test tube baby or something which is technically plausible..
Few rejections and a more than longer crash course of clinical science and DNA, which surprisingly an average circus boy grasps, the heroine gets the go ahead. So, somehow, centuries later, the hero seems to hold 83% of Bodhidharman’s DNA and looks exactly like him.. which is beyond my comprehension on science & DNA.
Mean while, there is a super powerful villain jumping across international borders with a liquid virus, that we are not quite sure how he managed to fly with and the most lamest attempt to spread it through a stray dog. Given that, a shaolin martial arts expert kills half of the city with just mind control?? All that the villain does is turn his head from left to right like a puppy dog and people kill themselves… come on!!!!
And besides, how could mind control give anyone the strength and power to apply martial arts themselves?? I think P C Sarkar does a better mind control than that.. I mean I can understand someone doing a bad version of duck quaking or a chicken laying egg b’coz of mind control.. but a sucker punch…. Mmmmm not so much.. infact, it became kind of boring beyond a point. Personally, I was hoping for some real stunt…
when the villain couldn’t do a mind control on the hero, he calls his master back in shoalin temple on mobile??? Wow, I would say technology wasn’t a strong imprint on monks or in shoalin temples… A shoalin master would never let his disciple use the martial arts for evil and a disciple would never dis-obey his grand master. This could actually be offensive to the world of martial art teachers and students.
And finally, when the forgotten hero is awakened in the hero’s DNA, which in itself doesn’t make much of a sense, how could he not use his mind control to kill the villain.. well I guess they figured stunt has to be there at some point of the movie… how else can one glorify the hero!!!
Besides the obvious weak links in the movie, there were quiet some major ones.
(1) Bodhi Dharman’s history is at most controversial.
(2) The origin and his life has been studied and dis-credited more than once.
(3) There are no records of him being a royal and to why he left india and went to china.
(4) His abilities are described as healing (medical practioner) rather than being a warrior.
(5) He is claimed to have coached Yoga to the Buddhist monks in china to strengthen them. There are records that place strong arguments that the martial arts were developed over this strength and he did not teach the art itself. Which bring a question about his warrior lineage!
(6) The movie accuses the tamils of forgetting a hero and his teaching, which is not justified. Its not like he spent his time spreading his knowledge here.. this was mostly the earliest record of brain drain.
(7) The lack of research in this movie is both disappointing and offensive especially, the scenes where they claim that the Chinese villagers poisoned their present god & that the shoalin master and disciple relationship is superficial.
(8) They kept justifying their decision to let go of research on any of this all through the movie, like saying that bodhi dharman went to china, b’coz he knew of the disease… b’coz he din’t want the disease to come into india.. etc., These were quiet obvious excuses and not justifiable.
Having said all that, the artist performance in the movie wasn’t pleasing either. Surya din’t have much to act as bodhidharman b’coz there wasn’t much of a script to communicate… it was mostly narrative and a few stunts. But the make-up was good. As Aravindan, I believe, the first half of the movie was no different from ayan or any other jumpy love struck hero movies he had done in the past. The second half again, barely had much to act except running most of the time or being sunk into a tank full of fluids and finally a fight. And he seems to enjoy being shirtless in almost all his movies lately. I get it, you exercise and have six packs… but somehow no one is telling him that he is over-doing his exercise and he is starting to look kind of constipated!!
Shruti Hassan, looked pretty all through the movie and unlike the hero she seemed to have had a better role in the movie. However, the change of mind about loving the hero and making a master plan with a lot more weak-links than the movie itself makes her character sway a bit. Her dialogues sounded more matured; however, her facial reactions wouldn’t convey the strength in the words. She still has a good deal to learn.
Other than these two, the villain had most of the scenes but can’t say much there except squinting his eyes. Other few helpers in the movie did their part well.
I would rate the movie as a 3 on 10. This would probably satisfy the audience who look forward to a couple of duet songs, a skinny heroine and hero patronizing scripts, but for more evolved audience, it is quiet a disappointment.
7am arivu,sadly, hoped the audience to have less than average intelligence.