Irumbu Kuthirai wants to show a lot of things. It wants to create an air of mystery, a dark sense of foreboding; it wants to show the gleam of super-bikes, the loud hum of their engines, the frenzy of a race, the bikers, their lives, the quaint little town of Pondicherry, a young, breezy romance, and a picturesque Italian countryside. It also wants to show Atharvaa as a grim and menacing biker. Atharvaa, who looks so remarkably like his father. The set jaw, the forlorn, somber expressions; he’s the spitting image of Murali. A lighter, more stylish Murali who just cannot seem to shrug off what his father had already set in motion. Rebuffed love. Dejection. And, subsequently, a sad number. A lasting picture of Murali, is perhaps one of him looking downcast in his trademark checked shirt and a veshti, pining after a lost love.
But when Atharvaa does laugh, those fleeting moments when it does happen, he’s a different person altogether. There’s no echo of his father. And, he’s truly, wholly himself.
The script doesn’t offer a lot of laughs, though. It demands a stern Atharvaa. Much is made of his recently acquired six-pack. In an early scene, we see him examining his body in a mirror, six-pack in sharp focus (the theatre descends into an uneasy silence).
There’s a deep gash on his shoulder.
Irumbu Kuthirai opens with a fascinating shot. The camera rests on the road, and a murder of ravens crowds ominously around it. A crash, and a mad jumble of images later, Prithvi (Atharvaa) wakes up sweating in bed. A garlanded photograph of his father (Raghuvaran) hangs by the bedside.
He lives with his mother (Devadarshini), who is a PT teacher. She abides by a rigorous fitness schedule, and constantly despairs that her son is unadventurous.
Pakkathu veetu payyana paaru, avunga amma ku romba perumai. Oru ponnuku love letter kuduthutaan. Nee eppo idhellam panna pora? She chides him one morning over breakfast.
Meanwhile, Prithvi works at Papa John’s, and regularly earns the ire of his manager (Manobala) for not delivering pizzas on time. He strictly abides by road rules – signals with his right hand for a left turn – so much so that the policeman (Mayilsamy) on his tail crashes into him, in a hilarious instance. He is also dubbed ‘Rules Ramanujan’ by his colleagues.
And, his mother despairs even more. Avanukkunu oru turning point varamaya poidum? She tells herself.
If there’s something that Irumbu Kuthirai romanticizes, it would be those gleaming super-bikes. A Ducati’s appearance on screen creates quite a din, matched only by that of Priya Anand’s (as Samyuktha) introductory shot. It also celebrates racing.
And Johnny Tri Nguyen, as the dreaded Stony.
Stony looks more the part of a biker; cool and calculated, with a well-toned body, and sporting stylish biking gear.
But Irumbu Kuthirai is a lazy ride all the same. A much contrived tale, involving an implausible sub-plot, a romance that just doesn’t strike a chord from the beginning, and those interludes. Those interludes. One for every occasion, a couple of item numbers, and a forced twist, no less. And, Stony’s accented Tamil. And, those bad dubbing routines.
Where do we end?
It does paint a beautiful picture of Pondicherry, though. The little French town, with its distinct architecture, sea that spills out on the road, and the breezy jaunts along those quaint ‘rues’.
We are thankful for little things like that.
The Irumbu Kuthirai Review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have an advertising relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.