Movie - Aadukalam (Tamil)
Director - Vetrimaaran
Producer - Kathiresan
Cast - Dhanush, Tapsee, Kishore, Jayabalan, Jayaprakash, Nareyn
Music & Background Score- GV Prakash Kumar
Cinematography - R Velraj
Editing - Kishore TE
Art - Jackie
Stunts - Late Rambo Rajkumar, Rajshekhar
Sound - T Udayakumar
Story, Screenplay, Dialogues - Vetrimaaran
Release Date - 14th January 2011
Dhanush and Vetrimaaran came together in 2007 for the first time to give a mindblowing film called Polladhavan which was a completely new experience to Tamil Cinema viewers. The experiment stayed within commercial cinema constraints, yet had a distinct style and approach which was new to Tamil Cinema. It was lauded as Dhanush's career best performance, and now, with the same team, Dhanush has outshined his own career best though KP Karuppu in Aadukalam. A brilliantly made movie which would satisfy fans of both commercial and realistic cinema, Aadukalam is one of the best Tamil movies to have come out in recent times and the clear winner among the Pongal releases.
Pettaikkaran (Jayabalan) and the cop Rathnasamy (Nareyn) are arch rivals in the rooster fight competitions that are the life and soul of many people in Madurai. Dhorai (Kishore) and Karuppu (Dhanush) are Pettaikkaran's trusted aides and they have been doing extremely well in training roosters for fights. Rathnasamy is from a family which used to be known for its victories in rooster fight tournaments since the time of his ancestors. But for a very long time now, Rathnasamy has been losing out on every damn rooster fight against Pettaikkaran. He wants one last fight with Pettaikkaran's roosters to prove his honour in front of his dying and ever-complaining mother. Pettaikkaran on the other hand had decided to stop having rooster fights with Rathnasamy. In the meanwhile, Karuppu meets Irene (Tapsee) during one of his escapades and falls head over heels in love with her and slowly tries to woo her in every possible way he knows. The story then proceeds through a lot of twists, turns, jealousy, betrayals and lot of high voltage action.
Vetrimaaran must be lauded for taking up a subject which is strikingly different from the regular fare we're used to seeing. And he has also managed to make Aadukalam stand out from the so-many Madurai based movies that have been coming out since the success of Paruthiveeran and Subramaniapuram. Rooster fights is an interesting concept that no director has tried before and this sets the backdrop for Vetrimaaran's tale of relationships, jealousy and betrayal. Despite being Chennaiites, both Dhanush and Vetrimaaran have created a Madurai which is as real as it can get. Vetrimaaran's script is strong and tight and explores relationships with a microscopic view, staying within an entertaining format. The rooster fights make you bite your nails with anxiety, and the second half the action transfers to the trainers from the roosters. The characterizations are done brilliantly, and so are the dialogues. Even the climax of the movie is extremely different from conventional endings. Another fact which deserves special mention is that Vetrimaaran has included filmography and bibliography of films and books that have been useful for reference in making this film, ranging from Amorres Perros to Virumaandi and Thevar Magan. Now, not many directors do that.
Dhanush delivers his career best performance as the lovable KP Karuppu. He is definitely one of the best actors in the country. He may not have six pack abs or Greek God looks, but every single person who has seen his work can blindly say that he is a stunning actor. Dhanush gets the Madurai lingo flawlessly right and slips so naturally into the character that it is hard to imagine that he was performing as that character. Watch out for him in the romantic scenes and the one scene where he talks to Tapsee after a tragedy in the second half. He is mind blowing. Tapsee is one of the cutest things I have seen on screen in a long long time. Each time she appears on screen, she just lights it up. Her acting is not bad and has a wonderful screen presence. The only problem was her lip sync in an otherwise decent act. Kishore, as we all know is a fabulous actor and he reinforces that fact with his performance in this film. Looking drastically different, his Dhorai is one of the pillars of the story. Jayabalan as the manipulative guru Pettaikkaran is brilliant and extremely natural. Nareyn as the cop Rathnasamy was also very good, but his character loses prominence in the second half. The wonderful Jayaprakash makes a fleeting appearance as well. The rest of the supporting cast, most of which comprises of newcomers are extremely natural and effective.
GV Prakash's music was a chartbuster since the audio release of the film. 'Yathe Yathe' has been on loop on almost everyone's playlists and that song is just too good and no words can describe the experience of listening to that song. 'Otha Sollala' is another beautiful kuthu song where Dhanush breaks into an impromptu jig in the middle of the Madurai roads, his mind going wild with love. 'Ayyayyo', a beautiful song by SPB is also wonderfully picturized showcasing the nightlife of the ordinary, in Madurai. The Porkkalam rap is also juxtaposed well into the narrative. GV Prakash has also excelled with the background score of the film.
Aadukalam has a very strong technical side as well. Cinematography by Velraj is painstakingly realistic and the kind of shades he has given to the visuals completely complemen the raw treatment of the film. Kishore's editing also keeps the film going in a steady flow. Stunts by Rambo Rajkumar & Rajashekhar are bloody real. Art by Jackie and Sound by Udayakumar are also effectively handled. The computer generated rooster fights are also very effective and realistic. The rooster fight sequence just before the interval is one of the highlights of the movie.
On the whole, Aadukalam is a definite must-watch for Vetrimaaran's deft handling of a very interesting subject, Dhanush's flawless performance, an adorable Tapsee and some great music by GV Prakash. Its hard to find such a realistic film within the commercial format. Its completely different from Polladhavan, yet almost as good as it. The film can boost Vetrimaaran up to the big league of directors in the Tamil industry. Tamil Cinema has opened with a bang in 2011. Do not waste any more time, go watch Aadukalam!!
Rating - 4.5/5