Aadai movie review: Amala Paul starrer is an inventive, original and bold take on freedom
Aadai review: Amala Paul has not just upped her game but has also reminded everyone what she is capable of doing and that she’s in no mood to stop. Rating: 3.5/5.Updated: Jul 20, 2019 14:19 IST
Director: Rathna Kumar
Cast: Amala Paul, Sri Ranjini, Ramya, Vivek Prasanna
In Rathna Kumar’s Aadai, a controversial but important film on what really constitutes freedom; Amala Paul crushes every trope associated with the depiction of mainstream Tamil heroine like a boss, and she couldn’t have done it better. The first time we see Amala’s character, she’s dressed as Harley Quinn and chasing someone with a giant hammer. We’re quickly told she heads a team that pranks people as part of a hit show in a local channel.
Amala plays Kamini, a free-spirited and unabashedly bold girl who lives life on her own terms. She rides a Duke motorcycle to work, drinks and smokes with her male friends at odd hours and will do anything to prove everyone wrong when challenged. Many would describe Kamini as reckless; including her own mother (Sri Ranjini) whose only wish is to see her daughter behave like a regular woman. But Kamini doesn’t pay heed to her mother and even to the rest of the world, until one night when her life goes topsy-turvy. When Kamini wakes up after a party with her friends, she finds herself naked in an abandoned building, shocked. The rest of the film is about how Kamini – without a piece of cloth to cover herself – tries to find a way out.
Watch the Aadai trailer here
After a laid-back first half replete with fun and some adult humour, Aadai picks up steam post interval and each minute is like a ticking time bomb. From the second Kamini realizes she’s naked and has nowhere to go, till the point where she finds a roll of toilet paper to cover herself and gather courage to walk out of the building; Aadai is a terrific allegory on what really defines freedom and it gets depicted through the perspective of a fearless, lawless and brazen-faced Kamini, who eventually succumbs to the pressure of living amid a world full of men ready to prey on vulnerable women.
Aadai isn’t your regular female-centric film screaming women empowerment. It’s powerful in many ways and it questions our morality in the most hard-hitting fashion. In a scene where Kamini holds a piece of mirror to cover her torso, the mirror becomes a reflection of our morality. There’s another scene in which a voyeur who spots Kamini naked from a mile away from another building and comes running to get a better look is interrupted by a work call. The song that plays as his ringtone is a track from Karthik Subbaraj’s Iraivi and it goes – Oh woman, break free and come out. Aadai is beautifully embellished with such lovely but shocking moments that drive home the point the film tries to make in a very effective manner.
As much as Amala Paul deserves praise and respect for backing a film like Aadai and embracing her character without inhibitions and nailing it with grace; the real star of the film has to be cinematographer Vijay Karthik Kannan who shoots the scenes which show Kamini naked with a delicate touch. To shoot these scenes and ensure they don’t come across as crass requires a lot of planning and both Rathna and Vijay complement the film’s vision beautifully with a riveting second half that mostly unfolds inside the abandoned building. Towards the end, there’s an amazing scene involving a pack of stray dogs. It doesn’t take much to understand what the dogs represent.
With Aadai, Amala Paul has not just upped her game but has also reminded everyone what she is capable of doing and that she’s in no mood to stop. I doubt if any other mainstream heroine would’ve been as progressive as Amala in embracing this character without making any changes to the script or to their portrayal on screen.
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