Aadhi movie review: Pranav Mohanlal shines in this thriller

Written by Manoj Kumar R | Bengaluru | Updated: January 27, 2018 10:17 am Aadhi movie review: We exit the cinema halls knowing that Pranav has required abilities to make a soft-landing in the world of cinema.

Aadhi movie cast: Pranav Mohanlal, Siddique, Lena, Anusree
Aadhi movie director: Jeethu Joseph
Aadhi movie cast: 3 stars

Director Jeethu Joseph’s protagonist Aadhi is a tailor-made character for debutant Pranav Mohanlal. Aadhithya Mohan aka Aadhi (Pranav) is a compassionate and gentle youngster. His mother Rosy (Lena) is a progressive woman, who eloped with Aadhi’s father Mohan Varma (Siddique), a Hindu when she was just 18-years-old. She is one of those liberal mothers, who pressures her son into finding a girlfriend for himself. She even musters up a supportive tone, when Aadhi says he would prefer marrying a Muslim girl over a Christian one, to bring communal harmony into the family.

Jeethu’s Aadhi represents the liberal society of Kerala, which is unaffected by growing culture of moral policing, communal and political violence. I was also expecting a mention of Kerala’s favourite diet, ‘parotta and beef curry’, a sort of political stand that was taken by several Malayalam filmmakers of late ever since ‘beef politics’ intensified its position in the national discourse.

Aadhi is on a clock. His father has set a time frame of two years to realise his dream of becoming a film music director. If he doesn’t make it, he has to take up a corporate job suggested by his concerned father. Unlike Mohan, Rosy is optimistic and the first fan of her son. When Mohan goes overboard with his fatherly concerns, Rosy keeps him in check. She is so supportive and bold that she even drags her son to Superstar Mohanlal, who is at the restaurant with his friends, to seek a chance for her son in films. Can’t say I was surprised to see the guest appearance of Mohanlal in his son’s debut film.

Aadhi rolls off to Bengaluru on a high-end Rolls Royce car as he gets an opportunity to perform at a club, which is a popular hangout place for filmmakers and music directors. He bumps into his childhood friend Anjana (Aditi Ravi) at the club. She is impressed by Aadhi’s talents, which irks her date. And soon things turn a turn for the worse as someone pushes someone off the building in presence of Aadhi. Yes, Jeethu does it again. He turns a what seemed like a feel-good movie into a crime thriller with an unexpected death. While in Drishyam, Mohanlal’s Georgekutty grapples with the law to cover up the crime he is complicit in, Pranav’s Aadhi hops from one building to another stay escape from goons to prove his innocence.

While the pace of the movie gets underwhelming in parts, the performance of the actor helps us to stay hooked to the narration. Especially, Anusree’s Jaya is entertaining and Jeethu has done a good job in milking this crowd-pleasing character to bring in the humour when the story gets too serious. Her characterisation is not unique. She plays a constantly nagging woman, a stereotype role for female actors in the majority of the film. Jaya’s habitual nagging is not annoying at all. It stems from her defence mechanism to fight off the unwanted attention from men. She is a sole bread-winner of the family which has a dead father, paralysed mother and a pickpocket brother, Sharath (Sharafudheen).

Sharafudheen has given a lively performance and contributes to the progression of the story. What makes this film works is Jeethu’s equal distribution of responsibilities to each character to take the story forward. Even as Aadhi is a hero-centric film, Jeethu has treated Pranav’s role as just the first among the equals. I was surprised at the interval sequence, which ends without the hero being in the frame. The story revolves around Pranav’s character, but the film entirely does not belong to him.

Pranav’s performance in action sequences is one of the mainstays in the film. Shot in real locations including in the crowded KR Market in Bengaluru, Pranav draws applause for his skills in free running or popularly known as Parkour. Only in the final action sequence, Pranav gets to say his very first punch line in the film. And Jeethu leaves us with the frozen image of Pranav jumping off the building. And we exit the cinema halls knowing that Pranav has required abilities to make a soft-landing in the world of cinema.

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