Everything does pass, and we can endure and we can survive!! – Rahul Dravid
It is very rare that a movie of substance and message is made. 7 aum arivu stands out in this aspect. It is only a pity that those who can think of a dream within a dream within a dream as out of all boxes cannot think so of 7 aum arivu. 😛 In fact, 7 aum arivu has only stated plain facts – nokku varmam and kuthu varisal are sciences that existed in ancient India, in Tamilnadu and there is written history and evidence of the same.
Plot spoiler below:
The film starts off showing Kanchipuram – described in the past as Nagareshu Kanchi – where a Pallava prince – Bodhidharman is practicing Varmakkalai and teaching the same. He is also described as an expert medico who specializes in identifying herbs and preparing medicines to cure diseases. He travels to China on the orders of his guru maatha to stop a spreading disease, leaving behind his wife and children. He heals the Chinese and teaches them Varmam aka martial arts. He creates the Shaolin temple and establishes Zen Buddhism. The villagers in turn gift him death. The great man knows he is being given poison but eats it to give respect to their beliefs. He is then respected as God by Chinese – a tradition which continues to this day.
In every Buddha temple in China, I am told he is present on one side of Buddha – like Vinayagar and Murugan are present on either side of Siva in India. And all Chinese recognize him as Damo. Damo is the Chinese equivalent word for Dharma.
Cut to the present, Arvind as a circus artist takes a liking to Shubha (Shruthi Haasan) who has been following him knowing that he belongs to Bodhidharman’s lineage. China sends a person – Dongli (Johny Tri Nguyen) to wage a bio war against India. Dongli is to start this mission as well as execute the murder of Shubha whose research could get in the way of these plans. Arvind comes to know of Shubha’s deceit and takes it badly. She then takes him to the museum and explains the purpose and nature of her experiments.
Meanwhile, Dongli infects a street dog and uses Nokku Varmam to control others. Shubha tries to project her research and obtain permission in the scientists forum. They look upon tamil texts with disdain and ridicule the effort. She tries to reason and when they don’t listen, yells at them and comes out. She is met by 3 students who volunteer to help her in her research if required, although none of them can organize such massive funds.
Shubha’s professor has sold himself and Shubha’s research for money to the Chinese Govt and is an informer to Dongli. Dongli fails in his repeated attempts to kill Shubha. They escape from him and decide to carry put the research on their own in IIT’s genetic engineering lab during the semester holidays. One girl acts as a contact with the outside world and the others carry on with the research in the lab. Dongli discovers this ingeniously and comes at them. However, Bodhidharman’s cells have already been activated in Arvind. This leads to the climax fight and Arvind finding a cure to the dreaded disease. The film ends with the message that we should learn our histories and awaken the Damo within each of us.
It is the role of a lifetime for Surya. He has played his part admirably well and without a single fault. Kattabomman na Sivaji, Ramar na NTR madhiri Bodhidharman na Surya. Awesome is a lesser word. After Pithamagan, the actor in him has come out in flying colours.
Shruthi Haasan has pulled off quite a nice performance for her experience. It is unfair to compare her with Kamal Haasan. If ever a comparison should be made, it should be made with Kamal’s first movie – in which his acting was, should we say for lack of a better word – dismal. Even he considered quitting acting and started learning dance to become a choreographer. Hers is many notches above both Kamal and Surya’s first performances. She has much to learn ofcourse, whether she does or not is a matter of her attitude, time and opportunity. Her tamil surely has scope for improvement but all credits to her for dubbing in her own voice. Surya ku circus ellam varudhu, “zha” mattum varamaatengardhu. 🙂
Full marks to the concept of the movie. It wonders aloud about the brilliance of our ancient scientists – how did Aryabhatta arrive at the weight of the earth 1500 years ago? How did our ancestors predict the colour of all the planets so correctly so many thousand years ago? How did they calculate the time of eclipse and write it down as a panchaangam without any tools? How did Bodhidharman write about DNA research then? And all this through Shruthi Haasan! Perhaps, she takes after her mother in terms of respecting culture and belief!
Throughout history, the Chinese have demonstrated the capacity to say what is not theirs as theirs. They claim to be inventors of paper, the printing press, the spinning wheel and many other things. They did so publicly in the Chinese Olympics. Now, martial arts and the Shaolin temple can be added to the list as well. I am not surprised at this. I am surprised, however, that we did not even have a trace of these things in our country!! It all got rooted out – completely.
It is imperative to state the measures that China is taking against India. China doesn’t care for international treatises and is laying claims to Arunachal Pradesh. They have nuclear weapons but are against us developing the same. They claim to follow communism but don’t have any trade unions! They do hold a non negative stance against bio war. In light of these and in light of countries gearing up for bio war, this movie is an eye opener to many who don’t know these things.
Cinematography was fantastic and music was apt. Editing leaves something to be desired. Art was perfect – although most of the film was only contemporary. The special effects were right there! What with Legacy Effects that did Endhiran and Avatar handling that department, nothing could be amiss! The direction could have avoided traces of Dasavatharam. Dialogues nachu nu nadoo nethi la adikara maadhiri irundhudhu. It takes a lot of guts to write, “Reservation, recommendation, corruption have ruined our country.” and to say, “Madha maatram, ina maatram, mozhi maatram – idhu ellam namma pokkishangala azhichuduchu.” Kudos to the censor board for not chopping those off! Kudos to Murugadoss for showing sensible girls!
The most stellar department in this movie was, however, stunts. All stunts were marvellously executed, although, they could have reduced the nokku varmam to a large extent. Surya’s stunts as a circus artist in Ringa Ringa song were breathtakingly bold. His poses as Bodhidharman and later in the martial arts sequences are an example of how things should be done.
I am not an anti Hindi person or a pro Tamil person. However, when something that is ours is proven great, should we not recognize it as our own and take all steps to preserve and nurture it? Is it fair to say that just because it is tamil, I won’t read it or I won’t make an effort to look at it? Don’t we goggle at the Taj Mahal despite the fact that an Afghan built it? Why shun away from Tamil alone?
It is high time that India recognized tamil history, people and the language itself as its own. It is a loss for the country to not have felt proud about such a rich heritage thus far. Tamilnadu is not just a land of idlis and dosas and black maths teachers. We have given the world the Thirukkural, the pillai thamizh, the aathichoodi and some of the best literature that exists in the world today. We have given the world a language that has outlived Sanskrit.
The glory of tamil culture has long been hidden and it is high time atleast tamils were educated of their lost esteem. Kudos to Murugadoss for taking one step in that direction! Next – Nanban! 🙂