Friday, January 28, 2011

Aadukalam Film Review

Aadukalam - Loser

A loser doesn't know what he'll do if he loses, but talks about what he'll do if he wins, and a winner doesn't talk about what he'll do if he wins, but knows what he'll do if he loses. Aadukalam shows the two sides of a character - happy-go-lucky winner and dare-to-do-anything loser. Vetri gives a pathos end to the lead characters life.

Rathnavelu wants to win the cockfight at least once with his long-time nemesis, Pettaikaaran. Reason - the desire of his mother before she dies. Sadly, he never wins.

Pettaikaaran, a veteran in cock-training who kicks Rathnavelu's butt every time in the challenge, succumbs to his envy and ego, to end as a loser.

Karuppu, who was trained by Pettaikaaran, now the reason for Pettaikaaran's guile is forced to abondon his inhabitant.

Dorai, another understudy of Pettaikaaran loses his loved cocks.

Karuppu's mother wanted to clear the debts on their house passes away before it could happen.

Pettaikaaran's wife, Meena, despit being 25 years younger and madly-in-love with him, abandons because of his mistrust.

So in a way, every character ends with losing their dreams. Vetri gives us an open ending, that can be assumed, they end as losers with only positive being Karupu getting his Anglo-Indian girlfriend, Irene.

Aadukalam - Envy

You can't be envious and happy at the same time. Like Macbeth, to attain credit and victory, characters go to any extreme, thus becoming restless and losing their peace of mind (can be put it as piece of mind too) Rathnavelu kills people, lures members from Pettaikaaran team with lucrative offerings, only to no avail. Karuppu, envy of his success, who when poked 'Afraid of losing eh?' is ready to do anything to show he is a winner personified. Pettaikaaran, jealous of all the fame going to his understudy, couldn’t stand to it and hatches plan to spoil Karuppu's moment so as to get back to his respected days. If you desire glory, you may envy Napoleon, but Napoleon envied Caesar, Caesar envied Alexander, and Alexander, I daresay, envied Hercules, who never existed. If Rathnavelu depicts an outright villain in the first half, Pettaikaaran steals the second half with his cunningness and subtle cruelty. To put it in a word - 'Silent Assassin'. We can draw parallels between Rathnavelu and Pettaikaaran, as how covetousness forces people expose their dark side. The Satan shifts from Rathnavelu to Karuppu's godly figure Pettaikaaran and kudos to Vetrimaaran for enfolding these sequences brilliantly.

Aadukalam - Pluses

Dhanush lived and breathed as Karuppu is an understatement. Aadukalam brings Dhanush back to his old acting prowess and he delivers a knock-out performance. Be it love-bug smitten dude, subservient student, blindly trusting his mentor, Dhanush brings out variety of emotions. The stand out scenes are when Dhanush tells Tapsee about his mother when she is no more and on knowing Pettaikaaran deceived him throughout, Dhanush’s body language was amazing. To my surprise, he mouthed Madurai slang quite brilliantly. The good aspect in Dhanush's acting he never cries out loud where it can be a downside giving humour moments for audiences. The tears, coating his eyes, injects you the agony and sorrow, Karuppu going through. Though the initial expections ‘like Kokki Kumar’ were making waves, Dhanush didn’t show any shadow of Kokki Kumar in this movie. Everything is perfect and worked well for Dhanush (including his physique which was a downside in Pudupettai)

Pettaikaaran is one of the best etched out villains in recent times. It is a complete contrast to the complex Brutus characterisation, because he neither killed Caesar for greed, envy nor to preserve his social position. But here, Pettaikaaran is driven by aforementioned forces, painting grey shades to his character.

No separate comedy track and squeezed songs. Both the comedy and songs gels with the movie's flow, not giving any indications of unnecessary scenes.

Editing - Like Polladavan, the movie unfurls into flashback mode after opening sequences and the initial 10 minutes non-linear sequences, that answers what’s and how’s of cockfight is remarkable. Not forget to mention the cock fight before the interval, that holds your interest and actually from where the movie kick-starts, editing is brilliant

Songs were already a rage among audiences and Vetri didn’t spoil the visual expectations.

Cinematography - The shots are pleasant with natural lightings and no extra gimmicks.

Dialogs, Characterisation - Vetri's template is wonderful. He had a story on board and like chess pieces, placed the characters perfectly. Every character has its own motive and moved uniquely. Right from abuses (there are different abuse words, GVM should take a not who always uses 'Otha'), the dialogs are ideal Madurai dialects.

Aadukalam - Minuses

Dorai (Kishore) - It falls between a weakly written and not much scope characterisation. The initial allures with Rathnavelu, makes you sit up expecting a turn around, but it is let loose. Dorai's characterisation lacked penetration

Irene (Tapsee) - God, this girl is bloody beautiful (sundi vitta ratham varum - bloody :P ) but her lip sync is pathetic and stone faced in many sequences. Though she didn’t have much scenes to show her acting ability, she didn’t even attempt to act in the provided scenes. Just like her character, her performance is nothing worth to write off. Though Divya had less scope in Polladavan she was beautiful plus expressive, but Tapsee is beauty and beauty. Dot!

BGM - GV Prakash might be in Polladavan hangover. At many places, you hear Polladavan BGM's and Thalapathy's Chinna Thaai aval pops in few sequences. This guy was promising in Madraspattinam considering his BGM. Aadukalam is a different ball game, accepted, but he didn’t even deliver 50% of Veyil, another rustic village movie that glorified loser.

Pettaikaaran - His moustache at few places acted as a drawback. I couldnt relate to the dialogs and his lip movements, and also his expressions couldnt be captured. The actor didn’t give completeness to the powerful Pettaikaaran, but I am not saying he is worse :) Good for what should be a great one :)

Open Ending- Vetri ended every character losing something for their love, trust and envy. There is no completeness in finely etched characters. Rathnavelu never appears in second half and you keep guessing what happens to Dorai and Meena once the end credits starts rolling.

Bottom-line - It's not life or death it's a game and at the end of the game there is going to be a winner and a loser. Aadukalam lionizes both and Vetri did prove he is not a one film wonder and stamped his long stay in Kollywood's Aadukalam through his Aadukalam.

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