Pongal is one of those seasons which are always looked forward to with great expectations by the Tamil film industry. Just as its been the trend always, a host of movies released along with the much awaited Dhanush starrer "Aadukalam". Being directed by Vettrimaran, who has already showcased his caliber with the blockbuster "Pollathavan", naturally a lot is expected of this venture. After having basked in the glory of "Enthiran", Sun Picture is distributing this venture & as expected they haven't left any stone unturned as far as advertising is concerned with all the channels beaming the promos every 5 mins. Hmm..seems like a hands down winner or is it???
The script is by Vettrimaran & as it was in the case of "Pollathavan", he has come up with something which is both heartfelt & raw to say the least. It shows people as being flesh & bones with emotions like anger, hatred, love etc, shown in its true essence. Madurai forms the backdrop of the story where rooster fights are the order of the day. The victory in these fights are seen as status symbols & people indulge in it from all walks of life in full earnestness. Pettaikaran (Jayabalan) is the undisputed champion in the locality, with Karuppu (Dhanush) & Dorai (Kishore) being his assistants. Retnaswami (Nareyn) is his arch rival, who hails from a family famous for conducting competitions & winning them until Pettaikaran emerged in the scene. After having been on the receiving end for years, Retnaswami makes one last effort for the sake of his dying mother in a winner takes all competition. By making use of drug induced roosters, Retnaswami emerges victorious in the initial rounds before Karuppu steps in to save his master's pride with his rooster. Though Pettaikaran sternly orders Karuppu not to participate, he nevertheless takes part & wins the competition much to the displeasure of Pettaikaran who takes it as an insult to his ego.From here starts a tale of envy,anger & hatred, with the plot taking many unexpected twists & turns.
Dhanush has delivered a knock out performance & without doubt this will stand out as one of his best till date. He is totally at ease with the role & slips into the character effortlessly. Jayabalan as Pettaikaran is awesome without whom the movie would definitely have lacked the conviction that it wanted to impart. Taapsee as Irene, the Anglo Indian gal who is the love interest of Karuppu has been spot on in her characterisation as the vulnerable,beautiful & elegant female. Kishore & the remaining star cast have all done justice to their roles.
One of the major strengths in this venture is the background by G.V Prakash. It is totally in sync with the situation with songs such as "Yathe Yathe" by G.V Prakash himself & "Otha Sollala" by Velmurugan making us to hum it even hours after it gets over. The cinematography by Velraj deserves a word of praise for his excellent picturisation of the rooster fights. The slick editing by Kishore has contributed a great deal in maintaining the pace & suspense. All in all, the film was brilliantly executed for which the whole cast & crew has to be appreciated.
Verdict: A strong script, powerful performances & to top it off with excellent marketing, things cant get better than this. Without doubt, it would have a bumper opening & should perch itself on the top spot for the next few weeks.In short, though dragging in certain sequences; its definitely worth it. So do watch it for sure !!!