I wasn’t the only person in the theater who felt that this movie was a cross between Titanic and Lagaan. As my friend commented, Arya looked like a Tamilian Bhuvan. At close to 3 hours long, this movie overstayed its welcome by a good hour. At least Lagaan had Cricket. The movie switches between the present and the 1940s with the present being a big drag mostly due to the wooden acting of the grandmom and her granddaughter.
One aspect that stood out for me right from the opening scene was the director having the courage to not dumb down the movie for his audience. I say this in reference to the free usage of English by the British characters in the movie (there are subtitles in Tamil for the portions with English dialogues). The Tamil that the Britishers speak at times is so realistic that it’s hard to understand what they are even saying.
I find it incredible that the lead actress Amy Jackson, a 19 year old beauty pageant winner from Liverpool, was able to infuse so much confidence into her role. Incredible because it’s her first movie and it’s set in a city, language and time period so alien to her. GV Prakash’s music and the way it’s presented on screen (for the most part) is probably the movie’s biggest strength. Vaama Duraiyamma felt like GV’s and lyricist N. Muthukumar’s 1940s take of the awesome ARR and Vairamuthu collaboration Madrasa Suthi Paaka Poraen.
Director Vijay’s visualization of the Chennai of 60 years ago is why I would recommend this film to any Chennai resident. As a guy sitting behind me announced at the end of the movie, “Dei Chennai appove nalla irundhidu da!”