It was like after watching Pudhupettai in Bangalore PVR and thinking much about the content/making of the film in the late hours. I felt the same after watching Adukalam [ AK ]. Also, it once again proved my choice of films based on Director and not based on actors !
The first challenge of any creator is to express something which was never told before. Cockfighting is one such bloodsport which was never registered on screen, before [ I better exclude the typical fights in Raanuva veeran, Kizhakku seemaiyile or the crap named ‘Sandaik kozhi’ 😉 ]. The writer has cleverly used this sport, sportsmen, Anglo-Indian families,close to real policemen and Madurai backdrop to give life to his brilliant script.
Cinema is all about contacts and relations. That’s how we have working chemistry like Bharathiraja & Ilayaraja / Selva & Yuvan – the official relationship based works are different [ inferior ! ] from the personal partnership between 2 friends. The same with Vetrimaran and Dhanush [ also the crew ! ]. Vetri has started his career from Balu Mahendra and Kadhir [ Kadhal virus which infected Kadhir’s career ]. The first film of him was actually Desiya nedunjalai which was shot for a week and shelved. Dhanush was the only hero who supported Vetri. They later delivered Polladhavan — a film stands as an example fo making [ of course with first film compromises like comedy track, Kuthu Ramya, Dheena, Brindha Parekh 😉 ]. Also he got a wonderful team Cinematographer R.Velraj and MD GVPrakash.
Story :The story is all about the important happenings in the life of the characters : KPKaruppu, Pettaikaran Periyasamy, Pettaikaran wife Meena [ Actress Meenaal ], Durai, Mohammad Ayub, Oolai, Inspector RKRathnam, YEtu Ramesh, Ara mandaiyan Veeramani, Railway canteen Thanga pandi, Ganja Sundar, Irene marcus, Marcus Claud, Nicolas, Dinesh and their life ! Every single character, dialogue was used meticulously and the screenplay was wonderfully webbed. The dialogues mostly explain the happenings.
Aadukalam’s story has two groups but they don’t clash the way we expect. It has songs but not picturised as we expect. It has a plot based on Madurai and rooster-fights but it doesn’t merely excel in showcasting sports [ like Vennila kabadi kuzhu / Chennai-28 ]. It has love but doesn’t travel [ at least, mostly ] as usually in films. It has the most twists and turns but nothing as we were trained to visualise so far. There are no duets yet the romance was poetically registered. It has mother sentiment but as never told before. The next bold step was to cut the comedy artists, item song and unbelievable fights. In fact, the first half itself is a perfect movie and the second half gets the inner shades of the characters in a different way. This leads a sag in the later half and some repeated moments.
Casting — I vote this segment first. It worked out very well. Dhanush [ Sparkling performance after Pudupettai ], VISJayabalan [ Best characterisation & moving performance ], Taapsee pannu [ silent beauty — Christian Bale maadiri kannukulla oru maru 😉 ! ], Bose, Kishore and almost all characters. Of course, the technical crew was brilliant. Cinematographer R.Velraj [ specialised in night sequences ], Art director Jackie, dialogue writer Vikram Sukumaran [ Special accoldaes to him for bringing the right dialects in the conversations ], MD GVPrakash and editor Kishore. I wondered how Chennai based Vetrimaran has chosen a plot based on Madurai and later knew that Velraj & associate Vikram are from Madurai, who helped the execution. Though I was allergic of Madurai based movies, the slang, dialect, intonations and the flowing dialogues were very convincing. Taapsee perfectly fits in the character and thank God for not having Nayanthara/Trisha as they planned earlier [ Yaathe song waste aagi irukum ].
VISJayabalan — I mistook him as GMKumar [ acted in Veyil — Aruvadai Naall director ] by seeing the posters. One of the powerful characters and minute performances, I have seen recently. Radharavi’s voice aptly fits him and he delivered a convincing performance with genuine body language. Similarly, Samudrakani’s voice to Kishore and Andrea’s voice to Taapsee.
Songs were very catchy and I vote “otha sollala” as my favourite — a celebratory n jubiliant song. This song was rightly written/ sung/ placed/choreographed [ by Dinesh ! ] and has simple but lively lyrics. The credit goes to GVP, Lyricist Ekadesi and Singer Velmurugan. The song “Ayyayo” is not convincing as it deeply reminds me Inji Idupazaha and Kottai paakum song, though it was different try combining SPB/Charan/Prashanthini. GVPrakash had some bitter moments in Polladhavan as Dheena/YogiB shared the music credits whereas AK is completely under his control. In fact, the BGM was well done and as Vetri says songs are just the attractions whereas BGM is close to the movie. To add, I have seen the traces of other BGMs in this movie — Love theme resemblesVaazhkkai [ theme of Sarvam ], Mother scene bgm resembles “aarariO paadiyadharo” and some climax pieces resemble Braveheart’s soundtrack “revenge” [ Audiogrpahy could have been included at the end ].
The height is that Vetri has listed bibliography and filmography which helped him to understand more about Madurai [ may be for bloggers !! ] — which includes Virumandi, Paruthi veeran, Amores Perros, Powder kag, Babel and more films. Personally, I found few ideas were from Cinema Paradiso. To mention about the cockfights, they have used the CG at its best .
There are more spoilers, twists and turns throughout the movie — better not to see the promotions, complete [?! ] reviews and mainly TV :). It was a lengthy movie [ 2.45 hrs ] and there are chances for the theatre operators to sharpen their editng skills. It’s a milestone for Dhanush and Vetrimaran.
When Suba.Veerapandiyan was once asked why do we praise our own people with colorful adjectives like Perarinjar, Veerar, Soorar and he answered that if we don’t praise our own people, who else will do. Same here. If we don’t celebrate our films, film makers and artists, who else will do ! Also, I wish I had seen the movie with uncut dialogues [ beep sounds increase my curiosity about what ‘good’ words used swimmingly ].
Some technical terms used in rooster fight
Veppor — Plain rooster fights without knives tied in their legs
Eeras — Winning rooster fighting for the 2nd time
Mooras — Third time
Jameen — End of the game
Thodhayam — Tristate
Thanni — Round/break
Saavakattari — Group leader
கொன்றாப்பகை, கொடுவஞ்சனை , செங்குருதி - இவை சேவல்களுக்கும் சேவற்சண்டைக்கும் மட்டுமானதல்ல.
There’s a final comment said in the Ayub tournament about Pettaikaran’s team. Considering Balu Mahendra as Pettaikataran and vetirmaran as his breed ..
பேட்டைக்காரன் ப்ரீட்னா பேட்டைக்காரன் ப்ரீட் தான்யா !!
Just a wild thougt.. The relationship between Pettaikaran and Karuppu is nothing but a student overtaking his master and master’s overreaction to the same. Pettaikaran is left alone after that. This happened in Tamil cinema too.
A famous music director X insulted a budding MD Y, when Y tried to impress with a new tune. X insulted that music is not such an easy thing and it requires more time for Y. That’s the moment Y has decided not to give any suggesitons to anyone and also never engage an assistant for him. X — GKVenkatesh; Y-Ilayaraja.
After 2 decades, Ilayaraja, at his peak delivered a speech that whatever he does is music and it’s the fate of Tamil people to listen the same. The fall of the Pettaikaran began there ! I can corelate a dialog in this movie after IR was left alone during his fall.. Ippo mani patharai.. inneram inga JJ nu producers kootam irukkum — Prasad recording theater :).