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This Aviyal is not an exotic dish

By S. Saraswathi
March 13, 2016 15:24 IST
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Karthik Subbaraj’s Aviyal is an eclectic mix of fun and interesting stories by five independent filmmakers, says S Saraswathi.

Continuing his endeavor to encourage short filmmakers, director Karthik Subbaraj, a former short-filmmaker himself, presents the second edition of his anthology series aptly titled Aviyal (a traditional South Indian dish made with mixed vegetables).

The first in the series, Bench Talkies was released in March last year and had a decent run at the box office. Aviyal is yet another eclectic mix of stories from five independent filmmakers. The films feature a galaxy of newcomers, with just a handful of familiar faces.

Nivin Pauly and Bobby Simha star in a film by Premam director Alphonse Putharen. Titled Eeli with a tag -- the sexy tale, the film warns us of the dire consequences of interrupting a man in the throes of passion. Interestingly portrayed with a blendof dry humor, sarcasm and the undercurrents of a subtle menace, the film is easily the best of the lot.

Nivin and Bobby breeze through their performances with seemingly noeffort. But it is not just the senior actors; the many newcomers also appear equally competent.

Rohit Nandakumar, who plays Raj, the thoroughly confused youngster,who believes himself to be in love with his aunt, has a spontaneity and charm that keeps

the audience in splits. How he bounces back from what he considers the most serious affair of his life is interestingly portrayed in this light and amusing film titled Sruthi Bedham directed by Mohit Mehra.

Also making an impression is Deepak Paramesh, who plays a passionate filmmaker in director Lokesh Kanagaraj’s Kalam. The film brings out the murky and insensitive world of cinema, where as the director rightly puts it, there is no place for you unless you come up with a winner.

The movie, however, seems rather long for a short film. In fact, except for Shammeer Sultan's brief yet impressive narrative at the beginning, all the others seems slightly overstretched.

Kanneer Anjali, by Guru Smaran is about two friends and their incredibly funny journey to Rameshwaram to immerse the ashes of their recently deceased friend. They are waylaid by everything from copsand cocaine mafia to ghosts, guns and crores of money. Arjunan Nandakumar of Kadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Yeppadi fame with his casual and laid-back acting style gives a neat performance.

Despite some excellent characterisation and the natural performances of the actors, the films are let down by the ordinary scripts. None of the films stand out, neither do they boast of an original concept. They just seem like miniature versions of full length feature films.There is the usual romance, action, sentiments and comedy, but carefully spread out through the different films.

Karthik Subbaraj’s Aviyal may not be an exotic dish, but does have all the ingredients of a fun and wholesome meal.

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S. Saraswathi