One’s cursory view at the plot of Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada (AYM) might bring back the memories of Director Lingusamy’s 2010 romantic road action film, Paiyya. Starting the tale of AYM in a Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaaesque backdrop, the movie then routes itself into a dark mode that one would have witnessed in earlier ventures of Director Gautham Vasudev Menon (GVM) such as Kaakha Kaakha (KK),Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu (VV) and Yennai Arindhaal (YA). So, it appears like GVM saying: For AYM as well, I take cues from my earlier movies. From then on, one would expect the movie to carry the essence of GVM till the end. But, what we get is a turnaround towards the climax where the sequences tend to take the form of a fan boy-appeasing vehicle. Here it seems like GVM saying: But in AYM, I also take cues from Hari and Lingusamy.
In the preliminary segments of AYM, we get to see STR, as the flick’s hero, following suit the love principle of Karthik (role enacted by STR in Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa) which is, “Kaadhal athuva varanum…nambala poattu thaakkanum…thala keela poattu thiruppanum” and keep waiting for his girl. For a while, we are entertained with the amusements of STR, Sathish (Dancer Sathish does an actor Sathish in AYM) and co. And the day arrives; in fact his sister’s buddy…his girl (Manjima Mohan as Leela with a natural and an unpretentious innocence fits the bill) arrives for a temporary stay at his home. What better a situation can the AYM hero crave for? The stage here is well set to play the ever-green Gautham Vasudev Menon Romance. In fact, in AYM, the romance is at its casual best.
The romantic endeavor goes like this: Hero keeps ogling at his girl; awkwardly shies away when she reciprocates furtively with a glance. He keeps doing this on a persistent basis. With growing casual talks between the couple grows their intimacy. A sense of trust over the hero encourages Leela to accompany the hero’s pre-planned road trip via bike. Following which are wonderful moments analogous to the monologue, “Paakka paakka paesa paesa love…clean…pure…love”. Beautifying the romantic angle even more are the elite, mesmerizing tunes of A.R.Rahman and the rich, picture-perfect camera works of Dan Macarthur.
There comes an end to all the beautiful pleasantries with an unexpected turn of events around the interval point. The acknowledgement that the movie is inspired by a moment from The Godfather finds a place here. Post this revelation, the film transforms into a dark action thriller. The post-interval dark ride leaves the audience to clamor escapism for the lead couple. Amidst all these tense moments, there are some heart-wrenching moments too. Emotions vented out by Leela reciprocating to the love proposal of the hero did sound well on screen. A follow-up to this, which as a sweet surprise to a few and as a shocking twist to many, the genre of the flick, for the second time, shifted gears and this is where Gautham tried to be a Hari or a Lingusamy. In other words, the transition of the genres seemed analogous to the split personality act of Vikram in Anniyan.
On the downside, a menacing antagonist, along the lines of KK’s Pandiya, VV’s Amudhan and Ilamaran and YA’s Victor, catalyzing the transformation of the protagonist (who is with a devil-may-care attitude) into a person with a free will outlook is to an extent lacking in AYM (With their limited scopes as baddies, Baba Sehgal and Daniel Balaji appease quite well). Had AYM been the venture of an out and out masala movie director focusing predominantly on an over-the-top cat-and-mouse game then the finale of this movie would have filled the bill. Being GVM’s movie, AYM falters in this segment. In this sequence, the clips showcasing the root cause of the unpleasant realities chasing the couple takes a back seat by proffering the control to a quickly passing monologue, which narrates the core plot of the movie in a nutshell. At this point, it seemed like the movie which started just like Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa would end up in a KKesque fashion. But, it did not do so.