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Aruvam Movie Review: For a while in Aruvam, you think that the director, Sai Shekar is winking at the clichés that we see in our films. Take the introduction scene of the heroine, Jothi (Catherine Tresa). She is so pure of heart that she stops herself from stepping on a few ants while getting down from her car. The director doubles the cliché when in the same scene, he makes her carry a dead dog and bury it – even while her colleagues are put off by the foul smell. In the scenes that follow this one, we get more of Jothi’s good samaritan side. She lets free a parrot belonging to an astrologer, she feeds the inmates of an old-age home. In fact, the protagonist, Jagan (Siddharth) witnesses her performing some of these acts and in true filmi fashion, falls in love with her. Even Jagan gets a sob story to make us instantly like him. He is an orphan, and honest. “Suthathoda uchcham,” his friend describes him.
But it is only after a while that we realise that Sai Shekar is dead serious (pun intended). What seems like a high-concept romance – Jothi has an unusual condition, which makes her oblivious to smell, and turns the persistent Jagan down, fearing her disability might result in a tragedy as in her past – suddenly becomes a revenge movie involving a ghost. But this earnestness and the predictable plot developments keep weighing the film down. The writing is all over the place. We expect Jothi’s ‘disability’ to have a bearing on the plot, but it never does. In the latter half, we get shots of Jagan sniffing out food adulteration (he is a food safety inspector), quite literally! But this, too, just doesn’t go anywhere. We also get a handful of villains, none of whom make an impact. As for the leads, Catherine Tresa is too lightweight for a role that calls for both acting chops and commanding screen presence while Siddharth’s characterisation seems to be just a different version of what he played in the recent Sivappu Manjal Pachai. He comes across as sincere, but with the rest of departments failing him, there is only so much he can make up for. Maybe he can take solace in the fact that he is perhaps the only actor who has been part of three different ghost films – the excellent Aval (pure horror), the partly amusing Aranmanai 2 (horror comedy), and now, this dull revenge drama.