Monday, September 14, 2015

ആട് ഒരു ഭീകരജീവിയാണ് (Aadu) (2015)

Director: Midhun Manuel Thomas
Writer:    Midhun Manuel Thomas
Cast:       Jayasurya, Vijay Babu, Vinayakan, Saiju Kurup
Language: Malayalam

Shaji Pappan (Jayasurya) and his friends get a goat as the prize for winning a tug of war competition. They don't know what to do with it and try their best to barbecue it, after failing which, they try to dispose it but they just can't get themselves away from it. Meanwhile, Shaji Pappan's friends begin to take a liking towards the cute goat while Pappan himself remains steadfast in his hatred towards it, which is explained through his backstory. More and more characters get introduced into the story-line and it works as a hilarious road-trip film set in Idukki, Kerala's high-range district.

It is common in Malayalam films these days to target the kids here since it is a sure-shot way of getting more asses on seats since the parents will also accompany them. I hadn't seen a trailer of the film but did watch some interview with Jayasurya in which he was talking about the importance of the Aadu (Goat) in the film and I thought it was gonna be another one of those shitty kids' movie. I missed it at the cinemas and the negative reviews it got ensured that it didn't get much of a theatrical run. I don't know if they had a deliberate strategy to project it as a children's film or whether it was a cheeky misdirection as it continues even during the opening credits, which is animated. But within five minutes into the film, we realize that it is not in fact a film for kids but solely intended for an adult audience.

I decided to watch the film after it became an internet hit after the release of its DVD. The fact that some students dressed as Shaji Pappan during their Onam celebrations was a proof for that. Negative reviews from normal Malayalee audience is no guarantee that a film would be shit, based on recent experiences, and the inverse of it is also true with many that got near universal acceptance turned out to be utter cliched shite. So I took the plunge with Aadu and it was an enjoyable watch. It continues to surprise you with character introductions and cameo roles from the likes of Sunny Wayne, Renji Panicker and Aju Varghese. Best way to describe the film is that it is a lower budget 'Double Barrel', with characters that are complete opposite 'Thani Nadan' (village) versions. Shame that both of them proved to be disasters at box office but will continue to garner a cult following. First half of the film chugs along at a good pace with a very good interval point. It does get a little muddled during the second half with pacing issues and too many sidetracks which doesn't always work well. With a running length of two hours, it is around twenty minutes longer than it should be but on the whole it is a very enjoyable watch. Indrans plays a character which is a caricature of CPI(M)'s Idukki secretary, MM Mani, and it took me some time to realize that. Vijay Babu is delightfully hammy in his role as Police Inspector, Sarbath Shameer, and his production company partner, Sandra Thomas, also makes an appearance in the film.

The directorial and editing flourishes are quite good and it does take audience's intelligence for granted with regards to keeping up with the story and that is always a good thing. Midhun Manuel made his writing debut with Om Shanthi Oshana, which did very well commercially but I was disappointed by it. I did enjoy some really campy scenes in it, like that Chinese characters sequence, and hated the whole cliched formula of it- which is a mix of nostalgia, village farmer goodness and coming of age drama. In Aadu, he doesn't do the cliches and goes full retard with a mix of spoofy mass scenes, peppy BGM, great character introductions and unpredictable plot. Film takes place in Idukki disctrict and its exquisite beauty is captured fully well on camera. Performances are great but I found Dharmajan Bolgatty to be quite irritating throughout the film. It is highly recommended for everyone as long as you watch it in the right mood.

Rating: 4/5