I watched 7am Arivu last night. My evening started off on a rather annoying note with the massive queue at Fame Cinemas. I think it sort of set the tone for things to come. Before I talk of the movie, let me declare that this is the very last time I am watching a movie at a theatre other than Sathyam in Chennai.
Fame has a crazy, and incredibly inefficient system. Like Sathyam, they let you book tickets online, which to their credit is a relatively hassle-free process. When you make a credit card purchase online, they allow you to print a booking confirmation with a booking id. You then need to take it to the theatre and collect your real ticket at the counter. At Fame National in Chennai, there is only one counter dedicated to Internet bookings. Yesterday, there were approximately 50 people in the queue for the movie when we arrived there at 9.40, a good 10 minutes before the show time. It took roughly 15 minutes for me to get my ticket, and I effectively missed a good 10 minutes of the film by the time I was in my seat. Why they cannot allow us to print our tickets as well is beyond my comprehension.This would just allow people who get e-tickets to go ahead without waiting, and make life a lot easier for everyone.
Ok…now that my rant about the stupid booking system is done with, on to the movie itself. 7am Arivu has a great concept, a decent story and an actor who can deliver. Yet, it fails on many counts. Let me take it on one by one.
Concept and storyboard
The concept is great. The idea of our own skills being used against us, of control through hypnotism, of genetic memory and genetic engineering…it’s all very nice. The storyboard is quite decent and sticks to its basic premise that the DNA holds the key to everything that we are, and what we are capable of doing. So far, so good.
Screenplay and direction
Terribly inconsistent screenplay, careless editing, and sometimes illogical happenings spoil it for us at the very first instance. Shruti Hasan is a PhD student in Genetic Engineering. Her best friend from school is a 3rd year Civil Engineering student? Why? Did she fail several times before she passed 10th std? Or does the director want us to believe that a 20-year old undergraduate student is capable of such advanced research? And what’s wrong with the heroine nearing 30 anyway? Another instance is when Surya and Shruti break into the professor’s house and Shruti starts up the professor’s computer. The director makes it look ridiculously easy to steal data from someone’s computer. A scientist doing DNA research and using an iMac doesn’t know how to password-protect his system? And is stupid enough to allow Chrome to same his passwords and not set a master password, especially when he has just received a confirmation of an account transfer of 300 crores rupees to his Swiss bank account? Give me a break!
And, why is the first part of the movie so incredibly boring and long? Why bring in Shruti Hasan as a love interest-cum-researcher, when the love story is not developed anyway? And why do have to insert songs at random intervals just for the sake of it? I wished I could hit the fast forward button sometimes. Just get on with the story guys!
Surya is his usual good-looking self. He delivers to the best of his abilities. Much as I like Surya, I must admit his histrionic abilities have their limitations. And this limit is good enough for 7am Arivu. On the whole, he is as good as he can be. But Shruti Hasan is a whole different matter. So much for genetic memory! Shruti doesn’t seem to have inherited even 1% of her father’s ability to either act or speak Tamil. At times, her American-accented Tamil gets too much to take. Her lecture on Tamil and it’s greatness, in that godawful accent of hers in the project presentation scene might have been laugh-worthy had the accent not been so jarring!
The whole movie gets too preachy about the merits of traditional Indian knowledge at times. Reminding people of our past greatness is all ok, as long as we don’t forget where we are today, and what we need to do for a better future. Sometimes, we feel like the whole movie rides on past greatness, and not on anything present.
On the whole, amidst the lectures on the merits of vaasal theichufying and kolam pottufying, the director seems to forget his more fundamental task: making a film that is worth watching. My final verdict: it’s good enough to watch once, and bad enough to not want to see it ever again, even on TV.