7aum Arivu

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7aum Arivu
Ezhaam arivu.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed by A. R. Murugadoss
Produced by Udhayanidhi Stalin
Screenplay by A. R. Murugadoss
Story by A. R. Murugadoss
Starring Suriya
Shruti Haasan
Johnny Tri Nguyen
Music by Harris Jayaraj
Cinematography Ravi K. Chandran
Editing by Anthony
Studio Red Giant Movies
Distributed by Red Giant Movies
Release dates
  • 26 October 2011 (2011-10-26)
Running time 168 minutes
Country India
Language Tamil
Budget INR800 million (US$13 million)[1]

7aum Arivu pronunciation: Ēḻām aṟivu; Seventh Sense) is a 2011 Indian Tamil science fiction thriller film written and directed by A. R. Murugadoss, featuring Suriya, Shruti Haasan in her Tamil debut and Johnny Tri Nguyen as the main antagonist. The film, produced by Udhayanidhi Stalin began production in May 2010; it was released on 25 October 2011 in Chennai and a day later, on Diwali, worldwide. The visual effects for the film were done by US based Legacy effects, making this their second Indian film after Enthiran.[2] 7aum Arivu received mixed critical response upon release, it however opened well at the box office.[3] It was also dubbed into Telugu as 7th Sense which released simultaneously along with the Tamil original. The film was also one out of several films selected by the South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce as the Indian submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film,.[4][5][6]

Plot[edit]

The film depicts the fictional life[7] of Bodhidharma (Suriya), a master of martial arts and medical remedies, who is depicted in the film as the son of a great Tamil king of the Pallava Dynasty. He is sent to China by his guru, who requests him to stop the spread of a pandemic disease existing there from spreading to India. Initially the people in China treated him as an inferior but later when he cures a little girl from the deadly disease and fights against some people who ill treated villagers there, the people of China began to respect and worship him. He begins to teach them how to cure many diseases, the skills of hypnotism and the physical training of the Shaolin monks that led to the creation of Shaolinquan. However after several years, when he expresses his desire to return to India, the villagers plot to poison him and bury him near the temple, believing that their place would be disease free if he is buried there. Bodhidharma agrees to die and subsequently becomes a fundamental figure in Chinese history, affectionately being dubbed as "Damo".

The film switches to modern-day China, where Dong Lee (Johnny Tri Nguyen) is given the task of starting a government planned biological war against India, known as Operation Red. Dong Lee arrives in Chennai starts this operation by injecting a virus into a street dog. This disease was the one which occurred during the time of Bodhidharma in China. Meanwhile Subha Srinivasan (Shruti Haasan), a student of genetics researches that Bodhidharma can be brought back to life if his sample of DNA is matched with another sample of DNA which she finds in Aravind (Suriya) a descendant of Bodhidharma who is working as a circus artist nearby. Dong Lee finds out Subha's mission to revive Bodhidharma and plans to kill her first, so that the disease cannot be stopped.

Subha approaches Aravind to start the mission, but gets romantically involved in him and forgets her duty. One day, Aravind's family see Subha and clearly remember that she visited them a year before to find Aravind and know all about him for the Bodhidharma research. Saving herself, she lies by saying that she doesn't know them. Later that night, Aravind's uncle (Ilavarasu) explains all what happened one year before when they met Subha. Aravind goes and meets Subha, and is enraged upon realising the truth. However the next day, he reconciles with Subha and agrees to contribute to the research and hence save the country. The research begins of giving life to Bodhidharma and to end Operation Red. But Dong Lee, who is capable of doing anything, does all impossibly bad things, mastered in "Nokku Varmam" (hypnotism), a martial art which was actually taught to the Chinese by Bodhidharma.

Subha goes to her genetics department and announces that Operation Red can be stopped if they read and make use of the cures in a book written by Bodhidharma. However, the department laughs and refuses to believe her, claiming that an ancient book is of no use in modern times. Disappointed, Subha leaves. After some time, Subha and Aravind find out that Subha's professor from the genetics department is assisting Dong Lee in Operation Red. They sneak into the professor's apartment and learn about the operation, without his knowledge. The next day, the professor is caught red-handed by Aravind, Subha and her friends, but surrenders and explains that he received a huge sum of money from the China government if he carried out Operation Red. After the professor gives the gang more details about Operation Red and how to stop it, they leave. However, after a while, Dong Lee arrives and the professor once again teams up with him to save his own life.

Dong Lee causes numerous havoc in the city, which Subha, Aravind and their gang barely escape. They finally locate a research centre where they can activate Bodhidharma DNA in Aravind, and decide to hide there for a few days. They all deactivate their phones so that no-one can trace them. But Dong Lee somehow traces Subha and the gang with the help of two of Subha's outside friends. However, he kills both of them afterwards. Dong Lee then locates the place of the research centre. Subha and her friends in the research centre escape in a van, but Dong Lee chases them and the van collapses. An unconscious Aravind gets beaten badly by Dong Lee at first, but then manages to regain Bodhidharma skills somehow (in spite of the sun-rays hitting him on his face which was not supposed to happen and a day before he was estimated to regain his skills). Aravind wakes up with Bodhidharma's talent and in a final fight, defeats Dong Lee. Afterwards, Aravind and Subha manage to eradicate the virus spreading. The film ends with them giving a lecture via the media, about the need to remember important histories and to teach all practices in the name of science and not god.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Casting[edit]

Initial reports suggested that Suriya would play three characters; a circus artist,[8] a scientist and a Buddhist monk,[9] for a portion set in China in the 5–6th century.[10] However, it was clarified that the scientist's role would be performed by the female lead, Shruti Haasan,[11] while Suriya would play a modern day circus artist as well as Bodhidharma, a Buddhist monk who lived during the 5th century. Vietnamese actor and martial artist Johnny Tri Nguyen was signed to play the antagonist,[12] while Kannada actor Avinash[13] and Abhinaya of Naadodigal fame were selected to play minor supporting roles in the film.[14][15]

Influences[edit]

Sources claimed that the film drew inspirations from Christopher Nolan's Inception. However, the director dismissed the news, reasoning that he had begun shooting much before the release of Inception. Murugadoss further denied reports that the film was a remake of the Bollywood flick Chandni Chowk to China, as both were supposed to be set in China, and that the film's concept was similar to that of the Hollywood film Perfume, confirming the script as original.[16] After completing the film, he emphasised that he had not been inspired or remade any film, stating that Hollywood filmmakers can "feel free to remake 7aum Arivu".[17]

Filming[edit]

The first schedule of the film was completed in China[18] and those fifteen minutes of the edited film reportedly cost INR 150 million.[19] Later, some shots were canned in Trichy and later at Ampa Skywalk,[20][21] followed by the song Oh Ringa Ringa in Besant Nagar,[22][23] for which 1000 junior artists were alloted,[24] and a stunt sequence in Perambur. In the process, Suriya had an ankle injury due to which the shot was postponed for a period of 3 days.[25] Suriya trained to get a Six pack abs for a Kung Fu sequence within 16 days, following cinematographer Ravi K. Chandran's request.[26] Shabina Khan designed the costumes for Suriya and Shruti, staying with the team throughout the filming process in Bangkok and Hong Kong.[27] The song "Mun Andhi" was shot in Thailand.[28] Though initial reports stated that the film would feature a time machine, they were later dismissed.[29]

The visual effects of the film were done by Legacy effects at an approximate cost of INR 100 million, who had made an impact in Hollywood for their work in the Terminator series, the Jurassic Park series, Aliens, the Predator series, Iron Man, Edward Scissorhands, and Avatar.[2]

Soundtrack[edit]

7aum Arivu

Original CD cover
Soundtrack album to 7aum Arivu by Harris Jayaraj
Recorded 2011
Genre Feature film soundtrack
Length 30:29
Language Tamil
Label Sony Music
Producer Harris Jayaraj
Harris Jayaraj chronology
Force
(2011)
7aum Arivu
(2011)
Nanban
(2011)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Behindwoods 3.5/5 stars[30]
Rediff 2.5/5 stars[31]

The soundtrack, composed by Harris Jayaraj, consists of six songs including a Chinese track, sung by Chinese singer Wang Hao.[32] It marks the second collaboration of Jayaraj and Murugadoss after the success of Ghajini. Lyrics were penned by Madhan Karky. The audio rights of the album were bagged by Sony Music reportedly for a whopping amount.[33] The composition of the soundtrack took place in Singapore.[34] The audio was released on 22 September 2011 in Chennai Trade Centre in a grand manner.[35] The event was hosted by Jai and Anjali, lead pair of Murugadoss' production Engeyum Eppodhum, while Bollywood actress Isha Sharvani, Lakshmi Rai and several international artists performed on stage,[36] which were choreographed by Shobi.[28] Actors Dhanush, Karthi, Jiiva, Jayam Ravi, Vishal Krishna and Ram Charan Teja attended the function,[36] with Dhanush releasing the trailer.[28] Though initial reports said that Shahrukh Khan would appear in the launch,[37] it was later dismissed. IBO Events & Media Co., owned by choreographer Shobi, were the event management partners of the function.[38]

Track listing
No. Title Lyrics Singer(s) Length
1. "Oh Ringa Ringa"   P. Vijay Roshan, Jerry John, Benny Dayal & Suchitra 5:34
2. "Mun Andhi"   Na. Muthukumar Karthik & Megha 6:14
3. "Yellae Lama"   Na. Muthukumar Vijay Prakash, Karthik, Shalini & Shruti Hassan 5:21
4. "Yamma Yamma"   Kabilan S. P. Balasubrahmanyam & Swetha Mohan 6:06
5. "Innum Enna Thozha"   P. Vijay Balram, Naresh Iyer & Suchith Suresan 4:58
6. "The Rise of Damo" (Chinese song) Madhan Karky Hao Wang 3:16
Total length:
30:29

Critical response[edit]

The soundtrack received positive reviews. P. G. Devi from Behindwoods gave 3.5/5 and commented: "The album promises a couple of big chart-busting hits like the peppy 'Ringa Ringa', the melodious 'Mun Andhi' and the pathos-ridden 'Yamma Yamma'. Though there is a déjà vu feel all around the album, its a sure shot commercial success".[30] Indiaglitz stated that "the unique stamp of Harris can be felt throughout the disc, and that makes songs [...] a treat to senses", recommending it for "those who love and appreciate good music".[39] Pavithra Srinivasan from Rediff.com provided 2.5/5, mentioning that "it looks like Harris Jeyaraj has run out of steam. While Yemma Yemma and The Rise of Damo are appealing, the rest sound like he remixed some of his own older numbers, or chose to be inspired by other classics [...] 7aum Arivu's music does have its moments, but these are few and far between."[31] Prakash Upadhyaya from Oneindia.in said that the album had "variety of songs. The soundtracks will have larger appeal when it is watched".[40]

Release[edit]

The satellite rights of the film were bagged by Sun TV.[41] The film was given a "U" certificate by the Indian Censor Board.[42] The film was scheduled for a Diwali release on 26 October 2011; with producer Udhayanidhi Stalin's intervention, it was brought forward by one day, opening ahead of the other films.[43] Divya Pictures acquired the Kerala theatrical rights for INR 24 million for release in more than 100 theatres,[44] while Bharat Creations bought the North American rights.[45] In Chennai, the film released in 51 screens.[46] The film was the largest release in Suriya's career, opening with 1000 prints worldwide, with 400 prints in Tamil Nadu alone. The Telugu dubbed version, 7th Sense had the second largest release in Andhra Pradesh for a dubbed film by opening up in 400 screens across the state.[47] A special screening was shown to actor Kamal Haasan.[48]

Critical reception[edit]

The film received mixed to positive reviews. Indiaglitz claimed that Murugadoss had made a "bold attempt" and "succeeded in it with the help of Suriya and Udhayanidhi Stalin", lauding him for "conveying a bitter truth [...] in a sugar coating", and going on to claim it to be a "winner in all his invasions".[49] Behindwoods described it as "technical finesse catering to commercial compulsions", giving the film 3 out of 5.[50] Rediff.com gave 3 out of 5, noting that it was "worth a watch" and had "severals things working for it".[51] Sify called the film "average", writing that "the effort of Murugadoss to make a special kind of film is laudable but seems to lack the imagination required to pull off what he set out to achieve".[52] Nowrunning.com rated it 3/5 stating that "a hopeful beginning makes this routine fare an absolute disappointment. This is not a bad film. You just expect better from a director like Murugadoss".[53]

Box office[edit]

The film's theatrical distribution rights of Tamil Nadu were sold for INR 600 million.[54] It did not get the 30 percent entertainment tax waiver.[55] The film still took a big opening on 25 October, a day prior to Diwali. In its six-day opening weekend, the film grossed INR 402.5 million worldwide.[56] In the UK, the film made on four screens.[57] In Chennai, the film grossed INR 90 million and was declared a "hit" in Chennai by Behindwoods,[58] while Sify declared the film an "average grosser" at the Chennai box office.[59]

Bharath Creations bought the rights for the USA and Canada.[60] The film which was sold, all versions and territories, for INR 900 million to its distributors and having collected only INR 820 million domestically, resulted in bringing minor losses for its distributors. It however became the second highest grossing Tamil film of 2011. In Malaysia, the film was released in record 53 screens. In the US, the film was released in both Tamil and Telugu in 50 screens.[61]

Controversies[edit]

The film had driven many controversies and sparked of various debates upon release, with the most notable one being the historical inaccuracies pertaining to the character Bodhidharma. According to experts, he had travelled from India to China with a main intention of propagating Buddhism and his portrayal as a man with "medicinal knowledge" and his expertise at "martial arts" were not well received by the viewers who claimed that the film gives too much emphasis on his identity as a Tamilian rather than highlighting the other facts. The film was compared by film historian S. Theodore Baskaran with other Tamil films about history and folklore which had been historically inaccurate like Veerapandiya Kattabomman and Parthiban Kanavu.[62] A man named Babu T. Raghu had pointed out in a press conference that the monk was 150 years old when he reached China, while in the film they had depicted him in his 20s. He expressed his desire to debate with the film-makers, and also said that he had material evidence to prove it, while sparking off a hunger strike across the country on Bodhidharma's followers.[63] Other sources also reported a similar issue.[7]

Later reports claimed that the film was very similar to the game Assassin's Creed. Some were of the opinion that the film and the game were based on the same concept, despite being different in other aspects. The film Velayudham, which had released alongside 7aum Arivu was also compared with the game.[64]

The film was sent for CBFC certification with dummy background score and the official re-recording happened thereafter triggering protests demanding re-certification.[65]

References[edit]

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  19. ^ China shoot cost 15 crore
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  54. ^ 7 aum Arivu distribution rights sold for 60 crore
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  60. ^ Bharat Creations purchased North American theatrical rights
  61. ^ 7 aum Arivu in Malaysia
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  65. ^ 7 aum Arivu recertification issue

External links[edit]