Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada

The first half of Achcham yenbadhu madamaiyada (AYM), is yet another cool breezy almost-autobiographical love episode from Gautham Vasudev Menon (GVM) who is one of Tamil Cinema’s finest chroniclers of love. Vinnai thaandi Varuvaaya’s flavor was consciously and aptly coated in AYM and it didn’t go wrong in the first half. I thoroughly and truly enjoyed AYM’s first 50 minutes- a blush searing through the cheeks and slightly pursed lips was a smile just waiting to be tempted out.

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You pretty much know the ingredients of a typical GVM’s best dish. You have this beautiful white house, a boy in his early 20s who passionately wooes a girl and the girl who is slightly older than the boy or the girl is introduced as the sister’s friend. You have some good-looking people in the film sprinkled with Rahman’s great songs. It is the aroma and taste of ‘nethu vacha meen kozhambu’. (fish curry prepared the day before) You have tasted it the day before, yet you rejoice it even if it served to you the next day.

All the songs were placed in the 1st half which was a boldly different attempt. At times, it appeared like a bhagavathar musical where simbu and his friends every 10 minutes broke into a song and dance. But every song was a soul-stirring audio feast for Rahmanics and others. Every song expressed the joy that erupted in the heart of the hero when he found happiness in everything he did. Rahman’s divergently different melodic and peppy palette was definitely one of the strengths in the first half.

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Sipping a huge cup of ice-lemon tea, I muttered to myself, “Yes! Yes! GVM is back” and I made myself more comfortable on the cushioned-seat. The film entered its 2nd half. This time round, I turned around to see if the exit was at the back. 

What I wasn’t ready for, was a romantic breezy entertainer mercilessly turning into a pointless scabrous annoyance of an action film.

Simbu and Manjima got themselves into deep trouble during a road trip and a bunch of maithaamavu-faced villains chased them. An unexpected emotional disconnect occurred that made me wonder “what the hell is happening?” Lack of substantial reasons or a tangible obstacle were a massive weapon of story destruction that completely ruined, shattered and destroyed the delight of watching AYM.

A Director Makes Only One Movie in His Life. Then He Breaks It Into Pieces and Makes It Again.
- Jean Renoir

An apt quote to describe GVM’s film-making style, the disjointed 2nd half was as torturous as watching the US election results.

In VTV, it was the authentic depiction of Jessie's confusion that was all the more amazing — Menon's complete understanding of a woman's psyche bowled you over! Here in AYM, what  disappointed me the most was how even GVM chose to show the heroine as a dumb girl. She was introduced as a film writer but that was just in mere words unlike the strong characters like Maya in Kaaka Kaaka. Most of the time, Manjima in AYM was on the bike or at the background of a scene, looking all clueless uttering some dialogues like “shall I shoot? Shall I shoot?” in the most inappropriately convincing manner.  It evoked more irritation than sympathy.

So why did simbu agree to do this film? Possibly for the character’s name. Just like how GVM adamantly didn’t bother to reveal any signs of story till the end, I shall too, not reveal the name. 

Simbu, in the film, screams at the heroine at one point, “I want to fight this alone…blah…blah…you go back. Where do you want me to drop you?”

Dumb ass, didn’t you just kill every person in her dynasty for the past 45 minutes? Where would she go now?

Action is not just about bullet shots and gun fires. Unfortunately, Tamil cinema still revolves around sumo jeeps, guns and sickles and sadly, GVM was coerced to follow this tradition. There wasn’t one smart move made by the hero to tackle the villans. He, who claimed that violence was never part of his life and he wondered how come he became so aggressive and had never seen guns before, was able to operate two guns and perfectly shoot everyone down.

If I were part of the film, I wouldn’t have been so afraid of the villains or the fights or the gunshots. As a typical Indian kid, I would have been more terrified of the accusations and insults that I might have to face when I see my parents, for not calling them everyday during my adventurous road trip.

BGM. Rahman sir. No sir, no sir. It is perfectly fine. I am not going to blame you. I have been only working for 6 years and all the time I feel ‘sian. (In Hokkien dialect, it means emotionally tired) For someone who has ruled the world for more than 2 decades, I could feel you. I know how it would be right now for you. It has happened to every legend. It is happening to you sir. Don’t worry! We will find a way to rejuvenate ourselves.

AYM is that ‘nethu vacha meen kozhambu’ which was supposed to be served with a pot of soft and fluffy basmati rice bizarrely went wrong being served with a dish like Spanish tortilla. 

Watch it if you love experimenting such 'deadly combo'.