Gautham Vasudeva Menon, the king of minty cool romances set against urban milieu, reunites with Simbu and his favourite music director AR Rahman. Once again he has proved that there is nobody like him in mainstream Tamil movies who can weave the magic of urban romance.
In Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada, you get to watch the crackling romance between Simbu and the new actor Manjima Mohan unfold accompanied by the soothing music of AR Rahman.
Menon is in his comfort zone in the first half which full of breezy romance, but post interval he changes genres and turns it into an action packed thriller with a climax peppered with mass elements. There lies the problem with the film, as one wishes Gautham kept to his strengths. But the director himself has said in his promotional interviews that he did this shift deliberately and wanted to incorporate mass scenes to attract larger viewership.
He has also introduced a twist by not revealing the hero’s character name (he is called Anna by his sister or Machan by his friends) till the very end. When Simbu finally reveals his name, it resulted in thunderous claps in the theatre.
AYM's first half is made up of several magical moments. Simbu, like all Gautam Menon heroes, has completed his engineering and also done his MBA, and he is yet to make up his mind on what he wants. His parents understand his feelings and they gift him a Royal Enfield bike. He then plans to go on a road trip. Meanwhile Leela (Manjima Menon), who is his sister’s friend, comes to stay in their house and soon she joins him on the road trip. An accident takes place and everything goes topsy-turvy in the second half.
Not much of a story there. It is the romance, songs and the packaging that works. In facts the director takes digs at his own earlier films, like the character played by Simbu in Vinayathaandi Varuvaya.
AR Rahman’s songs, its picturisation and camera work (Dan MacArthur) is the film’s calling card. Menon packs all the 5 songs in the first half and makes the second half song-less to give it an edgy and grim twist. The highlight is the 'Thalli Pogathey' song which is part of the crucial interval twist.
Simbu’s character has been well-etched aa a guy who is aimless and goes with the flow; his failed romances, his love for bikes and also an entire song on how bikes are a man's first love is sure to connect with the urban youth.
AYM is tailor made for Simbu as he excels in romance and in the later half as a mass hero. Manjima Mohan has made a sensational debut. Her on screen chemistry, especially during the road trip, with Simbu is crackling, thanks to Menon’s smart writing. Baba Sehgal as a bad cop is a caricature of so many similar villains seen in Bollywood films.
The drawbacks are the hard-to-digest climax, continuity errors and the illogical loopholes; one moment the lead couple on the road trip are in Kanyakumari next moment the crucial accident takes place somewhere near Kolhapur. Initially while on the road trip in a highway, they don’t wear helmets, which suddenly appear before the accident. In certain scenes, Simbu looks bloated while in other scenes he is very thin. This may be due to the long time taken in the making of the film.
Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada may not be the best of Gautam Menon's work, but on the whole it is an entertaining and enjoyable ride.