What makes it tick are it is a story of ordinary people, told in a realistic way with human emotions about friendship, betrayal, jealousy, petty ego that leads to havoc in the life of a youth. The narrative style and presentation are truly international.
The film is set in a suburb of Madurai where rooster or Cock fights is a major sport. Karuppu (Dhanush) is an understudy of Pettaikaran (Jayabalan) considered as the best in business. Karuppu thinks the world of his mentor, who prefers his other assistant Dorai (Kishore) more. Karuppu is an innocent good fella who falls for an Anglo Indian girl Irene (Taapasee) living in the nearby railway colony.
Pettaikaran most bitter foe is a policeman Retnasamy (Nareyn) whose family for years used to conduct and win trophies in cock fighting. Retnasamy decides to have one last cock fight between his team and that of Pettaikaran and emerge triumphant for the sake of his dying mother. The fight is conducted after a special permission is given by police and local bodies. In the crucial tournament, Retnasamy using drug induced roosters in the first round, trounces Pettaikaran. At this point to save the face of his guru Karuppu, enters the fray with his rooster.
Pettaikaran is upset and announces that Karuppu is not a member of his team, but the underdog goes on to create the biggest upset. Karuppuís victory makes his mentor bitter and jealous, as he is crowned the new king of cockfights. This creates hidden animosity in Pettaikaran who plots for the downfall of Karuppu leading to a riveting climax.
Ultimately however, Aadukalam belongs to one man and one man alone. Investing in his character a lot of realism and protecting it from ever turning into a caricature, Dhanush delivers a performance that is arresting. The character conveys volumes through his eyes and Dhanush lives in the role of Karuppu. Jayabalan is a revelation as Pettaikaran and Kishore is outstanding as Dorai. Debutant Taapsee is a promising find and she suits the character of an Anglo Indian girl to the T.
Technically, the film has many brownie points-The film's dialogues are sharp and mesh in well with the scenes. Velrajís cinematography is one of Aadukalamís greatest strengths; and even actors in bit roles leave a lasting impression.
A major plus is GV Prakash Kumarís background score and the Yathe Yathe... song lingers in your mind even after you leave the theatre. The rooster fight in the interval point is the major highlight.
Minuses? It is too classy and difficult to comprehend for an ordinary viewer. The first half is very racy and entertaining while the second half towards the climax drags and some characters like Retnasamy disappear in the second half.
Every once in a while comes a film touch both heart and mind; films that make you surrender completely to the power of the experience. Aadukalam lives up to the expectation that the film carried and the credit goes to Vetrimaran whose research and hard work shows on screen.
We recommend Aadukalam.