Aelay Movie Review
A pretty enjoyable rural drama based on father-son relationship
Story & Narration
Technical Aspects & Music
Halitha Shameem is a prominent young filmmaker in Tamil cinema. She proved her credentials without any doubt, in the 2019 sleeper hit Sillukaruppatti which has since gone on to become a Netflix blockbuster. She is back in the spotlight with Aelay, starring two of her Sillukaruppatti actors in the lead roles; Samuthirakani and Manikandan.K play father & son respectively in this rural tale revolving around the strained relationship between the two.
The film has quite a few enjoyable twists and turns and is a fairly engaging affair despite its generous runtime and very slow pace. The rural flavour, mood have been presented very authentically. There is also an enjoyable romance track between Manikandan and newbie Madhumathi who comes across as a natural performer. Manikandan proves again that he is a promising young actor to watch out for.
We are used to seeing Samuthirakani as the righteous Mr. Perfect in film after film. Only a few films like Kaala and Rajini Murugan showed a different side to this ace actor. In Aelay, he is at his uninhibited best and his antics are really enjoyable. He enacts a ‘Kalavani’ type man (a local ice-cream seller) who is naughty beyond his years. His careless, unruly ways embarrass his young son, who distances himself from his dad. Samuthirakani’s old-age look could’ve been done better; we actually get to see him in dual roles too (not a big spoiler!). Seeing Aelay will rekindle some memories of Rajini Murugan due to the similar nature of some key events in the story.
The film’s lush countryside locations have been captured nicely by Theni Eswar. The songs and background score by Kaber Vasuki and Aruldev also elevate our viewing experience.
Halitha has peppered Aelay with many mainstream moments which will be lapped up by the common man more than the serious film buff / critic. She has made a very accessible film unlike her more elitist previous film. That said, Aelay could’ve been pruned a lot. The events following a person’s death have been shown exhaustively, and this takes up a lot of runtime. The eventual total runtime is more than 150 minutes. Aelay is set for a direct television premiere this coming Sunday on Vijay Television (Feb 28th, 3PM). Had the film been a theatrical release, one feels that the team may have been more watchful of the runtime and the screenplay pace.
Aelay Movie Review Rating: 3/5
Reviewed by @Lmkmoviemaniac