Aadukalam – the (un)fair playing field.

“Irene-u, I am lou you!” is one of those lines that will go down history books. And I mean it in a good way.

Image Courtesy: Wikipedia

Rooster fights (from the suburbs of Madurai) haven’t been seen like this in Tamil cinema in a long time. A joyous first half establishing Karuppu (rather convincingly played by Dhanush) as a loyal happy-go-lucky ‘irresponsible’ youngster who is very tactful in training roosters for fights. Then, there is our lovely Irene (played by Taapsee Pannu? Is that her name? Like velai pannu, matter pannu, Taapsee pannu?) who is looking for ‘belonging’ (which she finds rather cinematically in Karuppu’s company). There is Durai (played by Kishore who I don’t seem to have watched much before) who seems to be so easily manipulated, that you wonder if the director hasn’t ever lived a ‘real life’. There is a Rathnasamy (played by Nareyn, says wikipedia) who is a uppukkuchappaani villain. There is Pettaikaaran who is finally the real villain. There are lots more Anglo-Indian people (who are Irene’s relatives), disoriented Policemen, drunk friends, submissive wives, disgruntled mothers etc. who make very little difference to the end product.

Image Courtesy: movies.sulekha.com

A poignant story of trust and betrayal placed in the rustic background of Madurai with characters that seem real, Aadukalam is indeed a film worth spending time and money on. Although I thought the love story of Karuppu and Irene is an accessory without purpose, it is very well executed and gives the viewer the few rare smiles in between. Each relationship in the film is very real, characters with whom you can make a connection! (that younger brother of Irene’s reminds me of my younger brother! Indeed a shame that we have come to speaking in English to each other!) The rooster fights are timed to perfection, long enough to keep you curious and not so long that you are bored. The crisp edits work wonders for those scenes.

GV Prakash seems to have got a sudden flash of music sense! ‘Yathe yathe’ and ‘otha sollala’ ring in my head even now! A surprise from GV, for sure!

As a delight to watch for 2 and a half hours, this film is surely not flawless. It is all about manipulation and betrayal in a way that sounds like nobody has even a tinge of intelligence. It needn’t have gone as far as it did (killing as many people on the way) if one person of all those people used basic intelligence! Blind trust could be the argument, but I don’t believe so many people fell for that one ploy.

The film is completely predictable. One can pretty much say what will happen next. But what works for the film is the fact that you hope your guess doesn’t come true. In all, a fresh film written with finesse and executed with interest, no doubt. But Betrimaaran hasn’t ventured too far. It is film very much within the boundaries of normal-regular-cliched Tamil cinema with songs, dance, fights, love story, righteous parents of the heroine, sacrificial girlfriend and a running away scene. Isn’t it high time we dropped the unnecessary adornment?

I’ve just got one question. Why do pretty, educated, English speaking, middle class women still run away with good-for-nothing ‘heroes’? Why ya why?

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Aadukalam – the (un)fair playing field.

15 thoughts on “Aadukalam – the (un)fair playing field.

  1. Probably because its every small town man’s dream to romance a english speaking fair maiden. And the cinema markets this idea to make money. Similar theme – Ajab Prem ki Ghazab Kahani:)

    1. Considering it is a Man’s view, you are absolutely right! Tamil cinema has a glorious track record of poor men wooing rich women and it most cases taming them! High time it changes! :(

  2. suresh says:

    I like his film to the core.there was some dragging moment in second half.
    overall its very good film in pongal release.

    another thing this film have no commerical element or masala scene in the movie.

    one of the better movie of the pong release than crap siruthai and boring kalavan

  3. I don’t think ending is really left to interpretation, Rathna. I think it is very very clear is saying that Karuppu is a ‘sacrificial’ character who is the real ‘good guy’ in the film. And that is shown at the end of the film as well!

  4. Totally loved the movie !!

    and the twists in the movie are something that makes me watch it again and again. It really shows how Dhanush has matured as an actor . Full points to him for his acting and hope he takes such serious roles ! Love how he casually introduces humor when trying to woo the heroine ..

    The songs are pretty cool . Yathe Yathe is on the top of my playlist since the time I heard it ..

    Very nice review ! Exploring your blog ! Will watch the other movies soon and comment on your other posts !

  5. Arvind says:

    Watched it sometime back….I cannot help, but compare Vetrimaran’s earlier film ‘polladhavan’…there was something completely amiss in this film…I felt the director did not have the mastery over the space (kalam) in this one as much as he had it in Polladhavan…the nuances he brought out between the villan brothers in polladhavan was not there either with Pettaikaran or Durai….loved the songs and the tune…felt it had potential for better picturaisation…I am not at all convinced by the climax…for so much build up around a ‘hero’ like Dhanush, he should have stood the ground and fought…atleast, like his rooster…shame….best comment in the theater when Pettaikaran commits suicide after Dhanush confronts him with why-me-after-all-it-is-you emotional blah – “Machi, ithukku perthan pesiye saagadikirathu…” (by the same fans who spontaneously danced for Aathi and Otha sollala)

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