The 2019 movie Ishq directed by Anuraj Manohar, was a thriller that had this layer that mocked and criticized the fragile male ego. The movie never tried to sound preachy or woke with its dialogues. It was that quality that made Ishq a compelling cinema. The latest production from Dulquer Salmaan, Adi, directed by Prasobh Vijayan, is a similar take on the fragile male ego but in a more loud and unsubtle way. What is interesting is the fact that both movies are written by the same person, Ratheesh Ravi.
Sajeev Nair and Geethika are about to get married. When they were on the way to the temple to tie the knot after registering their marriage, Sajeev’s car and a bike got involved in a messy situation. Things escalated into a physical fight resulting in the public humiliation of Sajeev. How this incident affected Sajeev and how his reaction impacted the marriage is what you get to see in Adi.
I gave you all the freedom; who are you to give me my freedom? Many films released in the past decade have shown various variations of the abovementioned conversation that ultimately discuss equality. I agree that society hasn’t evolved, even after many iterations of the same dialogue. But frankly, it has hit the cliche mark, and writers need to do some reinventions to effectively convey that politics. The first half of Adi doesn’t really give us a clue about the plans. You get the idea that Sajeev’s desperation to prove that he is a man will drive the movie forward, but his deeds are a little too caricaturish. But when it comes to the second half, which sort of shows us the backdrop of the antagonist, the film becomes very blunt about its feminist agenda. In the final act, when Geethika’s character took control of the situation, I was curious to know how things would culminate. But the solution felt convenient and also a bit problematic.
The lack of nuances, especially in the film’s second half, makes the film underwhelming. In Ishq, the male ego aspect was an underlying layer, and the movie was predominantly a thriller. Here the deliberate efforts to make it a mockery of the male ego take out the realness from all the situations they have created in the story. The way Prasobh Vijayan captured the intimacy of the main leads was good. But the transition of the scenes to heated debates or fights looked a bit too animated. Faiz Siddik has a pretty minimal space (literally) to capture the tussle. Govind Vasantha’s score has his signature elements. But, somewhere, I felt there was a gap between the music’s intensity and the scene’s final emotional output.
Nowadays, seeing a less animated Shine Tom Chacko itself is a sigh of relief, and Adi has him in that space in the film’s initial moments. When Shine performs Sajeev’s vulnerable version, the typical Shine Tom Chacko performance comes out. Ahaana Krishna, on the other hand, delivered a genuine performance. Her character and performance were perhaps the only things that were in sync with the audience’s perspective. Dhruvan as the main antagonist Joby Varghese aka Vellappattar, looked convincing in the rough act. In the final phase of the film, he is a bit too goofy.
Adi started by giving a feeling that it would address its topic in a well-crafted, subtle manner. But the realness and roughness one gets to see in the film’s initial moments give way to a very loud and inept way of communicating politics. Prasobh Vijayan has tried to give the movie that raw and authentic attire. But the writing stretches things way too much, and the end result looked unexciting.
Prasobh Vijayan has tried to give the movie that raw and authentic attire. But the writing stretches things way too much, and the end result looked unexciting.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended