Ispade Rajavum Idhaya Raniyum signifies the spade and heart suits that we see in playing cards. Both the suits are completely contrasting in their features and differ from each other. Our spade is Gautham (Harish Kalyan) and the heart is Tara (Shilpa Manjunath). The film starts with Gautham's voice-over that says, "Namakku adhigam pudichavanga mela dhan adhigam kovam irukum. Namma adhigam nesikravanga mela dhan adhiga veruppum irukkum" (We tend to show our anger only to the people who we love very much). The entire film deals with this one line.
They fall in love gradually with every meeting and the relationship goes strong. The sweetness in the relationship slowly starts to become sour when possessiveness and ego come to the fore. What can a man's ego do to a relationship is what IRIR is all about. The film pays homage to films like Kattradhu Tamizh, Kaatru Veliyidai, Tamasha, and you can draw the similarities between the lead characters of these films and the Raja Rani in this film. The writing is confined and neat and you see Ranjit Jeyakodi's intelligence through that. The dialogues contain deep inner meanings and philosophies and it makes you look at life from a different perspective.
Having strong writing is proportional to the characters of the film and on that note, the characterisation is strong. The reasoning behind Gautham's arrogant attitude is mature and acceptable and it adds a different flavour. You might wonder why he had to create an issue in the club during his first meeting with Tara. But, you get the answer during the course of the proceedings. His character is explained in depth with every situation and that becomes the essence of the film.
The first half is just close to an hour and it deals with the positive romantic moments between the pair and the establishment of the characters. Things are completely contrasting in the latter half and there is so much into it. This 90-minute long portion explores the problems and the dark side of a relationship. We are shown the adverse effects and the extent to which a man could go when he is mentally disturbed in his romantic life. This is a trippy part of the movie that takes you through a wavering ride.
At the same time, the same second half might also not work for the mainstream audience as the film is set in a completely different mood from the first half. The pace is also a concern and one could feel that the scenes are elongated in the last one hour. Gautham and Tara repeatedly argue over the same conflict again and again and over a point in time, that becomes redundant and the audience tend to lose patience. This also makes the proceedings dull and you don't see any engagement to keep the audience hooked. The characters cry and long for each other but you don't feel that intensity in many parts. The film will take you through a dark trip that can be eccentric and unusual. If you can take that trip, the film will be a meaningful ride but if not, IRIR will be a testing experience. Try adapting to the eccentricity of the film, or you are going to worry for yourself ending up in the wrong film.
Coming to the performances, IRIR can be termed to be Harish Kalyan's best ever outing and the young actor is on a full rage mode. He strikes the right chord and his fierce attitude puts the screen on fire. He is full of energy and emotions that are brilliantly explored. If you saw a boy next door character in his previous outing Pyaar Prema Kaadhal, then this is a complete changeover for him. You do not see an intense and eccentric character like Gautham in your daily life and to an extent, he is relatable to the character of VC from Kaatru Veliyidai. Shilpa Manjunath gets a meaty role and she aces it with conviction. Though there are issues like the artificiality in the acting (in a few scenes) and the dubbing, it can be overlooked as on the larger perspective, she puts up a good performance.
Ma Ka Pa Anand as one of the friends is very interesting and the frequency in which he uses the word Kumar puts a smile on the audience's faces. Bala Saravanan also helps with the laughter quotient. His "Modhalla Indha stalking na enna nu solli tholainga da" (Dude, first tell me what does stalking even mean) moment is sure to leave the theatre in splits. The innocence in his character will connect with the mainstream audience. Ponvannan as Harish Kalyan's father brings his experience into play, putting up a mature act. His characterisation also needs a special mention, when he asks his son to understand the situation or let go of the girl and not have a hangover with the same ego issue.
Director Ranjit Jeyakodi shines as a writer but as a director, he could have had the right packaging to cater to the mainstream audience. The director's take on the intense side of romance might not connect for the majority of the people. Kavin Raj, the 22-year-old cinematographer makes a striking debut with this romantic drama and he shows breeziness through his visuals. The love and mood are spread through the colours used in the film and the visual form is neatly explored. Though the songs do not make a big impact, Sam CS' background score is highly appreciable. He doesn't disappoint with the re-recording and the score happens to be a major aid to showcase the emotions. The musical score of the film is a definite positive. Bavan Sreekumar's editing is apt and helps in setting up the mood of the film.