Tuesday, October 28, 2008


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 Ajith play some variation of a serious, brooding protagonist with enough reasons to stay that way. It never looked like the actor was having fun appearing in those movies. Aegan, which borrows liberally from Shah Rukh Khan's Main Hoon Naa, rights this and gives him a role he is perfectly suited for. But while his role is crafted well, one can't say the same about the movie. Debutant director Raju Sundaram is able to keep intact - even if not completely - the entertainment value in the portions he borrows from Main Hoon Naa but his inexperience shows in the rest of the film.

Ramprasad(Devan) is a man on the run, wanted by both the police and the bad guys. While Chinnappa(Suman), a bad guy with his hands in everything, is after Ramprasad because he was in his gang but has now turned approver, the police hope to catch Ramprasad and through him, get Chellappa. The police, believing that Ramprasad will contact his daughter Pooja(Pia) who is a student at a school in Ooty, send Shiva(Ajith), a no-nonsense cop, to the school as a student, hoping that he can befriend Pia and nab Ramprasad when he shows up. But the school environment catches up with Shiva too as he romances the Chemistry teacher Mallika(Nayanthara) and befriends the students led by Naren(Navdeep), Pooja's best friend.

Aegan takes the central concept - an older undercover agent attending a school - of Main Hoon Naa but wraps a much simpler story around it. While one can appreciate the fact that Raju Sundaram has not ripped off the entire film, the sad fact is that it is only the parts lifted from Main Hoon Naa - Ajith caught in the fish-out-of-water scenario and the romance - that actually work while the original parts - like the villain in pursuit of an ex-gang member and the track with the principal as a wannabe-private detective - are silly and amateurish.

With Ajith not averse to poking a little fun at his age and physique(or lack thereof), his time at school is quite entertaining. His encounters with Nayanthara elicit chuckles and his bonding with the other students is built up gradually. He also shares some nice sequences with his assistant(Haneefa) and the school principal(Jayaram). While the comedy in those scenes is natural, situational and works well, the same cannot be said of the more overt attempts at it. Jayaram generates some laughs initially as he, in the tradition of school and college principals in Tamil cinema, makes a fool of himself by trying to 'help' Ajith. But things get repetitive and tiresome soon. Giving Suman a funny sidekick in the form of Sriman doesn't work either and his jokes fall flat, apart from diluting Suman's villainy.

One of the things that is brought over from the original but doesn't work because of the way it is handled is the part about Ajith's past. The whole segment - which, by the way, was always lurking in the background of Main Hoon Naa and gave the movie its emotional anchor - looks like it was added as an afterthought. It damages the film's final parts and gives it a rushed, incomplete feel. Since the movie would've worked perfectly well without it, one is not sure why Raju Sundaram felt compelled to include it in such a sloppy manner. An even bigger question is why Suhasini agreed to appear in the role she is given.

Ajith's weight seems to go through the same wild swings his career goes through. After losing a lot of weight for movies like Paramasivan and Tirupathi, he once again looks a bit heavyset here. But he finally gets the chance to turn on the charm that made him so endearing in movies like Vaali and enjoys it. Nayanthara looks great as always though the way she wears her sarees, learning would be the last thing on her students' minds. Navdeep and Pia ham it up a little bit. Suman doesn't add much to the stereotyped villain's role. Yuvan's background score works well during Ajith's introduction and a few other scenes but the songs themselves are disappointing. Hey Saala... and Odum Varaiyil... are choreographed well and Ajith executes some surprisingly fast steps. The jazzy Hey Baby... has a few interesting touches in the way it is picturized.


At 12:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Huh...I was waiting for your review on Aegan eagerly.But have you hosted an incomplete version or what?Like an average tamil movie climax,this review too has ended abrubtly.So whats the final verdict on the package as a whole?
Overall,review's term it is average,but I guess it will scrap through until Nov14 as there is no competition.

At 1:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am a regular visitor of your site.
I was waiting for ur view about aegan and all i can say right now is: forget the movie your review is absolutely sloppy.Frankly expected more from you. Just have a look at what you have written,it resembles thousands of reviews out there in the net.Sorry,i made a frank and blunt statement,no offence intended.

At 2:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too share some of the views about the deteriorating trend in the Quality of your reviews recently.
We don't have many honest Critics around. Some of your earlier reviews were quite Balanced except for Superstar, that's okay considering he does one film in 2 years but these days you sound more like Film Columnist.
With Guru (Lazy geek) taking a Sabbatical, B.Rangan not reviewing Tamil Films, we are certainly feeling the lack of Honest reviews.
Enna Sir Aachu?

At 10:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

your obsession with weight is scaring me.

- weight
- comedy tracks/songs
- more than one emotion/mood

i think your ideal movie would be the old cheerios commercial with the stick man.

At 10:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oops, i commented before i read the other comments -- i was kidding, i like your reviews fine though i find your pet obsessions weird.

At 2:36 PM, Blogger suresh said...

Balaji sir, that was a intersting review as always. Good job but I can't help wondering why you go to such great lenghts to review such a crap movie. From the time aagen was advertised it's clear that the movie is another pethatic Tamil movie effort, I think you should have attemted to review varranam aayiram instead or review a Hindi movie.

At 6:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

how come Balaji Sivaraman hasn't come to your rescue yet

At 6:50 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

jey, most of my reviews end with some comments on performances, songs, etc. so i guess they all end abruptly. final verdict - is usually found in the first para. average film. nice change of pace for ajith. but 'main hoon naa' deserved better :)

anon, none taken. considering this is a public forum and u invest ur time to read the review, ur opinion is just fine :)

anon, so u think this review isn't balanced? cos I liked it better than most reviews?

anon, didn't get the 'more than one emotion/mood' line. and not sure which commercial it is either. but considering how ajith's physique's been changing, i'd be surprising if others didn't notice it :)

suresh, didnt think 'aegan' was pathetic. anyways, i gotta see VA to review it. and haven't seen any particularly interesting hindi movie either :)

vani, ooooh snarky! looks like me calling jo 'tamil cinema's most loveable heroine' really got to u. daggers've been drawn since then :)

At 7:28 PM, Blogger D.E.V said...

last year diwali, we had some entertaining movies like "vel", "poladhavan", "ATM" and "kanamoochi ennada" and the hindi film "Om shanth om", but these year all the movies were damp squibs, it really dampened my festive mood...hopefully "varanam ayiram" releases soon. damm man, this tamil industry really needs a bombshell on them...

At 8:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i will definitely watch this movie when i find some time...for i really like ajith in lighter roles...as i've commented here b4, he is much more natural and at home playing the romantic comedy/drama types than he is with action...
btw, what's with all these comments abt bb's review...i didnt notice anything missing in terms of quality or analysis...i dunno...i've been reading bb's reviews for so long that i am totally used to his style...in fact i used to not really like some of the one-liners (like with moondram pirai) that were meant to give his reviews "closure" (well its not a story anyway, its a review!)...

bb, wonder what ppl think of ebert's reviews! his last paras are always sooo arbitrary and open ended...(of course, as u know, i am a huge fan of ebert as well)

At 9:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

how would u rate this film?

At 1:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

good first half...very boring second half

At 8:03 AM, Blogger Ramz said...

hi thots
i love your reviews. I think you were a bit liberal on this review. I found the movie appalling, badly edited and several loose threads hanging all over the place. The suhasini piece was thoroughly ridiculous.


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