Tales of two worlds conceived brilliantly, executed poorly
He’s a director who has tried to push the envelope with each film. He may not have succeeded at times, but the expectation from him has never waned. Selvaraghavan this time ventures into what seems to be his most ambitious project to date, Irandam Ulagam. Brilliantly conceived, the film, however, falls short on execution.
The narration shuttles between two worlds, the real and the alternate. Both Arya and Anushka play dual roles. The real world centres around Madhu and Ramya (Arya, Anushka) with their yes-no dodge. When matters are sorted out, there is a twist, which shatters Madhu. It’s a routine scenario with nothing impressive.
On a parallel track is the alternate world, which understands no finer feeling of love. It includes the king, his general, the latter’s happy-go-lucky son Maruvan, and Varna, a feisty orphan skilled in combat. As she tries to make her place in the male dominated warrior race, she ignores Maruvan who persistently pleads for her attention. Winged monsters attack the race. A rival black-garbed clan tries to kidnap ‘Amma’, their Goddess. Love is all pervading, transcending time and space, goes the concept.
At a point Madhu finds himself transported to the other world. The pairs in the two worlds go through similar situations. Arya has put in a sincere effort, trying to demarcate the two characters, his well toned body used to advantage as Maruvan. Anushka is fiery and spirited as Varna.
The alternate world inhabited by whites (except the lead pair) all speaking fluent Tamil, seems incongruous. It gives the feel of a Tamil-dubbed English film. The acting too is amateurish. Also, the director could have made the behaviour of the characters different in the other world. We feel no sense of empathy and involvement with their plight, not even the ‘love’ effect. And the two worlds converging at a point seems more like crossing of state borders.
But the visuals are striking. Exciting and colourful, they create a magical fairy-tale effect, engaging you for a time. Ramji’s stunning cinematography, and the special effects in some scenes are laudable. Harris Jairaj’s songs are melodious, but could have been better placed.
Irandam Ulagam has an unusual theme. If only it’s execution on screen had matched the brilliance of its concept!