Movie Review – Aalavandhan

Posted: May 26, 2013 in Movie Reviews
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I remember the poster of two Kamal Hassans curling their biceps and testing their strength with each other. I remember the hallucinating spine chilling Alavandhan theme. I remember the Kadavul Padhi Manithan Padhi song that almost everyone was mumbling throughout at that period. There was huge hype, a heavy buzz going on when the film released. That was the time I watch films just for entertainment. I was not a fan of Kamal and don’t know the genius Kamal as well. Yet I wanted to watch the film so badly as the title song gave me goose bumps. After a grueling search of 10 years I got to watch the film which I expected to be a landmark Tamil film and best of Kamal.


Let me not give the verdict of the film first up. It’s a disgrace for someone who tries so hard. Aalavandhan is an adaptation of the book Dayam written by Kamal Hassan. I’ve to read this book first as I never knew that he has written a novel. Kamal has tried a lot of elements in Aalavandhan. Be it the psychotic thriller treatment he has given to the movie or the animated fights. That’s a good thing about a Kamal’s film. There are always things to learn. You like it or not you get to learn a lot from Aalavandhan too. A first of its kind psychotic thriller in Tamil.

The film opens with commando Vijay trying to save the hostages from terrorists. Don’t know what’s with Kamal and his military fascination. We get to discover Nandu when Vijay decides to say about his marriage to him. Though Nandu is an interesting character the initial scene gives a feeling of Kamal trying a wee bit hard to look menacing. And the scene which leads to the Nandu scene also was not well made. Scenes end abruptly without any meaning. Don’t know whether it’s the mistake of the editor or the director himself. You generally don’t get to find such mistakes in Kamals film. And even the clarity is missing on people. We don’t see depth in any characters.

When we see the world through Nandu’s eyes we must get confused. I must say it was brilliantly made. That too the initial scenes after he escapes from jail were some of the brilliantly made scenes in the film. A treatment which no other film makers have given. Animated fight scenes were a good move for someone who learnt fighting from cartoons. Nandu’s hallucinations and his musings in front of the doctor and her mother are such a pleasure to watch. Even the dreamy dance sequence with Manisha Koirala was superbly shot.

But the confusion starts when the film shifts to the real world. The scenes which are supposed to be clear become so dizzy that we don’t get to know from where to where the story is getting shifted. Major Vijay who once talks about releasing his brother suddenly says that he would kill him if it had to be. The scene where Tejaswini (Raveena Tandon) questions about the killings made by Vijay is totally out of place. Even the way Vijay gets angry looked artificial. It was as if Kamal wanted to prove his intelligence. But his intellect wasn’t there in that scene.

Kamals fondness for poems is very well known. He uses it to the full effect here. All the poetic verses uttered by Nandu were very good. It’s the habit which he has got it from his mother. Even the way she reads out those poetries were amazing. It’s the specialty of Tamil. If one knows how to read poetry perfectly well it would sound astounding that ever. Don’t know how terrible the Hindi remake would have been. People have to understand that certain things don’t work universally even if it has a big name.

The hugely expected chase scene was amazing. This has to go down as one of the best action sequences ever made. With Aalavandhan theme music reverberating in the ears the fight looked even humungous. When an enraged Nandu walks in front of a blast caused by him. He truly looks like the one who has come to conquer everything. An alavandhavan for sure. It’s pretty unclear as to why the film was named as Aalavandhan. Nandu keeps saying that he’s come to conquer the world. That he’s Aalavandhan towards the climax but it’s as if that Kamal had forgotten that he had named the film as Aalavandhan and on remembering it he started quoting about Aalavandhan towards the climax.

For me Kamals best film is Virumandi out of the films that had directed/written. There may be many reasons for it but one main reason is everyone knew to speak Tamil. Especially the heroine. It’s so irritating when on one side you see such great acting and on other side there is a heroine who doesn’t even know to lip sync. That’s not a mistake of the heroine too. Though Raveena was irritating Kamal very well could have had a Tamil speaking heroine. In fact both the heroine’s were non Tamilians and they looked totally out of place acting as a person who knows Tamil. I don’t see such dearth in heroines down south.

The best part of the movie was the flashback. He had broken so many stereotypes. The stepmother not treating children well wasn’t such a new concept but no one had had the guts to deal it in a way like how it was done in this movie. When Nandu and Vijay’s dad gets re married after a couple of months after their mothers death the step mom enters the place. She gives Nandu and Karthik a tender kiss. That kiss didn’t look motherly to me. Kamal should have gone one notch more and carried out some sort of incestuous relationship. It would have made the flashback even horrifying. I know there are some constraints but something close to it was done in Sigapu Rojakal so if not Kamal who else could do it.

The idea of the movie is good. May be Kamal couldn’t do it as well as he thought. With this idea and some fine tuning of the script the movie could be made even better. A remake of this movie by Kamal himself would not be a bad idea too. Moreover who knows he could get to go to Venice instead of Ooty for honeymoon this time if all goes well. 

  1. Milind says:

    Aalavandhan is outstanding movie even now. It made use of all latest technologies, graphics , technical facilities available that time. talking about the heroine part in tamil film. Tamil film is having always non Tamil looking herioine. There is very less tamil heroines now a days. Even they cast Kangana ranaut as a ‘Ullooru ponnu’ even every one knows its just unreal.

    • Vikram M N says:

      Aalavandhan was a great thinking but was half baked. Wrt to tamil heroines, there are many but when people wanted to use them as eye candies then no can change it.

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