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Aasal Movie review
Who's In It
Ajith and more Ajith, of course, as Siva AND a surprising second role - Siva's father, an ethical and enterprising businessman named Jeevanandam who runs a trading company in France.
Sameera Reddy as Sarah, a cultural attaché to France who is also entrusted with Siva's finances and other assets.
Bhavana as Sulabha, a young romantic who works for Mirasi, her late father's friend and now, her guardian.
Sampath as Sam and Rajeev as Vicky, Siva's half-brothers, born of Deivasingham's wife while Siva himself is the boy born out of Jeevanandam's one act of infidelity years earlier.
G. Prabhu as Mirasi, Jeevanandam's long time friend and trusted confidante, who lives in Mumbai and runs his own shipping and trading business.
Suresh as Daniel, a corrupt Tamil-French cop.
Yuhi Sethu as "Don" Samsa, Mirasi's lackey who has delusions of being a mafia don himself, along with his "chamchas" (including Radio One's RJ Balaji), when he is in fact a complete idiot.
Kelly Dorjii as Brijesh Shetty, a fearsome Mumbai don who has a vendetta against Jeevanandam 's family.
Pradeep Rawat as Kalivardhan, Sam & Vicky's uncle - they call him Mama - who was removed from the family business after Mirasi discovered his underhanded methods of working.
What's It About?
Siva is the son of Jeevanandam, a high-stakes trader in France, and works for his father as a troubleshooter of sorts. Cast away by his half-brothers Sam and Vicky from the time he came into the household, Siva turns out to be the ideal son who diligently follows his father's footsteps and heart, turning Sam and Vicky's intense dislike and envy of him into full-blown murderous hatred. Jeevanandam sees this animosity and constantly tries to advise his sons to stay together as family and in business.
To lay out the storyline in a nutshell: After Jeevanandam's sudden death due to his ailing heart, Sam and Vicky go on a rampage to get every penny out of Siva, which - only to keep the harmony in the household, as he had promised his father - he does. Then Vicky goes missing and while Sam is in confused panic, Siva promises to help bring Vicky back if they can all be together once again after everything is over. Siva finds that Vicky has been kidnapped by Brijesh Shetty, a fearsome Mumbai don who craves bloody revenge on Sam and Vicky for having usurped his arms contract from the main ruling cartel (they had done this against their father's wishes and without his knowledge). With the help of his former guardian and his father's old friend Mirasi, Siva rescues Vicky from the cruel and fearsome Brijesh Shetty. Here he also meets the bubbly and girlish Sulabha and the hilarious Don Samsa and his cronies. When Siva and Sarah are on their way back from Mumbai to Paris with Vicky and Sam, something terrible happens and things take a turn for the worse. A rollercoaster ride of greed, violence, retribution, mistrust and conspiracy begins. The rest of the story is action-packed and racy, with the end unravelling the twists and turns of screenplay.
Ajith looks great, is credible in his slick winterwear and urban layered clothing and is all pumped up for the super action blocks. After all, smart greatcoats and slacks, fast car chases and heavy boots are more credible in the Parisian winter setting than India or Malaysia! There is not much by way of long, wordy dialogues from Thala, which is also a good thing, because his character Siva is supposed to be the strong, silent and dangerous type, a man who has become reticent due to having grown up being mocked and rejected by his half-brothers.
Sameera's role is interesting. Sarah is all woman, but almost non-Indian in her mindset - she has a confident, corporate-queen-like stride and dresses like the cultural attaché she is. She suits the personality of an international wheeler-dealer. Her performance is pretty good, especially in a scene where she shows as being drugged and manhandled by Vicky whose advances she has always rejected, much to his fury. Tall and svelte, Sarah has been played well by Sameera, after her college-grad role in Vaaranam Aayiram in 2008.
Sampath as Sam is as hate-worthy as it can get. He comes across well as the young guy suddenly being handed the reigns of villainy and is cruel enough to be good at it, but is not yet smart enough for the kind of cold precision seasoned villains would have. He is completely dishonest, sneaky and murderous. The only person he has true affection for is his brother Vicky.
Rajeev as Vicky is perhaps the best villainous character. As the almost-psychotic younger brother of Sam, he plays his part well. Vicky is not too smart, always on the edge and given to bouts of fury and violence. He is obsessed with Sarah and his volatile personality is revealed every time she rejects his advances.
Kelly Dorjii's Shetty is handsome in a cruel way, has absolutely no humane emotion and is a strong villain's role. His part is perhaps the meatiest in terms of fearsomeness but sadly, not too long. Daniel and Mama have done their jobs of the corrupt (but not exactly evil) French cop and the conniving uncle well.
Sulabha is girlish, somewhat painfully sweet and completely traditional-Indian-woman in her outlook and mindset. She loves Siva, but so does Sarah and she doesn't know what a frumpy character like her can do to equal Sarah's elegance and demeanour. This slight lack of confidence is in keeping with her character and comes across well. Prabhu's role of Mirasi is pretty strong - a little like a surrogate father and in a peer position to the late Deivasingham. Unfortunately, it is not too long a role and it would have been nice to see more of him.
Yuhi Sethu's comedy as Don Samsa is not bad, but he could have upped the ante a little more. The fact of the matter, really, is that the pace and action blocks of the screenplay itself is good enough and doesn't really require any forced comic relief. Of course, Don Samsa's antics came in useful for all the times when Siva used his name to wreak retribution upon those protecting Shetty's interests, without being revealed as Siva himself.
For Action Lovers
Aasal has some great action blocks; in fact, this is the most noteworthy aspect of the movie itself. Ajithkumar himself has composed and orchestrated many of these and the James Bond feel is the strongest here. Macho moves, good camera movements, interesting blocks and tackles and smart clips in the scenes make for a satisfactory action sequences every time. Perhaps it is the gorgeous Parisian setting or the smart winterwear on everyone in the movie or the great composition, but it is definitely different from what we have seen of Tamil movies in a long time without being over-engineered! And the good news is that all this action is not overdone or gory, just adrenaline-busting and interesting.
Looking for emotion and sentiment? Aasal doesn't have much of either, but in any case, either of these would have been a little out of place. The father-son bond and love is shown in an understated manner - after all, they ARE people dealing with all sorts of high-stakes traders and dangerous men. Their very nature doesn't allow them to be cold and precise in one scene and melodramatic in another. Of course, Siva going out of his way to rescue his half-brothers who hate him is perhaps the biggest example of how much he cares for his father's words and that his family stays together. Meanwhile, on the romance front: Sarah's love for Siva has been long-standing - for over 15 years; but she hasn't had the courage to tell him of it. They also share a friendship and camaraderie which is different from the usual "masala" movies of feminine charms on a macho stud. Sulabha's affections for Siva are different and tinged with hues of uncertainty and envy. But which one of them gets Siva? Here, the decision is bound to satisfy the non-urban audiences.
The Thala Mania
Thala Ajith himself doesn't mouth his superiority with clichéd punch dialogues. But there is quite a bit of Thala-mania in the other protagonists' conversations! "Airport po, thala varum", "Dai, dai, dai, ange po, Thala, ange, Thale paatheyaa!" and such insertions of the word Thala and Thalai in others' dialogues are evident throughout the film. Of course, we must remember that this movie is for action movie buffs and Ajith fans - THEY are bound to be screaming in jubilation at this!
Unfortunately, the music of Bharadwaj, though interesting with songs inserted in the right places in the movie, doesn't match up to the otherwise superior look and feel of the movie when listened to on the radio or your music system. On the other hand, they are definitely better on the big screen where the visuals enhance the sound, so it's not such a loss after all. Similarly, while we would rate Aasal higher in the substance-factor as compared to another slick and international-looking movie like Billa (whose biggest plus was the fantastic visuals by Nirav Shah), the cinematography of Prashanth (formerly assistant to Nirav) needed a little more consistency and work. But we watched Aasal's preview on a smaller screen, so perhaps the richness and cool de-sat feel would be better seen on bigger and more technological advanced screens.
Aasal is a satisfactory movie to watch for Ajith fans and action lovers. It is not easy to bring about the pace and raciness of screenplay as Ajithkumar and Saran have done here. The movie is not too long and ends on a feel-good note. Great action, good visuals and not much to complain about technically. Unlike several action movies that have released in recent times amidst much pomp and hype, Aasal actually has a credible story and screenplay and is definitely not - as they say in Chennai - "blade" to watch. It is well-packaged and can appeal to moviegoers across genres and regions. Finally, a movie one doesn't have to be disgruntled about!
Bring it on! The Sivaji Productions team, spearheaded by stalwarts like Mr. Ramkumar and Prabhu and assisted ably by theit scions Dushyanth and Vikram, have backed a winning horse. This Ajith-starrer is definitely to be watched and enjoyed. Don't come out of a James Bond film or the new Sherlock Holmes blockbuster and start comparing them with Aasal. Just enjoy and appreciate what has been offered to our very own Tamil audiences and sensibilities and encourage filmmakers to try simple, new and effective movies every time.
Review by Shakthi Girish
Please note: Every review on Galatta.com is written by the person who has watched the movie. Therefore, while conscious effort is made to give a fair, unbiased and ethical opinion, every review will have a personal element and opinion to it. Ultimately, every movie experience is a personal one and readers should watch each movie on their own terms.