Aaytha Ezhuthu is a 2004 Indian Tamil-language political thriller film written and directed by Mani Ratnam. It is loosely based on the life story of George Reddy. He was a scholar from Osmania University of Hyderabad.
The film stars Suriya, Esha Deol, Madhavan, Meera Jasmine, Siddharth and Trisha in the lead roles, while Bharathiraja appears in another pivotal role. The title of the film “Aaytha Ezhuthu” was taken from the name of a Tamil letter, ஃ – three dots. This primarily relates to the film’s three different personalities from totally different parts of the society.
The film’s background music was composed by A. R. Rahman. The cinematography of the film was done by Ravi K. Chandran while Sreekar Prasad was the editor.
Aaytha Ezhuthu was shot simultaneously in Hindi as Yuva with an almost entirely different cast that included Ajay Devgn, Abhishek Bachchan, Vivek Oberoi, Kareena Kapoor & Rani Mukerji. Esha Deol starred in both the Hindi and Tamil versions. Moreover, a dubbed version in Telugu of the film by the name of Yuva was also released. The film was produced by Ratnam’s home banner, Madras Talkies, and was released on 21 May 2004.
The film narrates three parallel stories taking place in Chennai. Inba Sekar (Madhavan) is a rebel who keeps going in and out of prison for his criminal activities. Despite his background, Sashi (Meera Jasmine) is in love with him and leaves her home to marry him.
Michael Vasanth (Suriya) is a student leader who wants to bring about change in society. He is involved in various social activities. Just by mere coincidence, Michael meets Arjun (Siddharth). Arjun is a youngster that wants to migrate to a foreign country and enjoy his life. However, Arjun becomes inspired by Michael’s social activities. Soon, he becomes an integral part of his group.
One day, the paths of Inba Sekar coincide with Michael and Arjun. What happens next forms the crux of the film.
Comparison of Aaytha Ezhuthu/Yuva
As a film, Aaytha Ezhuthu works better than its hindi counterpart Yuva. This is manly due to its starcast. Rani Mukherjee and Abhishek Bachchan performed well but lacked the intensity of Meera Jasmine and Madhavan. Kareena Kapoor and Vivek Oberoi are good but Trisha and Siddharth look more natural and reflect the carefree youngsters of our society. Only Surya and Ajay Devgan, along with Esha Deol, are on par with each other as college students.
Another important point to note is that Aayitha Ezhuthu is more rounded when compared with Yuva. An early Michael-Inba brawl puts a personal face to their relationship, while Michael and Lallan are just strangers till the accident. Arjun in the Tamil version faces two life-altering experiences – with Michael’s mother, with Meera (at a railway station) – that his Hindi counterpart doesn’t.
Acting Performance, Music, Cinematography and Direction
All the actors and actresses in this film have done a commendable job when it comes to performances. However, it is essential to mention that Suriya and Madhavan have at times outshined their fellow actors in a few scenes due to the sheer intensity of their characters.
The Music by AR Rahman for this film is indeed an absolute gem. In particular, the songs Yakkai Thiri, Hey Good Bye Nanba and Jana Gana Mana stand out and prove A R Rahman’s mastery in coming out with catchy tunes.
Cinematographer Ravi K Chandran’s inimitable style of capturing images on lenses has audience spell-bound. Be it a romantic scene in a somber slum in Chennai to a student’s unrest in a college campus to a peppy number in a discotheque, he brings forth his best on screen. Chandran seems to have had a perfect understanding what his director wanted.
Mani Ratnam deserves special appreciation for his near flawless direction. Being the script and screenplay writer of the film, he went ahead of the time with his narration technique, presenting the three stories one after the other and merging them in the end.
So, if a film viewer had to select between Aaytha Ezhuthu and Yuva, than Mani Ratnam’s Tamil version is indeed a better choice. Aayitha Ezhuthu may score over Yuva. However, both films are equally exciting, engaging and stimulating than the conventional films we usually get to see. This gem should not be missed at any cost.
Disclaimer: The above review solely illustrates the views of the writer.