Film: Aadhi; Director: Jeethu Joseph; Cast: Pranav Mohanlal, Siddique, Lena, Jagapathi Babu
Aadhi is all Pranav Mohanlal. It is a film made just forPranav, to announce his arrival, and it is nothing less than grand. It has him in the centre, just him. It is for him that the tale has been spun. But, Pranav makes it all worthwhile. With mind-boggling action sequences and enough screen presence, Mohanlal's son makes a comfortable debut, winning us with his charisma.
A lot of thought has gone into this debut vehicle. The film focuses on Pranav's charming side before slowly shifting to his agile, action-hero avatar. The plot creates the perfect platform for the switch and Pranav just grabs that opportunity. He puts in some great work, and coupled with Jeethu Joseph's directorial skills, delivers a thriller, that makes up for its flaccid writing with copious action sequences.
As for the story, there is nothing novel here. It is a typical cat-and-mouse game, where the innocent gullible hero Adithya Mohan is falsely accused of committing a crime. He has no option, but to run. Like many of Jeethu's protagonist, Aadhi has to should find a way out of the trap, and he uses his courage and skill to do that. The skill here is parkour, a training discipline using movements. Pranav, who underwent training in this, performs some amazing never-before-seen stunts.
The adrenaline-filled chase sequence in the first half gives you a hint of his acumen in parkour, when he overcomes one obstacle after another. Full marks for the terrific performance in the action sequences, which are the film's highlights. But, has he displayed the same skill in other areas? Not really. Pranav definitely isn't a bad actor, but he still appears uncomfortable doing emotional scenes. Though he does get better as the film proceeds. Thankfully, there is no romantic thread here to add to his discomfort.
Aadhi doesn't add much variety to Jeethu Joseph's filmography. He only repeats what he has done before, and it seems like his task here was simply to create a perfect launch pad, which he does. However, there are a few Jeethu-esque scenes, like in the climax where he cooks up a twist in the tale. He keeps the pace steady and that's what makes his films special.
As for the rest of the cast, Siddique and Lena play Aadhi's parents and they are convincing in their roles,
especially Lena, who plays a loving mother. Jagapathi Babu makes a comeback to Malayalam, but ends up in another villain role in stiff suits. While Aadhi's strength is in its brilliant action scenes, a lot of its pace is dependent on the camera work, and DOP Sateesh Kurup excels in his craft. However, the CGI work doesn't help, especially in many crucial scenes.
What makes Aadhi special is definitely the presence of Pranav Mohanlal. It is his name that created so much buzz-around this film, and naturally, Aadhi belongs to him. He owns it with the sheer hard work he's put in the thrilling action scenes. For someone who proved his talent way back when he debuted as a child actor, Pranav undoubtedly shows signs of emerging as an actor to look forward to. And, for this reason, Aadhi deserves to be watched.