Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Thots on Aegan

Will Billa turning out to be the biggest hit in Ajith's career, the actor's career can be considered to be on the upswing again. So Aegan, his next film, gains a lot of importance since it will determine whether Ajith continues his upward ride or whether Billa was just a temporary peak.

Ever since Aegan was launched, there have been rumors that it is a remake of Shah Rukh Khan's Main Hoon Naa. There has been nothing official from Ajith, Ayngharan or director Raju Sundaram yet but there are a few signs pointing towards that. The name Aegan, which means protector, goes well with Main Hoon Naa's story since the hero is exactly that - he protects his country, his brother, his general's daughter, etc (personally, I think Yaamirukka Bayamaen would've been an even more perfect title). The film's initial stills showed a bearded Ajith in Hong Kong and news items said he was involved in some stunts, which could be for the equivalent of the Hindi film's opening action sequence. Ajith is now clean-shaven and there is talk of the rest of the shooting taking place in a school in Ooty, which could take the place of Darjeeling in the original.

On paper, the story of Main Hoon Naa is a mess. It seems regressive(boy ignores tomboyish girl; boy falls in love as soon as she becomes 'Indian'), sentimental(Shah Rukh bonding with mom and brother), over-the-top(the cycle rickshaw chase sequence), crude(one character spits when talking) and jingoistic(the India-Pakistan bhai bhai project). But Farah Khan manages to put these elements together and craft a film that is slick, fun and marvelously entertaining. It is one of those movies where everything seems to work - the performances are pitch-perfect, the romance is sweet, the action is energetic and the songs are very catchy. The film is never too serious but it is never so silly or comical that it descends into camp. Farah Khan walked the tightrope beautifully and it is this aspect that Raju Sundaram has to capture if he wants to make Aegan work.

I feel the film is a perfect vehicle for Ajith at this point in his career. The actor played the sweet, charming lover boy in several movies initially in his career and was well-liked, whatever the fate of his movies. Then Dheena happened and he turned into a masala hero with action becoming the primary aspect in his movies and fun and romance were pushed to the background. A long string of duds has thankfully made him give up on those movies but while the movies he has selected since then have been better, they haven't brought back the Ajith of old. The don in Billa, the young man seeing his dreams come crashing down in Kireedam, the man on a mission in Aazhwaar... all these movies saw him play some variation of a serious, brooding protagonist with enough reasons to stay that way. I can't remember the last time he looked like he was having fun appearing in a movie. The hero's role in Main Hoon Naa offers a good chance for him to enjoy himself again. The army background offers enough heroism to satisfy his fans while the school segments, especially the wooing of the teacher, could bring out his fun side. We can only hope that Raju Sundaram focuses on the latter.

Nayanthara is the only other cast member announced so far and if she goes in for the same kind of classy sarees that Sushmita Sen dazzled us in, she's gonna make us all wish we were back in school! Arun Pandiyan is seen in those initial photos from Hong Kong but I'm not sure if he's acting in the movie or just staying behind the screen. But if he is acting, he's probably doing the role of the misguided patriot that Sunil Shetty did. The roles of the hero's brother and the General's daughter are key since they play pretty big parts and I'm real curious about who's going to be selected(frankly, I couldn't think of any actor for the brother's role).

This whole post could be moot if it turns out Aegan is not based on Main Hoon Naa! But until we know one way or the other, the fun lies in the guessing :)


At 5:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Balaji,

The chap from Arindhum Ariyamalum, Navdeep is donning the bro's role.

At 6:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i liked main hoon na...it was very unpretentious and just got down to the business of delivering pure fun...
it was so much fun watching shah rukh drool over sush, esp. the winds that blow inside a classroom (a wicked parody of the likes of yash chopra and karan johar)...yes, farah really did a good job of balancing the comic portions with the slightly serious ones...
it was so popular that finance minister chidambaram actually said, "Main hoon na" shortly after the film was released, to allay people's concerns during his budget speech!
of course, tamil nadu style thanee...this movie will come out and become a big hit...simbhu, a fan of ajith will say, "dey, nee padikathavan veetu maamsam thinra polladhavan daa...naan aegan ode vegan rasigan da!"

At 7:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

navdeep has already played a similar role in Arindhum Ariyamalaum, if you think of it - long-lost(rather, didnt-know-he-exists) brother Arya, unwelcome 'protection' from that brother, initial tiffs with that brother and eventual reconcilliation with him and a spectacular climax where he is saved by the said brother.

At 9:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As much as I thought Main Hoon Na was illogical movie, I agree with Ram in that it was pure fun. Farah Khan did a very good job of weaving a nice screenplay with a messy story :) Would have preferred Vikram to do this role, though...

At 10:25 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

fiona, i assumed it would be one of these younger heroes from new films but didn't know who. thanx :)

ram, i remember reading about chidambaram saying that too :)
and only u can think of rhyming 'aegan' with vegan :)

anon, wow interesting coincidence :)

akay, vikram? hmmm... the role needs a hero who is old but still boyish to carry off those scenes in the school. not sure vikram can do that. if not ajith i'd pick surya i think :)

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At 11:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 8:30 AM, Blogger aliens infotech said...

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