Aadai Review & Rating
Aadai Review: Amala Paul's Moment of Heroic Survival Is Sure To Impress
There are two types of films the audience expects these days, noted box office pundit Scott Mendelson says - plot centered and character Centred. He further elaborated saying that nowadays the audience aren’t much caring about world-building (in terms of franchises) but it is the characters they care for much. If they are sold a particular character or love a character, they will flock to the theatres to watch the character on the big screen than a new fantastical world. Couldn’t be put better this writer says.
It is the individuals who appeal more to the audience than the worlds or the worlds’ problems. If you sell them a character or an actor in a particular role, and if that role clicks with them, all you need is a serviceable story and some technical expertise. One such film these days where a character clicked or at least received wider recognition among the audience and critics is Kamini. Kamini is Amala Paul at her daring best.
Though the movie gained attention first with the shocking first look poster of the actress where she all but naked just covered the private’s with what looks like a... Then came the stunner. For the first time in a mainstream South Indian Cinema, an actress acted naked.
The act received appreciation and criticism in equal measure. But what everyone misses here is Amala Paul’s determinism I’m playing the role. Anyone can dare at some point of time. But to be rationally deterministic in standing up to the challenge like this takes some will power. Amala not just played the most demanding role in a straight-up A-list mainstream film but the most physically and mentally challenging.
The movie made its message visible right from the beginning, in the way it starts. In a stunningly made animation work, Rathnakumar shows how a group of tribal women who fight for the right to cover their breasts. There, at that time, tax is imposed on those who want to cover their breasts. Sets the tone.
The world of Kamini
Rest we all know. We get to know Kamini who is actually Suthanthira Kodi. She changed her name so that she can prove her independence. She is the real Kamini. She loves to love her life without any inhibitions and boundaries. She works at a television station and she goes with some cruelly fun pranks and makes a living out of it. The only anchoring point of her life is her mother who is rooted in tradition.
Her mother’s only wish is to see her daughter leave aside her tomboyish ways (it’s a small word to describe Kamini anyway) and wear a traditional red saree (worm generally by a bride) and wear a few jewels and flowers like a good Tamil Ponnu. Nah! Kamini hangs around with her friends, the group dominated by boys, and drinks, and smokes, and takes whatever it makes her feel free. The debate shouldn’t be whether she is right or wrong. But it’s she. And she is Kamini. And she is like this.
Even when she wants to listen to the wish of her mother, Kamini does so on her terms. It is her birthday and she believes in a true birthday dress. But she decides to honor the wish of her mother and goes to read the news for the day, by locking her friend Jenny who is the star newsreader at the channel. She receives appreciation and lets her mother know of her wish being fulfilled.
Then comes the fateful moment when she enjoys a wild party after which she finds herself stark naked in the office floor with all her friends banished and she is at her most vulnerable position. The last time she talked to her mother, she was intoxicated beyond limits and her mother worried even at that moment. Her mother knows whatever the situation she is in, Kamini is capable of taking care of herself. But what if the worst thing happens? Or if she is in a position she’s unable to come out of?
With this premise comes the rest of the film. Kamini’s survival from all the bad elements. Granted, every opponent Kamini faces from now on is a male for the most part. But who left her in such a dire situation? Jenny in a revenge mission? Some unknown men? Her friends themselves? Or a stranger? Or even the people who were victims of her practical jokes? Does she deserve such cruel punishment? Or it is part of her fate’s idea of reaching her an elaborate lesson? It could even be a moment to prove her strength.
Writing and direction
It is impossible to watch this film without being judgemental. As the filmmaker made this film by inserting his judgments. Or his way of thinking about society. Rathnakumar has done a splendid job when it comes to imagery. Take, for example, when a pack of dogs chases Kamini. She runs for her life. The dogs bearing their teeth and have already tasted blood. Isn’t it obvious who the dogs actually are?
See another example. In the initial moments of her travails, Kamini covers herself with a mirror with the mirror clutches to her body facing her. We watch the character from the backside and her front in the mirror (the cinematographer did extremely well to keep the entire thing from being titillating). It’s a powerful and penetrating moment which question our own values.
But where the film is undone is the director’s decision to go too preachy in the final 30 minutes of the film. For all the virtues the film had, whether we like it or not is another matter, the reveal that comes towards the climax and the way it went on a Upadeshamrutam mode killed the momentum it built till that point. What could have been a shockingly daring attempt went from being one of its kind to okayish in these few minutes?
The music of the film is contemporary and great in complementing the narration. The cinematographer did an extraordinary job. The editing is first rate. The production design is excellent. The production values are good. Technically, Aadai is one of the best films in recent memory.
Whether you like all this nudity issue and other things that are shown on the screen, Aadai is not a film to be ignored. Amala Paul had brought heaven to earth in making the release possible yesterday evening and her belief on this subject and the director’s vision is well justified. Go and watch it if this is the film for your type. But better avoid if you yourself have a titillating feel. No. This film is not made for that.
- Amala paul
- The audacity of storytelling
- Inch-perfect work by the technical crew
- The final 30 minutes get preachy to undone the work till that point
Pycker Rating: 3 out of 5
Reviewed by GitacharYa
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What is Aadai About?
Aadai or the dress (or shall we say dress up?) has been in the news ever since Amala Paul’s first look was revealed late last year. The stunning image where Amala was seen clutching a makeshift weapon like her life is depended on it. She was battered and bruised. And was covering her private parts barely with a makeshift dress. Or should we say, cover?
Sterling. The teaser which started with the search for the heroine on the complaint of her mother when she goes missing, her mother says her girl was heavily drunk when she last made her a phone call. The Rathnakumar directorial grabbed their attention if the movie buffs all over and the film is going to release in all major languages. Moreover, it caught the attention of the who and who’s of the modern cinema.
An intriguing and bumpy ride
We follow Kamini who is both daring and vulnerably bold. She’s every inch of a modern girl without any inhibitions. Remember the part where hear her saying when we remove our dress, all we are left with is the birthday dress. She also played several different dresses or avatars which have similarities to some of the iconic comic book characters like Joker, and Harley Quinn.
Apart from this, with the heroine stuck up in the top floor of an apartment complex or a office building. She doesn’t know who her attackers (or violators) are. Her mother’s searching for her and the police are lethargic as is their wont. Mostly, it appears that Amala uses all her wits to survive and then take revenge. The beauty of the promotion campaign for this film is that, it story is up for interpretation.
Amala Paul in the role of her life
Amala Paul who came back after taking a sabbatical has went through a lot in the few years since her wedding to director A. L. Vijay and the divorce. She scored a few good roles in films like Ratsasan. But this is, Kaamini, the role she plays in Aadai is surely the role of her life. She gets to show a wide range of emotions and a different mindset from the traditional heroines in the female oriented films we are accustomed to nowadays.
Rathnakumar and his team
Rathnakumar comes up with an explosive film as the follow up to his debut flick. The movie is produced by Viji Subrahmaniyan on V Studios banner. Pradeep Kumar and Oorka band compose the musical score of the film which appears intriguing. Vijay Karthik Kannan’s cinematography has the look and feel pertaining to the genre.
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