Artistic talents are something that you don't normally associate with army personnel. But Major Ravi seems different. He has proved in his debut venture Aran that he has the skill to fuse realistic and artistic elements together in a film without compromising on the entertainment value. Ravi, in the company of Mohanlal and Jeeva, has introduced himself as an effective storyteller and a crafty filmmaker.
Though the movie dwells on the issue of terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, the interesting subtext is about the bondage shared between the chief of a commando force and a soldier, who braves the bombs and bullets of the heartless, unthinking jihadis.
Having served the army himself, the director has first-hand information on the functioning of the command force and has brought them on the reel very well.
A seasoned actor like Mohanlal has given shape to his imagination. Jeeva as his subordinate has taken off from where he left in Dishoom.
Aran is about the works carried out by elite command force comprising eminent men headed by Major Mahadevan (Mohanlal). Known for their nerveless bravery, the team thwarts every attempt by militants to disturb peace in the valley.
Be it causing explosions, kidnap bid or extortion, Mahadevan and his team are there to prevent them. Havildar Jayakumar (Jeeva), a trusted man of Mahadevan in the team, with his valorous ways contributes his mite for the success of the elite commandos.
When terrorists plan to strike at the famous Hazrathbal Shrine in Jammu and Kashmir, these men prevent the attack and eventually Mahadevan is saved by Jayakumar who lays down his life by killing the ultras.
Ravi deserves credit for shooting in the sensitive areas of Kashmir and also a few scenes in LoC and Afghanistan too. He conveys a strong message to fight terrorism unitedly.
As Major Mahadevan, Mohanlal is a perfect fit. His body language and his expressions are the major highlights. However his voice dubbed by Rajeev is a major let down. Jeeva as the honest Havildar impresses. There is more polish and poise to his work these days.
Gopika as the Jeeva's young wife appears briefly.
Also in the cast are Biju Menon, Lakshmi Gopalasamy, Ganja Karuppu and Haneefa.
Joshua Sridhar's brisk background helps sustain the momentum. However the real hero has been Thiru's cinematography. The beautiful landscape of Kashmir has been captured well.
Aran, in a nutshell has all the ingredients for a gritty entertainer without being mindlessly masala. It is technically sound, visually striking and is based on a story, which is very much rooted in the reality.