A group of friends set out to celebrate their victory in a tug-of-war competition with their prize, a she-goat.
is proof to the fact that no amount of style, brilliant camera angles or even acting talent can cover up the lack of a coherent story and well-developed characters. Expectations were high on Aadu, as its director and scriptwriter Midhun Manuel Thomas' debut script was that of the simple, funny, and much enjoyable Ohm Shanti Oshana. However, the best way to describe Aadu, especially its second half, would be - all sound and fury, signifying nothing.
The first few scenes of Aadu build expectations, with a motley gang of friends led by Shaji Pappan (Jayasurya) setting out to celebrate their victory in a tug-of-war competition with their prize, a she-goat. Unfortunately, Shaji hates women after his wife left him for his driver, and is not happy with having a she-goat in his van. The journey paves the way for a lot of humour and the first half of the film is watchable.
However, the second half makes you wonder for a moment if you are watching the same film, for suddenly, the goat and even Shaji Pappan is nowhere in the picture, while gangsters, the bane of 'new age Malayalam cinema' enter the scene in hordes. New characters keep appearing, and at points, you start losing track of the storyline. There are guns, slow motion sequences, drug deals and 'badassness' in general. And then there is the obligatory bashing of leftists, with an entirely unrelated and complicated political angle thrown in.
To the director's credit, it has to be said that there are moments of brilliance. Vinayakan as a gangster showcases his uncanny crowd pulling abilities yet again. Dharmajan Bolghatty scores, with his act as the one who loses his memory and imagines him to be a cricket player. However, Jayasurya is not at his best, the actor himself doesn't seem to be sure what kind of character he is. In fact the film makes caricatures out of every character, which would have been fine, if they did not appear so exaggerated and forced, many of them unnecessary. Indrans and Chemban Vinod as power hungry politicians seem totally out of place, while Sandra Thomas' character as an extreme animal activist is cliched beyond imagination.
Aadu is obviously an experiment with a new narrative technique, but at the end of it all, you get the feeling of having watched a nonsensical skit by a group of boisterous teenagers. The director definitely shows spark, and we can only hope that he comes out with something with a solid storyline and script next, irrespective of everything else.