Aandavan Kattalai and A Love letter To Vijay Sethupathi

Sometimes I wonder if Tamil cinema is entering some kind of terminal phase of creativity and that our theatres are only packed with sequels and remakes. But films like ‘Aandavan Kattalai’(AK) soothes us with a new ray of hope that filmmakers like Manikandan are able to immerse us in his enthralling narration and keep us warmed like a dove fledging in its downy nest.

Image result for aandavan kattalai

Director Manikandan respects his craft as much as he respects his audience. With the recent influx of pointless teasers and spoiler-filled trailers, in attempt to promote films, I look forward to what the captain of the ship has to say. Thus, other than watching the teasers or trailers of any film, I do spend time watching 
Image result for aandavan kattalai directorfilmmakers’ interviews. In Manikandan’s recent interview, he lauds the viewers’ intelligence and that he understands that if the audience don’t like films, the fault lies is in the film-makers’ presentation. In addition, he indubitably apprehends that to feed the viewers’ soul and quest for good cinema, film-makers have to work doubly hard. This modesty and honesty make me an ardent of the National award film-maker, Manikandan, who has scored a hat-trick with AK after giving us both internationally acclaimed and commercially successful films like Kaaka kaaka Muttai and Kutrame Thandanai.

He truly believes that cinema’s purpose is to engage and not entertain. I believe that cinema’s purpose is to both engage and entertain.

With such contrasting views, did Manikandan succeed in convincing people like me? A massive YES!
I love what he has presented in AK, light-hearted comedy film.

We could have simply categorised Manikandan as a serious filmmaker after his previous two films that dealt with social issues. But, in AK, what he has given us- is a Thillu-Mullufied delight. Every scene is peppered with sarcasms and satire even though it is about relevant social issues including greedy house owners, plight of Sri Lankan refugees, money milking brokers and how they trap innocent people for their own good. Both as a writer and filmmaker, the director acts as an observer of characters and their actions, never blatantly judging them and allowing the viewer imbibe the message. This technique works marvellously in AK, where almost every character feels like someone we could encounter in real life.

Rithika Singh has proven that she is not a one-film wonder. What a massive variation from her role in Iruthi Suttru to a beguiling performer in AK as a bold news reporter! Her controlled acting is certainly as powerful as a knockout in a gruelling boxing match.

Comedy is acting out optimism. And every character in this film has seemed to know that too well. Vinodhini Vaidyanathan as the assistant lawyer’s funny performance does not only make you laugh but also connect yourself with the character.  

Everytime you look at George, you can’t resist but giggle as your heart echoes his famous punch line “a hey! b Bee!” In AK, there are many comical lines uttered by George, who dons the role of a lawyer and helps the unmarried Vijay Sethupathi to get a divorce from a marriage that he isn’t part of, with Rithika Singh. (Confused? Watch the film, I say!) George is sure to bring the roof down with his comic timing and drooping body language- A chuckle fest is guaranteed.

Yogi Babu’s role as Vijay Sethupathi’s friend is probably Yogi’s best performance to date.

Officer: London-le maatikitta, deport panniduvaanga
Yogi: Ennadhu? Tea pottu kodupaangala?

Whenever Yogi frustrates Vijay Sethupathi with “hey London citizen mela kaiya vaikaathey”, one can undoubtedly think of the irritatingly entertaining friend we have, in our lives. To watch that ‘close friend’ of us on screen, is a laughter riot indeed. Yogi scores remarkably in every scene he appears and I did miss his one-liners in the 2nd half when his role was missing from the screenplay as he was shown going off to his ‘birth place’, London. Either it be Singampuli (house agent), or the signature thatta or the guy who played Vijay Sethupathi’s friend from koothupatrai, you appreciate them as outstanding performers, make a mental note of their rising career graphs, feel so happy for them and enjoy every second of what they are doing on screen, for you. 

I would be adding on to my never-ending list of unforgivable sins, if I conclude this review without mentioning Vijay Sethupathi.

This 38-year-young lad is beyond a review-material. Thus, a love letter for you, Vijay Sethupathi.

Dear Vijay Sethupathi,

When you shared an 
incident in a TV show about a call you 
received one day about two fans fighting with each other for billboard space in a theatre to put up your poster, you wondered why they love you so much. Do you know why people adore, admire and love you so much? It is not simply a blind devotion towards a cinema celebrity. What you shower us, is more than a quintessential movie experience that heals the heart like a honey-coated feather and maddens the soul like wine.

It should not have been a surprise to you when Director Balu Mahendra clicked your first photograph, affirming that your attractive eyes and mesmerising smile would bring you to places. Even though you are famous for subtle acting and your casual body-language speaks volumes about the kind of poised actor you are, the sheer perfection in every move in Aandavan Kattalai as Gandhi, has raised you higher in the eyes of your fans. The scene where you had to pretend like a speech-impaired person and tell Rithika Singh how pretty she looked and stammered with a squeaky “Beautiful….beautiful” or during the phone conversation scene where you had to do a monologue acting as both the speech-impaired person and Gandhi to trick Rithika Singh,  you have placed yourself on the pinnacle of a calm, composed, effortless, casual acting territory. In a territory, that no one can be the king, other than you, VS.

Like the famous dialogue from Iruthi Suttru- “ Nee thoppaiyoda suthura arai kizhama irunthaalum, nee sirichaa azhaga thaanya 
irukure!”, I chortle whenever I hear that line. When actors are working tirelessly to shed weight and gain weight in an attempt to captivate audience and think that losing weight is what acting is all about, you seem to be least bothered about looks- a characteristic that makes you closer to my heart. You breathe unconventional, just like your roles, sparkling with mirth and shinning like eternity-blue jewels enwrought in snow.

Image result for vijay sethupathi naanum rowdy thaan imagesGracing a jaunty smile, you make this 30-year-old woman fall in love with those molten-brown eyes that are as bright and spellbinding as lode stars. Your screen presence gently places me on the gateways to a world where you are waiting to conquer me under your steady gaze. Because every time I watch your film and step out of the theatre, I feel you right beside me. In a sweet voice carolling like a gold-caged nightingale, you dotingly whisper to me Are you ok baby?”

Yours truly,