Review: '7am Arivu'
The movie begins with a well-made documentary on Pallava prince, Bodhi Dharman (Suriya), who lived in 500 BC. He travelled to China and took shelter in a hamlet. His excellence in medical science and martial arts save the villagers from various dangers and they fall at his feet and become his students. He teaches them Tamil medicine and martial arts. After his demise, his teachings spread all over China and its people adore him as Tao.
Cut to the present, Aravindh (Suriya), a circus artiste meets Suba Sreenivasan (Shruti Haasan), who visits the arena in search of a monkey for her research work. Aravindh, who instantly falls for Suba, volunteers to help her. Slowly they come close to each other and Aravindh's love for Suba gets thickened.
Meanwhile, Operation Red, a conspiracy against India, is planted in China. It is a cruel bio-war that could cause the loss of millions of lives.
Dong Lee (Johnny Tri Nguyen), a martial arts and hypnotist expert, is deputed for the job. The one man army lands in India to spread a disease that doesn't have any vaccine or medicine. He has another important job on hand. He has to kill Suba, whose research on Bodhi Dharman could spoil their plans.
Aravindh gets a shock when he learns that Suba's closeness towards him is not out of love and neither is she looking for a monkey - she actually wants to do experiments on him!
Dejected Aravindh is not ready to hear Suba's side of story -- Suba's research revealed that Bodhi Dharman was Aravindh's forefather and that their DNAs match. She wants to activate Bodhi's DNA in Aravindh to recreate powers of the Pallava prince. If she could successfully make Aravindh inherit those powers, he would be able to thwart Operation Red.
Whether she is able to convince him forms the rest of the story.
No doubt Murugadoss has brought in a different theme to the cliche ridden Tamil cinema. He has done it with proper homework. He has executed the narrative well -- be it depiction of olden days or martial arts.
The concept of activating forefather's DNA in one's body is interesting. He has given us a visual treat with the help of cinematographer Ravi K. Chandran and art director Rajeevan.
Peter Hein has added value with his awesome stunt choreography - the climax fight is outstanding.
The problem with the movie is the flat narrative, which lacks curiosity element. Murugadoss' hard work gets diluted since he reveals everything in the first hour.
The rest of the movie, quite predictable scene by scene, mars the impact of the film.
But Murugadoss chose the right actor in Johnny Tri (Vietnamese actor well-versed in martial arts) to don the role. Johnny makes an astonishing impact with his body language and powerful eyes.
But Murugadoss has relied too much on his hypnotist skills that it looks like a comedy after a point. Villain's effort to kill Suba and Aravindh in a busy Chennai street falls flat because of the unconvincing hypnotist angle.
The politically inclined dialogues do not fit into the narrative though they trigger applauds from the audiences. Linking the just concluded war in Sri Lanka and the "conspiracy" by China defies all reasoning and ends up being rhetoric.
Murugadoss, who has given some lovely song sequences in 'Ghajini', has gone wrong in placing songs here - songs serve as brief intervals. Harris Jeyaraj's songs resemble some old hits. His background score is impressive in many places including the climax.
Surya's commitment and hard work is visible in each and every frame. His portrayal of Bodhi Dharman is quite credible while his performance in the climax is outstanding.
Good looking Shruti gets a heavy role and manages to pass muster.
'7am Arivu' is the case of good story marred by flat narrative.
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