Iraivi- excites me, confuses me, agitates me and forces me to say ....

Karthik Subburaj, who delivered us Pizza and served as Jigarthanda, has now brought us on a journey to “Iraivi”. Iraivi means Goddess. There were a lot of metaphors throughout the film. Some of them screamed for attention while the rest were as subtle. The rain symbolized freedom of women. The toy monkey represented showed confusion and the dilemma the characters had to go through. Instead of using the lazy technique called voice over narration, director made the effort to provide something intellectual for the audience. Thanks for that, Karthik!

The story of Iraivi is about the victimisation of the aforementioned females by the malevolent arrogance of their respective not-so-better halves. Arul (SJ Suryah), a film director, has seen better days in his career. However, now his film, a child, according to him, is stuck in the hands of a vicious producer. This turns him into an alcoholic and the effects are on his wife Kamalinee. Similar is the story of Michael (Vijay Sethupathi) and Ponni (Anjali). Bobby Simha, the brother of SJ suryah plays an interesting role too.

The surprise package

SJ Suryah. oh boy! It was as if he was waiting for another director to coax the real actor in him. Iraivi comes 16 years after Khushi, which is arguably the last good film he’s associated with. And it’s worth the wait. There were scenes where he laughed, cried and laughed again in the same shot, delivered philosophical soliloquies and screams infuriated. And yet, none of it felt over the top.

A confession here- a lump choked my throat when SJ Suryah cried on screen especially in the climax when he sobbed, “poruthukitu porathukum saguchikitu porathukum namma enna pombalaiya? 
Amabalai- kevalamana piravi”.

 I only shed tears for one actor- Amir Khan. Whenever Amir weeps on screen, my heart melts. Now, it is SJ Suryah who was able to bring that phenomenal magic on celluloid. SJ was truly the surprise package of Iraivi. SJ surya as the frustrated film director, on a self-destructive mode with his drinking binge seemed like a role that he was born to do. There is always a film that changes an actor’s life. For SJ, this is it.

Another pleasant surprise

Anjali. Yengama poi irunthey?

The last I remembered Anjali on screen, was dancing with Singam surya on a boat in Singam 2. Oh wait! You did other films with vimal and stuff. Forget that shit, Anjali! This is your true come-back. Directors, who wish to cast you, have to do only one thing on their scene paper. They only have to write.

 “Scene- Anjali emotes.” 

Directors, this is enough! Anjali will do the rest! She was a perfect fit in this film. Either it be seriously joking about his future husband as a mixture of “oru thala, thalapathy, oru kamalhassan” or be it firmly replying to her husband when she was suspected of having an affair, “ithu thaan en vithi nu, un kooda vaazhven!” Whenever she appeared, there was always something that she offered to the screenplay. Such powerful and impactful acting that was.

But apart from the duo’s strong acting, I wasn’t able to say that this was a great film. Not that it was a horrible film too. Apart from the fact that the film’s duration was 2hr 45 mins, I can’t quite label this as a film about women, for women and the other build-ups that this film crew has been sharing in their interviews and promotions. Heavily influenced by directors KB, Balu mahendra and Mahendran did in their respective films, Iraivi got lost in the search to taste those essence.

Kamalini Mukherjee, the wife of SJ in this film is a working woman. Thank god, Karthik didn’t show her as a woman who carries the handbag, goes to office and works hard for the family like what many megaserials are offering these days. But there is so much more that this character could have portrayed. There is a scene where she slaps SJ Surya twice and SJ Surya slaps her once and immediately they hug each other and say “sorry”. Ok I have a question here. When someone slaps, I don’t think the immediate reaction would be to forgive and forget. And why do directors these days show slapping as a form of intimacy between couples. The recent film “Sethupathi” had a similar scene where the hero slaps the wife and the wife claims, “He gets angry but once he comes back, he needs me.”

People!! I guess it is time for all of us to go for an anger-management course if we are still going to glorify slaps as the purest form of love. Probably we need to stop this from young when mothers and mother-in-laws pamper their grandkids and ‘lovingly’ tell them, “patti ya adi. patti ya adi.” So, that is where we learn to beat and slap one another. 

Pooja who is a widow, is clear that Vijay Sethupathi is just a friend with benefits to her, despite him professing his love to her, and has no qualms about using him for her biological urge. What was the importance of bringing this role into the story that lacked depth and clarity? Not that every character needs to have screen space till the end of the film. But I felt that this role was force-fed into the story just because Karthik thought that a “bold woman” would spice up the plot. A bold woman need not be a slut as what she was portrayed to be in the film. A bold woman is anyone who swims against the tide and moves on with her life despite the difficulties she face. So what is the difficulty that Pooja faced in this episode? Not dwelling into that, made her role a redundant one other than the opportunity, she had, to utter dialogues like “neenga velliya poi naan oru item girl thaan solveenga!”

A plot that could have been crafted with sensibility and sensitivity, irked me whenever the screenplay bounced off from the intended plot and it entered coma stage just like how Vadivukrassi was, in this film. Again, I wonder why such a veteran and talented actress Vadivukrassi chose to do this coma patient role? Review’s sweeping statement reads “As a filmmaker, the easiest theme to handle is womanhood!” Understanding women, dealing a subject such as womanhood or discussing about feminism aren’t easy dudes! If it is an easy theme, Iraivi should have scored in all parts.

Goundamani in the film “Suryan”, boasts that he is in charge of everything, he needs to get things down and he needs to go Delhi to settle matters. Similarly, telling the world that woman issues are easy to deal with in a film, gives me the same vibes that Goundamani gives in that scene. Iraivi confuses me, agitates me and forces me to say “phone wire-u pinju oru varaam aachu.”

So will Iraivi change the society? Is it going to be a trendsetting film? Is it going to make woman reflect upon themselves? Is it going to change men for the better?

Well, Iraivi audio launch incident has the answer.
watch 7.57-8.40

The female host was extremely upset that no one came to support her and object to what he said. She expressed her view on social media.

The more interesting issue was that Karthik Subbraj’s reply in the “THE HINDU” interview:

“Why does the host want man to support her and give freedom? She could have just said what she felt on the stage after Radharavi’s comment?”

And my reply, a dialogue from your film, Karthik- Aan. nedil. Penn. kuril.”