Diwali is one festival which is looked forward to much gusto & mirth by Tollywood as it believes that the box office will also be metamorphically lit up. As one would expect, almost all of the major stars will inevitably have a movie on this auspicious occasion. This time around, its the much famed Suriya-Muragadoss-Harris Jayaraj combo's latest offering "7am arivu" which has caught the audience's imagination. After having enthralled the audience with "Ghajini", it's quite natural that the masses would settle for nothing less than a blockbuster. But can they live upto the hype???
If we browse through the pages of history, the first thing that strikes us is the undeniable fact as to how instrumental our country has been in contributing to the history of mankind be it science, maths, wealth, culture etc. But unfortunately, we Indians have a mindset that pastures on the other side are greener. Interestingly, Muragadoss has touched upon the topic of Bodhidharma, creator of the renowned Shaolin martial art who was believed to have hailed from the Pallava dynasty in Kanchipuram (6th century) which beyond doubt exhibits the ignorance of many of us.
Bodhidharma (Suriya) renounces his royalty & leads the life of an ascetic before settling down in China. Here, he imparts wisdom regarding medicinal plants and trains them in martial arts till his last breath. Fast forward to the present day, where China is involved in a fierce cold war with India & on the back of which they come up with Operation Red on whose completion they believe will have India on its knees. They entrust the task to Dong Lee (Johnny Tri Nguyen) along with the mission to eliminate the researcher Shubha Srinivasan (Shruti Hasan). So what was Operation Red & why was Shubha's death so necessary for the Chinese???
Muragadoss has come up with two interesting sections within the movie, one dealing with Bodhidharma & the latter on the present day crisis. The first 20 mins which dealt with Bodhidharma was outstanding to say the least & raises the expectations of the audience. But what then follows is a downward slide which finally culminates in a disappointing climax. Though the Operation Red idea was interesting, Muragadoss's attempt to connect the past with the present was whimsical. It might also due to the fact that I am a researcher, due to which I found many of the sequences totally absurd like seeing DNA through a microscope etc.
Coming to performances, Suriya was outstanding as the ascetic exuding calmness & wisdom while his present day avatar didnt have much scope other than flexing his muscles. This is one movie where the villain gets as much screen space as the hero & Johnny totally deserves it for his cold blooded attitude mingled with being drop dead handsome. Shruti Hasan has finally managed to come up with an act which deserves a word of praise after some forgettable movies. As for other aspects, Ravi Chandran's visuals were stunning while Jayaraj's music were hummable but the BGM for the villain left a lot to be desired for.
Verdict: There are no prizes for guessing that the film will garner an outstanding initial owing to the reputation of the crew & impressive promos. However, the loopholes in the script coupled with some repeated sequences such as the mass hypnotism will act as a dampener. In short, there is no harm in giving it a try if you dont pile up your expectations!!!