Ariyavan Movie Review: A fractured storyline with forgotten fundamentals
The film employs women-centric issues as a tool of 'socially-conscious' storytelling, but fails ultimately thanks to its flawed execution
The antagonist played by Daniel Balaji runs a racket through which girls are duped under the guise of love and later misused. At one point in Ariyavan, he says, "Women are merely business, money, and products for me." Well, the makers of this confused film, which starts from its direction credits, didn't seem to have more noble intentions. They try to use women-centric issues as a tool to make a 'socially-conscious' film. But Ariyavan comes across as a cropper when trying to discuss these pertinent issues dealing with one gender.
Director: Mithran R Jawahar
Starring: Ishaaon, Prranali, Daniel Balaji, Sathyan, and others
Ariyavan follows the template design needed for a message film that is infused with commercial aspects. It would probably tick all the checklist on list of top masala film producers, at least on paper. But do these elements add up to a wholesome and cohesive story? Well, the answer is sadly a big no.
The story revolves around how the previously mentioned racket targets innocent women, lures them using love, but finally blackmails them with their intimate videos and extracts non-consensual favours. For a film that deals with such a serious topic like this, it is essential that the tone is set within the first 20 minutes. However, Ariyavan chooses to indulge itself in de trop elements for a major time. The first scene shows a woman getting gang-raped in a car parked in a deserted location, aided by the man whom she had just spent an intimate moment with. Shockingly enough, a romantic score is played in the background just before this tragedy is unveiled on the screen. Cut to, we see the typical 'hero' introduction of Jeeva (Ishaaon) who is obviously a kabaddi player just to flex his muscles and this is followed by Sathyan 's unfunny attempt at humour and finally we get the typical trope of an orphan heroine (Prranali) who miraculously rich enough to look after all the children in an orphanage. Oh we also get romance numbers set in drastically extreme terrains, it is either snow-capped mountains or Jaipur palaces.
Ariyavan is a film that lacks finesse in every aspect of filmmaking, aside from the issues in its writing. The background score, especially is jarring, and the customary Aigiri Nandini is thrown in for the ultimate revenge scene of the affected women. A little effort from the music department would have been nice. And in terms of writing, the film barely gives space to explore the heinous racket network. What we get instead is just flashes of lifeless montages.
Ariyavan also suffers from the lack of a female voice and perspective in a story that primarily deals with what women go through in society. The scene where the hero gives a motivating speech to a group of women is particularly bizarre given the venue is a hospital and the women have hardly got out of the trauma triggered by the abuse. Despite the elaborate display of the abuses we barely empathise for the survivors as it is far from realism.
Though the survivors in the story get their redemption towards the very end, nothing could salvage this film that does not have its heart in its right place.