S Saraswathi says Aarambam is a stylish and fast-paced action thriller set in the backdrop of the 26/11 Mumbai serial bomb blasts, that is unfortunately let down by its uninspired and mediocre storyline.
Director Vishnuvardhan’s magnum opus Aarambam, starring Ajith Kumar, released in theatres worldwide a couple of days ahead of Diwali, to give it a valuable two-day advantage over the other Diwali releases.
The film opened to packed houses with some theatres even screening 50 shows a day. Expectations are high for this multi-starrer, which boasts of popular stars Arya, Nayanthara and Taapsee Pannu.
The film also features Kishore, Suman Ranganathan, Mahesh Manjrekar, Atul Kulkarni and Telugu actor Rana Daggubati, who makes a special appearance.
Vishnuvardhan’s penchant for repeating his actors seems to extend to his music as well. Yuvan Shankar Raja composes the music yet again.
Unfortunately, this time, the duo fails to create their old magic. Though the songs have been well picturised, neither the lyrics nor the music is memorable, except perhaps the peppy En Fuse Pochu number. Even the background score is average.
The film is set in the backdrop of the 26/11 serial bomb blasts in Mumbai. In the opening shot, Ashok (Ajith) plants bombs in strategic locations around the city.
Though the bombs go off as planned, no one is hurt, as he very helpfully informs the police, who manage to clear the crowds in time.
The scene then shifts to Chennai Airport. Arjun (Arya) is on his way to Mumbai for a job interview. Maya (Nayanthara) is travelling on the same flight. They are college mates and the surprise meeting helps them catch up on old times and old friends.
However, once they reach Mumbai, everything changes. Arjun belatedly realises that Maya has trapped him into playing a deadly game orchestrated by Ashok.
Arjun is the best hacker in the state and Ashok requires his expertise to infiltrate the computer systems of certain organisations. Arjun initially refuses to co-operate, but relents when they threaten to kill his girl friend and TV host, Anitha (Taapsee Pannu).
Angered by the death and destruction caused by Ashok, Arjun secretly informs Prakash (Kishore), an honest police officer, who is investigating the bomb blast.
The first half of the film is dangerously fast, loaded with action and excitement, and keeps you guessing. Unfortunately, the director loses his zeal and enthusiasm at this point. The film degenerates into an ordinary revenge drama, with the mandatory corrupt politician, crooked police officer and cliché-ridden flashback.
Sleek editing by Sreekar Prasad, stunning action sequences choreographed by Lee Whitaker, and the impressive visuals of Mumbai and Dubai captured by cinematographer P S Vinod are some of the highlights of the film.
The performance of the lead actors and the supporting cast is consistent. Ajith’s magnetic screen presence is enhanced by his popular salt and pepper look of Mankatha, but he does look a little tired and even overweight in some of the scenes.
Arya and Taapsee share a great chemistry. Nayanthara looks gorgeous and does full justice to her role. The dependable Kishore has once again proved that he is a natural.
Director Vishnuvardhan’s Aarambam is an action-packed film that will delight Ajith’s fans.