Last June, when Bollywood Director Anurag Kashyap released his film Gangs of Wasseypur, he dedicated it to three specific directors filmmakers from Tamil cinema - Ameer, Sasikumar and Bala. He stated that the "Madurai triumvirate" was responsible for bringing him back to his grassroots and making him plot a story in a milieu that was an integral part of his life. Two of Ameer Sultan's films are believed to have hit critical acclaim for the same reason, but the director takes a turn in Aadhibhagavan and treads into commercial cinema. The results, as you might think, were predictable.
Over the past few years, South Indian cinema has produced some magical films, making way for several directors who stick to their ideologies. Considering Ameer's track record, Aadhibhagavan had every right to be something similar. The fact that people want to watch it because it is an Ameer film more than just a Jayam Ravi film tells enough about the audience expectation. This promise that was never really made will be the death of Aadhibhagavan, despite all the different things the director can try his hand at.
So this film has been in the making for two years, maybe even more. The trailers looked promising and offered some insight into the supposedly dark plot with some added romance. However, the immediate drop in Ameer's standards in evident after the first few scenes in the film. It is outrageously violent and filled with bloodshed for most it's part and you can't go on for ten minutes without seeing bad guys shoot or stab each other. The sad part is, the story doesn't do any justice to knit around all the gunfire and killing.
Aadhibhagavan is peculiar in a lot of ways. Usually, action films, especially ones where the hero plays a double role, represent the classic battle of good versus evil or brothers teaming up against doomsday. Here, the hero is a bad guy and he encounters more bad guys ranging from foot soldiers who pack guns to dons who devise dastardly plans. What you get is a screenplay that has been ravaged with plot holes and insane twists that are nowhere near palpable. The director would have had an entirely different reaction in his mind when he ran through the script.
Jayam Ravi has the hardest job to do in the film. He has to play a dark hero and do numerous stunts on his part to make the film successful. On the other hand, he has to play an even viler villain who showcases feminine characteristics. The plot doesn't support him in any way, and the crisis his character faces in the film seems to be redundant on his efforts as the lead. While he does do a good job in most scenes, his role as Bhagavan is artificial. That's two years of his career spent on a film that is to be trolled by many on the Internet.
Neetu Chandra, who used to be a sexy lady, decides to do more than just romance in this film. Her character just wants to do everything - bore you by doing nothing and charming the don of dons, then trick him to show that she is actually with another don, and then finally showcase her Kungfu skills in a penultimate fight. Meaning no disrespect to her efforts, that's just too crazy for anything we'd like to see on screen.
The rest of the film is littered with different characters, all of who add to the bloodbath that's on display. Babu Antony's choice was obviously made because of his martial art skills but he is quite unnecessary simply because he really isn't the villain. The only character in the film that is endangered by the Mafia is Sudha Chandran who plays the hero's mother, but even she chooses to stay away from the entire insanity by shooing her son away. They are just misled pieces in a chess game that fall prey to the screenplay.
Behind everything, there's a technical team who are working out multiple locations including Bangkok, Mumbai, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh. Yuvan Shankar Raja probably holds the next biggest name in the list, and does enough to adhere to the Mafia wars with his music. His songs are passable at best, and he doesn't have too much scope to improvise with the background score. Devaraj's camera deserves most credit for capturing all the fiasco and making them presentable, but once again the efforts are let down by sub-par editing by S.P.Ahmed.
At the end of it all, you are more than just disappointed. Here's a entire list of promising names who could have come up with a masterpiece, even if they wanted it to be an action film. Instead, Ameer chose commercialism over his real traits. You can't leave gaping plot holes and use pointless twists to cover up for something wrong at the fundamental level. His next film, Kannabiran, will once again be under the radar and is guaranteed to be better than this, even if he doesn't try.
Rating - 2/5 - insane storyline and unnecessary dramatics that just don't work
Verdict - packed with violence, absurdity and heartburn