Film: "Ameerin Aadhi-Bhagavan"; Actors: Jayam Ravi, Neetu Chandra, Sudha Chandran, Saiju Kurup, Baby Antony, Karuna and Sakshi Sivanand; Director: Ameer Sultan; Rating: ***
One recurring question that constantly keeps ringing in our heads as we watch "Ameerin Aadhi-Bhagavan" is that why did Ameer spend nearly three years on this project. The answer to this question lies in the execution (read writing) of this film, but not in its making. It may come across as just another mistaken identity international thriller, but with deft writing, Ameer makes it an engaging watch with extended running time. Finally, does "Ameerin Aadhi-Bhagavan" live up to all the hype it created? Partially yes, but there are far too many lose ends left unattended.
Aadhi and Bhagavan, both played by Jayam Ravi, live far away from each other, but destiny has it, they are bound to meet. Aadhi, a gangster in Bangkok, living a luxurious life is separated from family for having earned the wrath of his mother for choosing a career she is not happy with. On the other hand, Bhagavan, a local rowdy in Mumbai, is wanted dead or alive by the police for various nefarious activities he is involved in over the years.
To save Bhagavan from Mumbai police, his girlfriend-cum-advisor Rani, played by Neetu Chandra, drafts a plan to lure Aadhi into a trap to create a case of mistaken identity. How does Rani manage to bring Aadhi to Mumbai? This forms the rest of the story.
It is interesting to see someone as Jayam Ravi, who hasn't had big share of success, defy star status and slip into challenging dual roles. But, what worries me most is that whether audiences are willing to embrace this film considering the fact that Ameer has made such exceptionally good (read National award winning) and different films in the past.
The film struggles through the first half and tests your patience level until the big reveal. For most, the twist in the film comes as a shocker, but for me it didn't as I knew to some extent what was about to unfold. However, little could anyone guess about the doppelganger in Mumbai, and therefore, this part deserves full marks for establishing and maintaining some amount of suspense.
It is not often do we see an actor in dual roles not being biologically related and that's precisely the case in this film. However, Bhagavan's character leaves us wondering about his true state of identity because despite being an effeminate male, he takes special interest in women. Why is that? Is it because he is bisexual? If yes, then why play with his sexual identity at all? This part needs an answer, but Ameer takes no interest in addressing it in detail.
Neetu has done an exceptionally good job in her role with multiple shades, it is sad that she is merely used as an instrument to provoke men around her. It's like she was particularly used to draw out the animal within Aadhi and Bhagavan to confront each other. If her role was given enough weightage, I'm sure the film would've made an impact like films such as "Kahaani" and "Aaranya Kaandam", in which women have very prominent roles.
Ravi did his best in both the roles, but somehow it didn't quite excite me as much as I would have wanted someone else in this role. He was as usual in the role of a gangster, but not quite convincing as Bhagavan, which by the way was unarguably well received by one and all. It was as though one role was made to appear weak and naturally, the other one garnered all attention.
To see Ameer tread unchartered territories is a welcome change and I hope he sticks to it. Thanks to him, we get to see the potential of Neetu and Ravi as actors and not merely as instruments of entertainment.