'Arrambam', a one-man aspirational film

Haricharan Pudipeddi

Film: "Arrambam";

Cast: Ajith Kumar, Nayanthara, Arya, Rana Daggubati, Tapsee Pannu, Mahesh Manjrekar, Atul Kulkarni, Suman Ranganathan and Kishore; Director: Vishnuvardhan; Rating: **

Remember how the "Die Hard" series in the fourth and fifth instalment was all about Bruce Willis performing age-defying stunts and entertaining fans of the franchise; likewise Tamil film "Arrambam" is all about Ajith Kumar.

Glorifying actors, already being worshipped as gods, Tamil cinema continues to make films that are aspirational but empty from the inside.

Ajith's "Arrambam" is undoubtedly highly stylish, but otherwise it's just another cliched revenge drama.

Mumbai police receives a tip off about three bombs planted in different parts of the city, ready to explode in about 15 minutes. The anonymous caller happens to be AK aka Ashok Kumar (Ajith), who is on a mission to avenge the death of his close friend.

AK's hit list comprises of some of the most influential names in society, including the home minister played by Mahesh Manjrekar. With the help of his comrades, AK begins eliminating them one by one but everything doesn't pan out the way he had originally planned.

"Arrambam" is not bad but the problem with it is that it lacks creative touch. What I fail to understand or find irritating in most revenge-based dramas is why these films always need to have an emotionally manipulative back story. Why can't they for once try something different?

This is the third time in a row Ajith has played the anti-hero with elan. He is unarguably one of the more stylish actors in the industry and he has proved it time and again.

In "Arrambam", Ajith takes the style quotient a notch further with his new salt and pepper look and leaves his fans in a celebratory mood throughout. But what he doesn't deliver as an actor is variation in his performance.

If you pay close attention, you'll realise that his role is an extension of the one from "Billa", which was also helmed by Vishnuvardhan.

Let's also not forget that the film bears a lot of resemblance to Hollywood flick "Swordfish". If we replace the bank robbery episode in the latter with the mission to eliminate some baddies with the help of a techie to earn some technological leverage, we have "Arrambam".

Director Vishnuvardhan makes it a very stylish outing but he produces a very mediocre movie that reeks of heroism. He also makes the same mistake of compromising on content to do justice to the image of Ajith. He does everything to satisfy hardcore fans of the actor but fails to deliver a film everyone can root for.

Arya and Nayanthara play their respective parts well while Tapsee becomes irksome after a few minutes. Rana plays a decent cameo but talented actors such as Manoj and Atul are completely wasted.

In some scenes we see Manoj mouthing dialogues in Hindi with Tamil translation but we also see him speaking in Tamil in a few instances. Are we supposed to infer that he can speak Tamil whenever he desires? The same is applicable to a few other characters as well.

Yuvan's music is a big letdown as not even a single track is hummable while the background score occasionally reminds one of "Billa".

The cinematography by Om Prakash stands out but editor Sreekar Prasad could have cut it at least fifteen minutes short.

"Arrambam", which works solely on Ajith's charisma, can be watched for some well orchestrated action sequences.

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