I'm a big fan of Karthik Subbaraj.
The guy knows how to pack and distribute indie films as commercial cinema so they can sell well without him having to compromise on either cinematic quality or financial success.
His filmography boasts of two films that are genre-galloping, different-from-the-trend and yet entertaining.
With Iraivi, Subbaraj adds another film against his name that is hard to assign a specific genre without doing it a certain amount of disservice.
More topical than cinematic in its production, Iraivi does in parts work as brilliantly as the director's previous two films even if it does falter at quite a few places too.
The film is Subbaraj's least stylized venture yet, which was most likely an intentional call so the focus would remain on the narrative and- more so- on the narrative's intent.
While I would not want to delve into the plot due to shortage of time, at the crux of it lie the same two things that form the crux of every male dominated social structure-
1. Responsible men conveniently forgetting to behave responsibly when the time comes,
2. Women conditioned over several generations to bear the consequences of this irresponsible behaviour without realising they are better off simply walking away.
To the extent of achieving what it sets out to convey, the film does succeed in making us wonder at how the practices we generally consider as 'normal' and 'day-to-day' are utterly demeaning and degrading to women; not just any other women, but the same women we claim to love and care for.
If only Subbaraj would've cut the script by a third of its length and maybe mulled over the execution a little longer, I am sure we would have got to watch something more polished and sorted.
I thought it was the actors that kept the film going at places where the story seemed to be going everywhere and nowhere. (I concede that the hype around Vijay Sethupathi is justified. The guy can act.)
On the whole, I would not go so far as calling it a perfect film. But Subbaraj's Iraivi is most certainly a film that is relevant in today's times.
Catch trailer here: