Selvaraghavan's films post Pudhupettai, for reasons best known to him, traverse between goose bumps inducing and vein popping moments. While the ingenious plot in the second half of Aayirathil Oruvan overshadows its shortcomings, Mayakkam Ena disorients me by juxtaposing between nerve wrenching silly moments and heart drenching emotional sequences.
Over the period of these two movies, having observed the inconsistency of Selva's narrative grammar, I became prepared not to be bogged down by the leads' forced comic moments with their supporting casts. Accepting his narrow minded approach to acting for what it is, that which can be convincingly portrayed only by Danush, this time around I also didn't bother about the uniformly terrible acting his casts were going to display. Also, the incomplete backdrops, blind eye to details or shallow grandeur that goes in vain weren’t my concern. Because, I realised, in a Selva movie, the tools for conveying the emotions goes beyond the individual elements in the screen and transcends the skills of the artists, whom he only uses as a reference point in frame to communicate with us through visual artistry.
These minor sacrifices started to pay rich dividends as I plunged into Irandaam Ulagam - a story of two worlds. While, I grinded my teeth through the artificial acting of Anuskha's friend and the lazily written Goa portions, I was bathed in poetry during the sequences where both Arya and Anuskha struggle to get in terms with their love. But, the story being about love stories in two parallel worlds, while these wonderful moments were coming only from the 1st world, the 2nd world looked too bland. Though I could understand that the callousness of the 2nd world was by design, and while I could also appreciate the much hyped hunting sequence, the 2nd world couldn't break beyond the intriguing shell it was trapped in. As boredom started to seep in, by a master stroke, Selva raises all hopes on the movie when he ingeniously charts a map between both worlds; but only to fall short of that promise in the aftermath of the surreal event.
Once the Messiah of love is brought from the 1st world to inadvertently spread pure love in the 2nd world which is devoid of love, Selva squanders the opportunity to express in terms of visuals one of the best ideas in recent times. For a film that intends to infuse first love into a disoriented land, nothing much was done in the screen time to sow the seed of love and water it, only through which the roots could have spread and let the love seed blossom into a flower. Instead he is satisfied that some shots of tears and few photographs are sufficient to drive the point home.
Another film, 'The Fountain' which dabbles on similar waters, doesn't shy away from going the length to establish the depth of love. Ironically its success stems from the fact that the film concentrates only on the couple and nothing else. Whereas Irandaam Ulagam dilute the concepts with a lot of unexploited characters - especially the 'Amma' role – once again clearly showing the inability of Selva, a past master in handling complex characters, to handle complex environments.