Friday, February 12



Movie - Aagathan (Malayalam)
Director - Kamal
Cast - Sathyaraj, Dileep, Lal, Biju Menon, Charmi, Zarina Wahab, Innocent, Reena Basheer, Shilpa Bala
Music - Ouseppachan
Cinematography - Ajayan Vincent
Editing - V Saajan
Story, Screenplay, Dialogues - Kamal, Kalavoor Ravikumar
Release Date - 12th February 2010

Both the director of the movie Kamal and the hero Dileep have been going through rough patches in their career. Kamal has not made a good movie sinceKarutha Pakshikal in 2006. And Dileep has not had a big hit sinceVinodayathra in early 2007. The trailers and songs from Aagathan which were out some time back, were very impressive and the movie looked very promising from them. Especially because the cast included the veteran actor from Tamil, Sathyaraj, acting for the first time in Malayalam. The trailer depicted the movie as a dark revenge tale, something completely different from what is expected from a Kamal-Dileep combination. But the movie just remains an average fare as the writers and the director have treated the movie in a completely predictable manner. What makes the movie watchable are the performances, music and cinematography.

Aagathan-39The movie begins in Srinagar where a happily living family of four is destroyed when the parents are shot dead by militants. The children- a teenage girl and her young brother escape from the house, only to reach a gun-point. What we see next is that the girl is in a hospital trying to recover from a coma stage. The boy studies and grows up and one fine day, his sister dies at the hospital after years of treatment. The boy grows up to be Gautham Menon (Dileep). He travels to Kerala to find Major Joseph John (Lal) who was one of the people who saved him and his sister from militants. From him, Gautham gets information about the chief of the operation that rescued him, General Hareendra Varma (Sathyaraj). We are then introduced to the General's family who stays in a farmhouse somewhere around Ootty. His daughter Shreya (Charmi) studies in Bangalore and is under constant pressure from her grandmother to get married. Gautham and Charmi have a chance encounter during a bus journey and due to certain circumstances, they miss the bus from a certain point as a result of Gautham's urge to a good deed. Gautham develops a liking towards Shreya and leaves as soon as they reach Bangalore. Shreya also feels a sense of admiration towards Gautham and tries to find him at various places. A romance slowly blossoms between the two even though they hardly meet after that. Gautham stays at an apartment rented to him by Shreya's cousin Dr.Sudhir (Biju Menon). And the romance culminates in a marriage proposal with the approval of the family. So all of them travel from Bangalore to the General's farmhouse to introduce the groom to the father-in-law. But right on the second day, Gautham tells the General that he had an another hidden intention in coming there, which has a strong connection with his wounded past. The incidents that follow forms the rest of the story of Aagathan.

The screenplay is at major fault for the predictability of the movie. If the initial portions shot in Kashmir hadnt been shown and the movie had directly started with the love story, one would have been certainly surprised by the turn of events in the second half. But sadly, that isnt the case here. As the audience is aware of the hero's past, they can easily guess what will be his business with the General. And another thing which could have been done was, not to reveal that Shreya was General's daughter to the audience, at least till the interval point, so that they dont have any suspicion in the love story, which is also not done in the screenplay. As a result, there is absolutely no suspense and anyone can easily guess where the movie is going. But in spite of that, the movie is imminently watchable because it moves at a good pace and has consistently good performances, aided with good music and brilliant camerawork. The climax is a huge let down and severely affects the impact of the movie as a whole. The second half, which shows some promise initially where the audience expects some mind-games between Gautham and the General. But nothing of the sort happens and an extremely silly family song is inserted in the middle of all this, to make matters more worse.

Aagathan-33Dileep puts in yet another impressive performance. Moving away from his usual comedy roles, he shows extreme restraint and underplay in his performance. He looks really good in a stubble and formal clothes in the first half of the film and his romance with Charmi is very believable. In the second half, we see glimpses of his humorous side, but by the latter part of the second half, his characterization becomes very weak, thereby affecting his performance. But on the whole, his performance is very very impressive and we get to see a different side of his acting through this movie and sadly the actor is let down by the weak script towards the end of the movie. Charmi looks extremely pretty and has some good scenes in the first half. She does well in those parts, but is completely ignored in the second half of the film, except for a duet that randomly pops up. Lal was the most impressive among the entire cast. As an alcoholic ex-military man, he shines and displays his comic side yet again with some great lines and humorous scenes which go down very well with the audience. The few scenes which got applause during the entire movie, were the ones featuring him. But the most disappointing part was Sathyaraj, whose Malayalam film debut was hyped so much. The main reason for this disappointment is that his character is the weakest in the movie. The veteran actor tried his best to raise that character above the weak script, but he could not do that beyond a point. So, his whole effort of making an entry into Malayalam films is wasted because he gets such a weak character which doesnt require much from an actor with so many years of experience and who was an expert at doing negative roles at one point of time in Tamil Cinema. His voice was dubbed by two people, Saikumar for the Malayalam dialogues and the usual dubbing artiste speaks good English dialogues in almost every Malayalam movie (I still havent found his name).  Saikumar's voice is so familiar to every Malayali that it looks odd when his voice comes out from a different person. Biju Menon is completely wasted except for one good comic scene in the second half of the film. Otherwise he has nothing to do in the entire film. Innocent's comedy doesnt work one bit. Zarina Wahab who was delightful in this week's other release My Name is Khan,  is also completely wasted in this movie. All she has to do is to stand behind Sathyaraj in the entrie movie, with very few dialogues.

Aagathan-19The music for the film composed by National Award winning composer Ouseppachan, is very good and is one of the few redeeming factors of the film. The song 'Njaan Kanavil' stands out as the best track and has a very warm picturization as well. It is a welcome change to see a Malayalam song being shot in and around Bangalore city with a completely urban feel to the romance between the lead pair. 'Manju Mazha' shot in Kashmir (or someplace which is made to believe as Kashmir) is a very good song, but was not really necessary. And on top of that, the song is repeated once more in a male version which further increases the length of the movie and tests the patience of the viewer. The duet 'Oro Kanavum' is a great song, but was totally unnecessary in the second half. The song is shot in some neat locations, but the really silly dance steps spoil the visualization. There is yet another song 'Munthiri - something' which is shot in Sathyaraj's vineyard in Ootty, and was really laughable, because nobody expected such a song when the movie was going on such a serious note. And Sathyaraj, who was brooding till then, joining in to sing and dance, looked really silly. The background score was very good and enhanced many of the scenes and helped them work better. Cinematography by Ajayan Vincent was the best thing about this movie. The cinematographer, who showed us his amazing skill through Bhramaram, repeates his good work in this one. And like in Bhramaram, he has shown special skill in taking shots on moving vehicles, out of which, one shot inside an auto stands out as the best. He consistently gives great shots and visuals throughout the movie which makes it a visual pleasure to watch the movie in spite of the predictable script.

Aagathan-21On the whole, Aagathan is definitely better than Kamal's recent outings like Goal, Pachakkuthira andMinnaminnikkoottam and is a watchable film. It is definitely not bad and one cannot say many negatives about the film. But with a better and innovative script, this film could have been much, much better and much more engaging. As of now, one can just say that it is an average movie. It doesnt create any thrill or suspense in our minds and as a result, doesnt engage its audience. It has good performances by Dileep and Lal and re-introduces us to a beautiful leading lady, Charmi. The veteran actor Sathyaraj is let down by a weak character. The movie has very good music and one lovely song tops the list. Cinematography by Ajayan Vincent is the most interesting aspect of the film. Go for it, if you have nothing better to do. Kamal seems to have regained some of his lost form, and looks like he is quite updated on the technical parts of filmmaking, but he has to update himself with new methods of writing as well, to make different movies from now on. I had reasonable expectations for this movie, but I am very disappointed with the outcome. The movie is not bad, but is not great either. An average fare.

Rating - 2.5/5

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