Review in 140 words or less: Vettai

Aarya and Madhavan in Vettai.

Of brothers, sisters, and gangsters

Rating: *

Despite the pomp and show that accompanies it, Vettai is a frivolous entertainer accompanied by flashy fight sequences. Post the success of Paiyya, filmmaker N. Lingusamy treads down the beaten path and displays the survival of a loving brotherhood in a rough town.

Portrayed as an action hero in Run, Madhavan’s timid appearance in Vettai is a sheer delight. When the heroines’ intro song rolls on, I felt a connection with the 50s where heroines enjoyed the privilege of having their own intro number. Such privilege is a rarity today.

Footnote: Do filmmakers still believe that chartbusters can largely help in improving box office collections?

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Review: Aasal

L-R – Kelly Dorjee, Sameera Reddy, Ajith Kumar, Rajeev Krishna and Sampath Raj

Chain smoker’s vengeance on a non-smoking filmgoer

Aasal  (U/A)

Director: Saran

Starring: Ajith Kumar, Sameera Reddy, Bhavana, Prabhu, Sampath Raj, Rajeev Krishna, Pradeep Rawat, Kelly Dorjee, Suresh and Yugi Sethu

Genre: Action

Rating: No stars for the Ultimate Star has been

In the Arabian Sea mid-waters, off the seashore of Mumbai (Bombay), a small settlement is established by the rogue boaters. Due to the large presence of Chinese traders, the settlement is named China Town. Shiva (Ajith Kumar) is facing eight Chinese gangsters (or were they just laborers). He cracks all of their bones. Even then, three of them have the strength to flee from the scene. Shiva pursues them and cracks more of their bones. Why is our protagonist a bone-cracker? Throughout the film, he cracks the bones of different villains. I’m also surprised that a gun-dealer didn’t have an extra gun and instead had to assemble a disassembled gun to shoot Shiva.

Aasal has a lot of these scenes. The film also has loud and blaring sounds. Bharadwaj’s BGM is quite messy. The Ajith Kumar-Saran combo has never made a film so bad. Luckily, Yugi Sethu’s humor provides the much expected relief from getting bored to death. But, how can Yugi Sethu meet a person twice? And in Paris, the city of tourists and wine lovers where it is highly impossible to meet a stranger again? The screenplay becomes the problem again. There’s a French-Indian cop, Daniel Dharmaraj (Suresh) who does his best in overacting. Rajeev Krishna whose second coming has been mostly with villainous roles proves to be the biggest muck-up of the day.

For Ajith Kumar, Billa was a revolutionary film. He proved his mettle with remakes and was at his stylish best. His next film, Aegan bombed at the box office but increased the style factor. In Aasal, his sideburns and spiked hair (a result of too much Brylcreem and uneven hair coloring) makes him look terrible. I’ve never seen Ajith this bad. And, the chain smoking activity involving the cigar isn’t really appreciative. Although, he gave up the ‘Ultimate Star’ title, Ajith Kumar is still referred to as ‘Thala’ in the film. Prabhu plays a Mumbai based businessman, Mirasi who must have chosen a proper wig. Secondly, why does he wear Hawaiian shirts in Mumbai?

The story in one view somewhat resembles The Lion King. Just make the animals into humans and Africa into Paris, you’ll get the picture. Mufasa the King is the father, Jeevanandham played by Ajith Kumar. Mufasa has only one son Simba while here he has three sons (two from the first marriage and one illegitimate). Take Shiva, the illegitimate son as Simba who grows up with most of his father’s love. Much like  Scar, the evil uncle to Simba, we have Pradeep Rawat playing the evil uncle, Kalivardhan. The two legal sons jointly hate the third and thus they team up with the uncle to get rid of both – father and son. The son’s escape from death and vengeance forms the crux of Aasal.

Aasal fails to perform as an Ajith Kumar starrer. The film is his worst in recent times. Much like Bheema, Kandhaswamy, Aegan and Villu, Aasal becomes another film that is technically sound and logically nothing.