Remaking a successful film from another language is nothing new to Tamil cinema (or cinema
in any other language for that matter). But when the original itself seems to have been
adapted from an earlier Tamil movie, the reason behind the remake becomes a little less
obvious. That is the case with Azhagesan, which although a remake of Malayalam film
Karumadikuttan, seems more like a rip-off of the classic
16 Vayadhinile .
Azhagesan(Satyaraj), a mentally retarded man, has a soft corner for Nandhini(Prema), who
is related to him. But Nandhini, who holds nothing but scorn for him, is all set to wed
one of the professors at her college. But the machinations of the village landlord(Mahadevan)
and his son(Manoj.K.Jayan), who has an eye on Nandhini, stop the wedding. Nandhini, who is
evicted from her house and loses her grandmother(Manorama), moves in with Azhagesan and
gradually, she comes to understand his love and affection for her.
From its three main characters to the main story arc, Azhagesan is bound to give
a sense of deja vu to all its viewers who have seen 16 Vayadhinile. We have
the same three characters of the simpleton hero, the haughty heroine and the womanizing
villain and they take part in the same storyline of the heroine having a change of heart
towards the hero. Even supporting characters(like Manorama) and individual scenes(like
Prema understanding the real meaning behind one of Satyaraj's offhand remarks) remind us
of Bharathiraja's movie. So we are never interested in the movie and instead, keep comparing
it to its superior original.
Chappani's characterization was one of the main strengths of 16 Vayadhinile. While
the roots of Satyaraj's character here are the same, the director gives in to both
Satyaraj's image and cinematic allowances, diluting the character a lot. Satyaraj's
recent movies have had him as a wisecracking character, taking shots primarily at
politics. He indulges in the same kind of wisecracks here, which doesn't fit in with
the rest of the character. The fight sequence he has at the fair, after a bit of training
from 'Delhi' Ganesh, is also unnecessarily cinematic, affecting the realism of the character
and the movie.
on the positive side, the director keeps the story moving at a nice pace. Though the
developments are for the most part predictable, there are no places where the movie lingers
for too long. The story also shows signs of coming to life once the movie movies beyond the
16 Vayadhinile track. The way Prema snubs Manoj.K.Jayan is a nice touch and
subsequent scenes, where she is forced to make a hard decision but unable to explain it
to Satyaraj, are very effective.
Satyaraj gets a meatier role compared to most of his recent movies. Though his portrayal
skirts overacting at a few places, he is effective at earning our sympathy. Prema looks
mature but is all fire in her confrontations with Manoj.K.Jayan. Mahadevan, seen earlier
in Pithamagan , earns our revulsion while Manoj.K.Jayan
leers enough to be convincing as the womaniser. Manorama and 'Delhi' Ganesh are solid as
always. Kalakalavena... is a catchy, pleasant number in Deva's soundtrack.