Avan Ivan

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Avan Ivan is a 2011 Tamil comedy-drama film written and directed by Bala, who with this project directs his fifth feature film. The film stars Vishal ,Arya, Janani Iyer and Madhu Shalini in the lead roles where as Surya and Reema Sen playing the Guest role. The cast also includes R.K, Ambika,  Jayapradha, Singampuli, Krishnamoorthy and Anand in the supportnig role . The film, produced by Kalpathi S. Agoram's AGS Entertainment, features music by Yuvan Shankar Raja, cinematography by Arthur A. Wilson and editing by Suresh Urs, released worldwide on June 17, 2011.


Set in backdrops of Theni, Avan Ivan is about the relationship between two boisterously playful half-brothers Walter Vanangamudi (Vishal Krishna) and Kumbudren Saamy (Arya). Both brothers are constantly fighting and try to outdo each other with the encourgament of their mothers. Both mothers are foul mouthed and have a submissive husband (Ananth Vaidyanathan). Walter's mother (Ambika) encourages her son to steal and continue their family tradition and even ironically considers it a godly crime if he does not steal. Walter an asipiring actor (calls himself a Kalaignan) is hopeless at being a criminal in comparison to Kumbudren Samy who rubs his success in Walter and his step mother's face. The Zamindar (G. M. Kumar) who is dearly referred to as 'Highness' by the community takes an affinity towards Saamy and Walter and treats them as his own family. He is constantly encouraging Walter to leave behind his criminal acts and take up acting seriously and to be friendly towards his brother.

Walter is smitten by Police Constable Baby (Janani Iyer) from whom he attempts to steal after being dared by his brother to prove himself. She finds him completely amusing and eventually falls for him and feels that he is not like a normal thief. On several occasions he returns stolen goods from his home and from Kumbudren Samy so that she would not be fired from her job and goes to great lengths to impress her. On the other hand Kumbudren Samy falls for a college student Thenmozhi (Madhu Shalini) who is intimidated by his rough ways at first but she too reciprocates his love later on.

Everything is going all and well for the protagonists until certain issues create trouble for the half-brothers, which are resolved quite easily. For example when the Zamindar is insulted by a police inspector Kumbudren Samy and Walter track him down, puncture the tyres of the police vehicle and bash up all the police travelling in the vehicle. While Walter easily manages to knock them down Kumbudren Samy is not as strong physically and has to be saved by Walter from nearly being killed. When police backup is called Walter tells his brother to run away with his friend while Walter takes the police truck and dumps it in the forest. Kumbudren Samy is caught by the police inspector who knows him well and after acting like he swallowed a blade so he can see Thenmozhi once before going to jail he is rushed to the hospital sees her and fools the entire police force even though Baby is quite suspicious. Kumbudren Samy tries to bribe the doctor to lie but she tells the police constable who only pleads with the him but later gives up and releases him.

Actor Suriya makes a guest appearance as himself who is at the school function to promote educational awareness and his Agaram Foundation. Just as he is about to leave the Zamindar orders him to stay to witness Walter's acting skills. Walter initially tries to do some kicks and fails at singing an English song leading the crowd to Boo and Suriya to try and leave. However this all changes as Walter shows off his depictions of the nine emotions (Navarasas) and impresses everyone. His last act where he cries and is extremely emotional makes everyone cry and even Kubedrem Samy is moved by this. The entire crowd cheers and Suriya comes back onto the stage and congratulates Walter as Kumbedren Samy looks on in astonishment. A drunk Kubredren Samy then reveals to a drunk Zamindar that he actually does love his brother and that all the anger and hate it is just an act. Then enters the villain (R. K.) who illegally smuggles animals to Kerala for meat and is this is found out by the Zamindar and the authorities are informed and he loses his animal farm and is taken by the police amid media fare.

Kumbedren Samy then brings Thenmozhi to the Zamindar's house to introduce them to each other and the Zamindar blesses them. However Walter comes in and identifies Thenmozhi as the Zamindar's enemy's daughter and tells her to leave. Kumbudren Samy pleads with the Zamindar saying that he did not know so the Zamindar tells him to break it off with her to which he refuses and hurts the Zamindar deeply by telling him that he doesn't have a family and no one loves him so he would never understand. The angered Zaminder throws out Kumbudren Samy and Walter as well when he tries to defend his brother. The Zamindar then becomes extremely drunk and is later seen sitting in the rain and both brothers and their family brings him in and all is forgotten and forgiven. The Zamindar even signs over his land to Thenmozhi'a father who was trying to get a hold of the land and organises for their marriage.

The villain who had to face the police raid due to the Zamindar kidnaps the Zamindar and makes him run for his life naked and ends up flogging him inhumanely until he is unconscious. The Zamindar is then hung to death from a tall tree near the river. When the town sees this everyone is astonished, Walter and Kumbudren Samy are devastated and almost collapse with grief. Walter retrieves the Zamindar's body from the tree and then his funeral procession is shown with both brother's dancing madly while very drunk. Kumbudren Samy's face is shown to be extremely scarred and injured. A flashback then shows that he went to fight the smuggler responsible for the Zamindar's death just before the procession but was flogged and beaten severely.

Then another flashback of Walter is shown and it is revealed that Walter managed to bash up the smuggler and his men. Just as the Zamindar's body is about to be burnt it is shown the smuggler responsible for his death has been tied down under the platform with the Zamindar's body and is burnt to death along with the Zamindar. The film ends with both brother's walking along together at peace with each other.

Movie Reviews:

Bala’s highbrow emotional dramas have gained critical acclaims from all ends and actors being a part of such films have felt it as a blissful opportunity that takes them at a jet-speed progression in their career graph. Of course, Sethu, Nanda, Pithamaghan and Naan Kadavul have been the ample evidences that gave a major break for the actors Vikram, Suriya and Arya. Naturally, the surprising look of Vishal as a squint-eyed lad made it clear that the actor is one to go through the process this time and so is Arya, who has already experienced the Midas-touch of Bala with Naan Kadavul.

In Avan Ivan, Bala does not go far from his usual paradigm as he sticks ardently to the formulas of his previous movies. However at the same time, the filmmaker seems to have opted for a slightly different climax from his previous movies.

Set in backdrops of Theni, Avan Ivan is about the relationship between two boisterously playful half-brothers Walter (Vishal) and Kumbudren Saamy (Arya) who are like poles apart constantly involved in nagging but are still fond of each other, and a Zamindar (GM Kumar).

Although we have the signature as ‘A Film By Bala’ during final credits, it’s worth mentioning that the film completely belongs to Vishal. His power-packed performance leaves us astonished. Thanks to Bala for travelling into unknown territories of Vishal’s panorama. The actor is in stark contrast from his previous films and if you’re curiously looking out for his best shots, it starts right from his introduction song, where he shakes his legs dressed up like a woman. But the ultimate master-stroke is where he exhibits Navarasas on the podium as he walks away carrying great appreciations for nine different facial expressions.

Not to miss his breathtaking action sequences, it is much evident that he must have gone through toilsome moments for these sequences. Unlike Vishal, Arya doesn’t have much scope over performance, but manages to remain under spotlights with his rib-tickling comedy tracks and dialogue delivery. His rollicking behaviorism throughout the film and reaction to an unbearable shock during climax are clap-worthy moments. The versatile filmmaker-actor G.M. Kumar as the world-weary Zamindar steals the show with his effortless performance. The scene where he expresses his anger towards Vishal and Arya is a sample. G.M Kumar also joins the list of very few actors who dared to go bare in films.

It’s too ludicrous to see smart girls falling for the unrespectable guys and is so disappointing to have an intellectual filmmaker delineating such characters. Janani Iyer and Madhu Shalini do not have much to do and yesteryear actress Ambika exerts her proficient act as a mom, who smokes beedi and demands her son to save up some liquor for night.

The writing, which lets down the movie big time, turns out to be erroneous, as the screenplay remains vague and directionless. One could literally become puzzled and impatient over the proceeding of the story until a twist that appears only during last 30minutes of the movie.

On the technical front, Arthur Wilson’s cinematography carries rich flavors, and the exotic locations of Theni are a visual treat. Disappointing to see few promising tracks - ‘Avanpathi’ and ‘Oru Malayoram’ missing in the movie. Yuvan’s background score does influence the visuals with violin, veena and strings being well orchestrated.

Overall, Avan Ivan remains as a package of brilliant performances by actors, but stumbles halfway down with its writing.

Courtesy: Behindwoods

Director Bala weaves characters and movies out of common people, many of whom may be considered undesirable and avoidable by the general public, e.g. gravedigger, drug peddler, sex worker, cannibal; Bala could keep pulling out these characters from our everyday lives to make movies. In Avan Ivan, it's a light-hearted zamindar, two thieving half-brothers, their foul mouthed moms and an 'everyone knows everyone' countryside.

A sizable chunk of viewers who have experienced Bala’s movies, consider him crude and heartless in creating his shady characters; but the underlying truth is that he has showed time and again on screen that these undesirables too can laugh, love and have hopes and aspirations like anyone else. Bala has been the USP for his movies, but for Avan Ivan, it's also the squint eyed Vishal and the shaggy Arya.

G.M. Kumar plays the dethroned zamindar, who still rides on the pride that his kingdom once owned the lands around him. He cares for his villagers like his own subjects, just as his forefathers did. Half-brothers Walter Vanangamudi (Vishal) and Kumbideran Saamy (Arya) are thieves. That’s right! 'Kumbideran Saamy' is Arya’s pseudonym, which he believes will make the pestering cops refer to him with respect, even if they don’t mean to.

Arya, the younger brother, is an elusive thief with a quick mind, while Vishal is a simpleton who tries his hand at thievery, but with little success. Vishal’s heart lies in plays, acting and dance, which makes him believe he is more of an artist than a thief. Both brothers are the trusted stooges of the zamindar, who lives alone in his humongous bungalow. Though they are seen on each side of the zamindar, the brothers do not see eye to eye, and Arya constantly sniggers at Vishal for his effeminate side.

Bala’s characters are powerful, but in this film, they seem to lack a gripping storyline compared to his earlier movies. Vishal as the gender-confused individual, movingly brings out the man and woman in his character. He also expresses exceptional talent as a reluctant thief, who feels he is better off as a stage performer. Arya as Kumbideran Saamy is witty, assertive and shows no remorse in snubbing his brother, Arya’s coming of age role we can say. Bala always injects an amount of animal into his characters. Vishal’s reptile-like moves and Arya’s baby baboon type movements again prove Bala’s signature style.

Like his earlier movies, the 'undesirable', or in this case the undesirable pair, stands up against a bigger enemy. In Avan Ivan it’s RK, who runs an illegal slaughter house. When the zamindar calls upon the police and animal activists to raid RK’s illegal trade, RK turns against the zamindar, which ultimately pulls Vishal and Arya into the melee.

Vishal, Arya, G.M. Kumar and veteran actress Ambika, as Vishal's foul-mouthed, theft encouraging mother, are the prominent characters. Janani Iyer as Constable Baby has a role to some extent, but Arya's pair Madhu Shalini's portrayal is vague. Bala's signature climax fighting scene that seem like the world is coming to an end have been religiously added. Arthur Wilson shoulders Bala's love for the luscious landscapes of Theni, while Yuvan's music combined with Vishal and Arya's dance numbers are straight out of the streets. Avan Ivan is a good watch, hence Bala has successfully reused his tested formula. 

Courtesy: Galatta

Bhuvaneshbabu Rameshbabu


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