A month ago, we saw Nagarjuna’s son Akhil Akkineni being relaunched as a Hero in Vikram Kumar’s Telugu film ‘Hello’. In Jeethu Joseph’s Aadhi, we see Pranav Mohanlal, the son of legendary actor Mohanlal being launched as a Hero. While it is too early to say how Pranav fares when compared to Mohanlal, Pranav does enough to impress in his debut film.
The story opens with Aadhi playing a cover of the 1980 Malayalam hit song from Fazil’s 1980 film Manjil Virinja Pookkal which introduced the relatively unknown face Mohanlal. We learn that Adithya Mohan/Aadhi (Pranav) is passionate about music and desires to be a music director but he has not received a proper opportunity yet. His parents, Mohan (Siddique) and Rosy (Lena) are largely supportive provided he tries to enter the cinema world within 2 years. While not playing music in his room, Pranav has a thing for parkour. This proves to be an advantage when he gets into a sticky situation later.
Aadhi (2018) Review
As he moves to Bangalore for a gig at a club frequented by musicians and technicians from the film fraternity, he finds himself caught up in an unwanted scuffle at the terrace of the building. The fight sees Arjun Reddy, the son of business tycoon Narayana Reddy losing his life by being pushed from the building. Even as the media calls it as an accident, Narayana Reddy decides to seek revenge for his son’s death. Who helps Aadhi while he is a stranger in Bangalore? Whether Aadhi manages to tell the truth? Whether Narayana Reddy gets what he desired for? What Jayakrishnan, who was one of the men in the scuffle and a close aide of Narayana Reddy, is hiding from Narayana Reddy? These are the questions Jeethu Joseph sets out to answer.
Aadhi’s second half keeps the audience engaged.
Jeethu Joseph is known for his writing, with Memories and Drishyam being two of the better films to have come out from Malayalam Cinema in the past decade. While Oozham failed to impress owing to how tediously the movie played out, Aadhi is a decent commercial flick that manages to keep the audience engaged owing to owing to the parkour action sequences in the second half.
Recruiting a foreign stunt director seems to have paid off as Pranav manages to enthrall audiences with his skillful escape and fighting skills. He jumps off buildings with a dexterity and elegance like a feline creature. Unlike Hello where we don’t seem to understand how the Hero was equipped with the skills or the weakly written conflict, Jeethu Joseph convincingly closes these loopholes with his writing making the need for the stunts necessary.
The second fiddle is stronger.
Sharath (Sharafudheen) along with his elder sister Jaya (Anusree) and Mani Annan (Meghanathan) manage to shield Aadhi from Narayana Reddy’s men to a great extent. They are so devoted to the cause that protecting him is a matter of life or death in their own cases appear secondary. You wish the villains were as stronger. While the conflict is convincing, the actors playing their parts appear to be caricatures of their character’s potential. Jagapathi Babu as Narayana Reddy needed a lot more substance to emotionally be drawn towards the character while Siju Wilson as Jayakrishnan comes out as unintentionally funny in a few scenes.
Aadhi manages to win over the audience despite these flaws. He is conscious in the first half and gets into his comfort zone as the movie approaches its climax. He is at home when he croons ‘Gypsy Women’ which starts off with a guitar riff that sounds like a faster version of The Animals’ ‘House of the Rising Sun’. While Anil Johnson’s songs fail to strike a chord, Satheesh Kurup’s camera strikes a balance. It would take a proper viewing to fully appreciate the stunts in the movie. For now, it suffices to say that Pranav Mohanlal has starred in an engaging debut.