I watched the Tamil language movie “7aum arivu” (Seventh Sense) last night. The movie had all the makings of a blockbuster hit. An A-list star who also is a competent actor (Surya), a cute newbie actress (Shruthi Hassan) and a director known for his blockbuster hits (A.R. Murugadoss). It cannot get any better than this. Unfortunately, it never even gets past the bearable stage.
The first half, set 1500 years back, narrates the story of a South Indian prince (Surya, with a bad fake moustache) who leaves his kingdom to go to China. Why he goes to China is not explained, although one suspects it is definitely not for overseas job opportunities or studies. He saves a Chinese village from a deadly epidemic, is revered by all, teaches Kung Fu and herbal medicine, and is poisoned by the same villagers whose lives he had saved (terrible, I know).
Soon a really fast flashfront to the present. Aravind (Surya, again) is a circus artist, who looks too handsome to be suspended upside down in wires and too hot to be performing circus tricks. However, he does both (aided by ample EFX, CG and all the abbreviations used for computer graphics). He meets Subha Srinivasan (Shruthi Hassan) and falls in love with her in exactly 4 scenes worth of screen time (i.e. 5 minutes). Soon Aravind discovers that there is more to Subha than just her relentless use of scientific terms in everyday conversations (her entire dialogue is punctuated with the word “genetics” at alarmingly high frequencies). She is in search of the lineage of Bodhidharma (yeah the guy who was poisoned 1,500 years back) in order to bring back his “genetic” memory for use to rediscover the cure for “genetic” diseases. And if you are smart enough (i.e. have enough experience of watching Tamil movies), you would have figured out the direct “genetic” descendant of Bodhidharma (hint: he is the hot circus performer).
In the meanwhile, The Chinese
Government (it was bleeped out by the censors) send in this really hot Chinese martial arts expert cum secret agent cum this movie’s main villain Dong Lee (Johnny Tri Nguyen is all his pouty glory) to India in order to kickstart Operation Red (a biowar against India) introducing the same epidemic that was cured by Bodhidharman. Soon he targets Subha, who has now completed the mandatory two-duets-in-a-foreign-country quota and has set sights upon reincarnating Bodhidharma via Aravind (genetically, may I add). They are chased by the villain, manage to find the time to dance yet another song in a foreign location, and how they manage to thwart the villain and save the city from the epidemic unleashed by the Chinese Government forms the rest of the story.
Now, you have an inkling that something is wrong somewhere when you start rooting for the villain . This is because within 20 minutes of the movie, one is irritated at the apparent indecisiveness of the hero, he seems to be caught in a wide range of catch-22 situations:
1. To continue chasing the villain or to dance a duet with his ladylove
2. To be surprised about knowing about his legendary lineage or to sing a love song about his ladylove
3. To save the country from an epidemic or to dance a hip hop number with his ladylove
Very tough choice, I know. One is only thankful that the director did not introduce a romantic interlude about the villain and his girlfriend at the Chinese embassy in India. That would have been a serious mess up of what is already a mess up.
The music is as unmemorable as the screenplay and Shruthi Hassan is the only saving grace of the movie.
P.S. Johnny Tri Nguyen is hot. I would very much like to see him dance to “Appadi Podu” in a forthcoming movie.