First things first. 'Avan Ivan' is no serious kind of a Bala film. It is like a marriage between commercial cinema with the signature style of Bala. The ace filmmaker has woven the script in such a way that there are no dull moments and the wafer-thin storyline does proceed without any lag.
All the characters blend well and there is a touch of realism in each of them even though Bala has opted for some commercial clichés here and there in the film. The national award winning director has played to the gallery at most places, with Vishal and Arya getting due space on screen to woo the audience with their acting skills.
But quite like other Bala movies, there are enough scope for other characters too that have a bearing on the script.
If the first half is more like a cat and mouse game between siblings (Arya and Vishal), the latter part ensures that the two join hands for a cause. They embark on a journey to take revenge, reminding you 'Pithamagan'.
Due credits should be given to Bala for breaking grammars of Tamil cinema. The heroes are not smart-looking fellows, the mother of the lead roles are not dotting, romance comes without duets and there are no punchlines to mouth. On the whole, the film has no structured pattern of narration.
Kumbidaren Saamy (Arya) is a petty thief and his half-brother Walter Vanangamudi (Vishal) is an aspiring drama artiste. They both live life their own way. Their father (Ananth Vaidyanthan) is caught between his two wives.
There is an old time King who lost all his wealth but commands respect in the village. Called affectionately as His Highness (G M Kumar), he showers love on Saamy and Walter.
Both Saamy and Walter do anything for His Highness. As events unfold, Walter and Saamy fall in love with a police constable Baby (Janani Iyer) and a college girl Thenmozhi (Madhu Shalini) respectively which lead to hilarious situations.
Enters a cattle smuggler (RK). He transports animals illegally to Kerala. His Highness comes across his business and ensures he gets punished. But the latter swears revenge on Highness which leads to a riveting climax featuring Saamy and Walter.
It's a totally new Vishal in the film. As a squint-eyed youth, his dialogue delivery and body language is outstanding. The actor is at his best from the very first reel. He carries the whole burden well in his shoulders. The highlight of Vishal's performance is a scene where he pours out Navarasa emotions on stage. Wonder where this actor in him was hiding all these days.
Arya plays second fiddle to him. He is cool, casual and is at utmost ease. He carries his role with utmost sincerity. His comic acts don't fail to make us laugh. Suriya's cameo, Ambika's bold performance and the presence of two leading ladies, Janani Iyer and Madhu Shalini, adds strength to the script. RK as the baddie is a perfect foil.
The real scene stealer is G M Kumar. The veteran plays a disappointed but fun-loving old man. He emotes well on screen and deserves applause for playing such a tricky role with consummate ease.
Arya's encounters with Madhu Shalini especially the dialogues where he urges her to drop her money in the temple, Vishal's encounter with Janani Iyer in the police station or the scenes involving Ambika swearing on his sons, all have the signature style of Bala.
Arthur A Wilson's lens captures landscapes of Theni well, while crisp editing by Suresh Urs peps up the proceedings. Watch out for Yuvan Shankar Raja's background score that reminds his dad Ilayaraja in his prime form.
All said, 'Avan Ivan' is not a typical Bala film, and it has its own dull moments, courtesy clichéd scenes and dragging second half. But it also has many ingredients to entertain the masses. The producers (AGS Entertainment) and the director deserve credit for such an unusual attempt.