As the title suggests, Iraivi narrates the episodes that unfold in the lives of a few women. Interestingly, the story is told from the standpoint of men, associated with the women in the spotlight.
SJ Surya gets the maximum screen space among the lead actors and has yet again proved that he can go on to become one of the finest actors of present-day Kollywood, if handled well by good directors.
While Karthik has tried hard (too hard perhaps) to convey a bold story, his inefficiency in handling the characters (too many of them) is exposed here. Editing by Vivek Harshan should've been better and music by Santhosh Narayanan is on the average side. His songs too, fail to make an impact.
Overall View: Iraivi is an honest attempt by Karthik Subbaraj. But it looks like the director has bitten off more than he can chew.
Iraivi doesn't begin by establishing its characters, then setting up a main conflict, and finally proceeding toward a conclusion. It's structure is much more loose, which is a characteristic of Subbaraj's work thus far. He's very good at creating interest by only painting the extremities of the plot and engaging the audience by working toward the resolutions as the film goes along.
Part of Subbaraj's past success has been his ability to subvert the tropes of Tamil commercial films and their expectations to create something unusual that still works with a general audience. He's an independent spirit who makes commerical movies.
There are flashes of excellence in Iraivi; a subplot about an unmade film being held hostage by a producer, some interesting - if muddled - heist machinations, and some top shelf acting from Vijay Sethupathi are all highlights. However, it doesn't all fit together the way it could. The film is at least a half an hour too long and takes far too many detours into self-indulgence.
A new and an impressive casting idea is an USP to this film. SJ Suryah, surely proves his mettle as an actor and gets his travel ticket into this world of greasepaint confirmed. Vijay Sethupathi's character might not excite you as you expect him to do in every movie he appears, but what he does fits right in the bar. One cannot deny that the Bobby Simha version powered by Karthik Subbaraj is the best.
Few minute symbolism he carries while narrating his tale, makes Karthik’s passion for filmmaking obvious. One does not become a cult filmmaker just by breaking filmmaking templates; he becomes one even if he breaks the templates present in our society. Iraivi is yet another attempt to reiterate the value of the female gender to not just the male but to females themselves.
Verdict: You cannot enjoy the rain without actually getting drenched! So don't shut yourself down if you hear that it is not an out and out entertainer, rather make yourself vulnerable to this work and you will not regret it.
The film opens beautifully with the three women Vadivukarasi, Kamalinee Mukherjee and Anjali longingly putting their hands out of the windows trying to feel the rain each one a prisoner of their respective men dominated lives. Then there is the lovemaking scene that introduces Vijay Sethupathi and more importantly Pooja Devariya the already liberated young girl. Both these scenes prove the high caliber of writer-director Karthick Subbaraj beyond any doubt.
‘Iraivi’ has brought forth a very intense actor in S.J. Surya who gives an award worthy performance as the alcoholic. Be it the scene when he questions a young filmmaker bragging in the bar, the scene where he has to say sorry to the producer or the final scene in which he has to display many emotions in a single close up shot, S.J. Surya takes top honors.
Verdict: A hard hitting film that has power packed performances from the top notch lead cast that is worth the watch.