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Times of India
The film is a passionate portrayal of man-woman relationships and the inter-play of traditional beliefs.
Unlike most films that deal with passion and lust in muffled chatter and ceaseless talk, the scenes in Ayal are mostly explicit. This is a film where women, soggy and smitten, writhe like serpents at the touch of the man they love. Desire spills over in blissful groans in the secrecy of darkness and wetness of water.
Beyond these luscious manifestations of lust, Ayal is about a wanderer, an irresistible charmer who draws women to himself like magnet. Lal plays Gurudasan, the blessed pulluvan who could make serpentine gods visible with his fervent prayers rendered in earthy rhythms. Ineya and Lekshmi Sharma play his two wives, who meld conflicting realms of love, lust and devotion.
The film is about a tramp of a man for whom love knows no restraint. Profound values of morality and fidelity do not weigh him down. There is depth in the way the script seeks to explore Gurudasan. His worships, his weakness as his charm and he pays for it with the life of his son. There is repentance, sense of loss and a vague feeling of guilt that shadow him towards the end.
Ayal has a richness of visuals, be it the simmering sensuousness or the bright, colourful rituals that are scattered throughout the narrative. Women characters, all three of them, his wives and his paramour played by Lena are laced with a boldness closely bordering on a brash expression of lustful expressions. Ayal comes across as one of those films with a nice texture to its narrative and a set of characters rooted deep in rites and beliefs.
At times, there is a mismatch of intensity between scenes of intimacy and the repercussion of such moments which crushes the film from attaining a magnitude it promises at times.