Effortwise, its as difficult as bringing poetry in motion. To a major extent, Aditi aces her role. She looks whiter than the snow abound the screen and also the background hilltops and is thinner than a thin crust pizza. Her vampire white complexion and frail figure adds additional vulnerability to her character and performance. But her Maan karate Siva karthikeyan like pose every now and then is slightly off putting. She emotes very well, considering Maniratnam movies has only single word dialogues and with so many close up scenes, she looks pretty comfortable and easy on the eye. Karthi, on other hand, slighta ondra adiching and feels at odd with the role that requires him to be macho and bully and not irritated looking, as he has portrayed. Obviously, his role was the toughest of the two and he barely manages, which causes the movie to slip badly, as the entire story revolves around him, his self centered and arrogant personality and his transformation, which comes on screen half cooked. Its unfair to blame him as the characterization is pretty complex even for seasoned veterans, but could've been career defining had he managed to pull it off. Somehow I felt, an younger actor like Siddarth would've been better fit or even Madhavan, with his appetite for chocolate boy roles and expressive eyes. RJ Balaji, seems to be the toast of tamil cinema at the moment and every movie has his blessing. He has a 2 minute role aka Vivek in Alaipayuthey.
Probably mani doesn't believe in comedy or comedians in his movies. Wondering which was the last movie in which he had full length comedy track. Mouna Ragam maybe, with Revathi managing some in her bad words teaching tamil teacher portions, the world famous "en pondaatti ooruku poitta" portion from Agni natchathiram is the only other example I could think of. Before that "Idhaya kovil" maybe, unable to withstand Gounder mania at that time. Anyway in more than one interview, mani has washed his hands off that movie. Couldn't think of any other track worth remembering in his movies. Wondering what was his peeve against comedy anyway. Other point that has been a disturbing yet growing trend in his movies,is his singular aim of, pulling the concept of marriage down from its pedestal. If Mouna Ragam had divorce seeking wife, who still reunites with husband, Agni Natchathiram had a father character with two wives, Alai Paayuthey becoming trendsetter for wearing Thali as just another jewel, OK Kanmani certifying Live-in relationship as THE thing and with the latest movie, premarital pregnancy. Even side character in the latest movie, the heroes brother is shown to be marrying his pregnant girlfriend and has a song picturized for that occasion!! (Ennoda panguku oru controversy thooki poatachu).
In the movie, the location being Srinagar, cameraman has had a avalanche of a time. Like Raavan, this movie might again lack a solid script, but more of a one line haikoo poem of a story, which falls flat on performances. But the visuals are damn attractive. You can actually make postcards from screenshots of both the movies. ARR has his best for Mani's movies and going against the popular opinion, Allai Allai was nollai nollai even picturisation wise. Azhagiye song is somewhat salvaged by the cuteness of the situation it comes in. Rukamani, the dancer who comes as doctor in the movie, gets to showcase her dance skills more than her doctorate. Had stethoscope and lab coat be not part of her costume, wouldn't even have guessed her role, other than the fact that she comes as two wheeler driver for the heroine.
Gils verdict - To put it simply, despite all its shades or lack of it, its a boring movie. Just because it has the Mani ratnam stamp, it doesn't make it any good. In fact, the expectation is slowly killing his story telling and its evident with every flop he has been churning out. High time, he broke this lovey dovey scripts and tried something different. Does he have time or stamina for that? That would be a message to outer space (kaatru veliyidai in other words).