Gautaman Bhaskaran’s Review: Asal
Indian mythology, folklore and even literature present a mindboggling canvas of beguiling stories, and the most common are those that talk about step-sibling enmity and the conflict between moral right and wrong. Saran-helmed Tamil work, Asal, tosses these themes into...regional movies Updated: Feb 07, 2010 15:51 IST
Cast: Prabhu, Ajith Kumar, Sameera Reddy, Bhavana and Yugi Sethu
Indian mythology, folklore and even literature present a mindboggling canvas of beguiling stories, and the most common are those that talk about step-sibling enmity and the conflict between moral right and wrong. Saran-helmed Tamil work, Asal, tosses these themes into the Parisian arena, Prashanth D’Misale’s camera caressing the city’s magnificent monuments and alluring alleys with a panache not often seen in Tamil cinema.Cinematography apart, the journey from the story to the script (by hero Ajith Kumar, Yugi Sethu and Saran) is not as smooth or stylish, reminding us all over again how weak Tamil movies really are in this department. As usual, we sit facing situations that are hard to digest. Protagonist Shiva (essayed by Ajith) is transformed into a giant of an existence, out to uphold the lofty ideals of his father’s arms’ business empire that deals only with legitimate governments, not rebels and terrorists.
When Shiva’s two stepbrothers want to make their quick millions by shifting focus to the underworld, Shiva steps in like monolithic morality. Forget the fact that he puffs away like Bogart, breaks the heart of a woman (Sameera Reddy’s Sara), and commits the most heinous crimes that include fratricide. In the end, it is not even clear why he chooses a gushing-like-teen Sulabha (Bhavana) over mature and longtime companion Sara.
The writers would probably explain away these by stressing that the movie, above all, aims at offering a message. Okay, but it weaves in and out of a maze of highly questionable acts: Ajith plays 007, and leaves behind a trail of corpses, and the French policeman looks the other way. The force is not going to feel exactly elated over this new image.
Asal’s strong points are its style and an eyeful of muscle-toting Ajith Kumar, who will get his fans ecstatic. Bhavana and Reddy compete not just for the macho man, but also in wooing the audiences. Who cares about their performances as long as they look all dolled up and ravishing? Substance comes way down in the list of priorities for Saran and his fellow writers, I would presume.