Saturday, January 07, 2012

Movie Review: 7aam Arivu (Tamil)

I finally have time to blog about the latest Tamil movie I watched couple of weeks ago. This movie I find extremely well done albeit a plot that is a little bit too far fetched.

The movie stars Surya and Shruthi Haasan (daughter of Kamal Haasan), Ashwin Kakumanu (Mankatha fame) and a few others who are probably unheard off.

The story is loosely based on Bodhidharma, the Tamil prince from the Pallava dynasty who travelled to China and established Shaolin Kung Fu.

I have heard of this prince from my father who is hardcore about the roots of Tamilians. He mentioned how the prince had travelled from south India to china with herbs and medicine and how he spread the teaching to the Chinese. That is the reason why Indians use fresh herbs and Chinese use dried herbs because by the time Bodhidharma got to China, it was all dry but the properties of the herbs remained. Now I cannot substantiate this story because it is word of mouth but, the story about Bodhidharma and Shaolin Kung Fu is real and it has been documented. Bodhidharma is known as Damo or Puti Damo in China and various other names in Tibet, Japan, etc.

The First 20 minutes of the movie is set back in circa 400 a.d. And shows how Bodhidharma got to China and how a dark man gets accepted into the Chinese society whom find this dark figure to be a bad omen. He overcomes this by healing a child who was left to die in the cave where Bodhidharma took shelter. The child was left to die due to an unknown disease similar to smallpox; basically they had to isolate the child because she could infect the rest. Bodhidharma then diagnoses the child and finds a cure and brings the child back to the village healthy and people are surprised and treat Bodhidharma as a saint.

The people of the village only saw Bodhidharma as a medicine man but they were in for another treat when the village is attacked by barbarians with axes and machetes. Bodhidharma then sets the south indian martial art "Varma Kalai" on them including the ability to control the 5 elements, hypnosis as well as hand to hand combat.

He then goes on to train the people of the village to defend themselves and this would become Shaolin Kung Fu.

Then the scene goes on to show Bodhidharma aged with a receding hairline being given something to eat by the people of the village. Bodhidharma then finds out it has been poisoned and asks the people why did they do so and they explain that they predict something bad is going to happen and if Bodhidharma is buried in the grounds of the village, they will be spared the calamity. Bodhidharma accepts it and passed on and is shown to be buried in the village.

The story then fast forwards to the present day to a meeting held with high Chinese officials where the Chinese plan to stage a Biological warfare with India. See when I say the plot is a little bit too farfetched, this is what I mean. in the meeting there are several military personnel and this one other character who is called Dong Lee who plays a pivotal role as well. The role is played by Johnny Tri Nguyen who is a prominent stuntman and has done stunts for Spiderman and Collateral to name a few.

In this movie, Dong Lee is a highly skilled assassin who is sent on a mission to India to commence the mission and also kill a girl Subha Srinivasaan (Shruthi Haasan) who is a scientist researching the DNA of Bodhidharma and intends to bring him back to life by means of Genetic Memory whereby she has traced a descendent of Bodhidharma called Aarvind (Surya) who works in a Circus. She had shared a paper she wrote on how this is to be done and the paper had been leaked to the Chinese and they see the re-emergence of a new Bodhidharma as a threat because he can find the cure for the disease because it is the same virus that infected the people in China in 400 a.d.

The story picks up from there. Overall, I thought it was a good movie but they could have done away with the songs. The plot is farfetched but credit is to be given to director A.R.Murugadoss as the way the movie was taken was as good as a Hollywood film. However, I wished the movie should have just continued as the life of Bodhidharma and did not have to bring in the modern plot. I would give this movie a 7/10.

If this movie comes out on Astro first or if it is still playing in the cinema, go watch it. It has a very important message to be delivered in the film and you will understand towards the end of the movie

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