Azhagan by K Balachander.

KB is an ace director and Mamooty a star actor, so I expected that the movie would be something special. But the KB’s master touch of creating credible characters and intriguing climax of interpersonal issues is missing this time. You can predict well in advance as to where the story is headed. So for once we have a feuilleton at hand instead of a classic but it too provides moments of entertainment.

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Mammooty and Bhanu Priya in Azhagan                                                                                                         Image Courtesy – zmp3.xyz

Let us talk about the basic plot – you have Mammootty playing the role of a charming widower in his mid-30s who is a doting father to 4 cute kids and a budding hotelier. He has diverse interests including appreciating classical dance forms, reading classical literature and poetry and pursuing his degree in Literature through a part-time course. He is a good orator and makes witty observations that draw admiration from his listeners.

In the normal course of life he meets three interesting ladies – classical danseuse played by Bhanupriya, studious and serious teacher played by Geetha and a spoilt young brat who is friendly with his kids played by Madhu. And they all fall for him though he seems to be unaware of this initially and eventually he too falls in love with Bhanupriya.

With this much established in the initial part of the movie itself there is not much scope of wondering what would be the fitting climax to the numerous stories intertwined together. KB is known to create complex situations and characters and his climaxes have often enthralled for being original and path-breaking. He never fails to provide you a convincing logic to explain the unconventional stance he dictates through his characters.

But this one is a fairly easy one to sort out even for the dim bulbs who cannot be said to be sagacious in unravelling human emotions and behaviour. The easiest piece to guess is related to Madhu – right from the start it has been styled as an infatuation of young girl who has not see much in life and has had a lonely childhood. So no prizes for guessing that the relationship resolve itself when Madhu finally acknowledges that Mamooty is more suited to be a father figure to her than be her husband.

Kanmani teacher is a bit more complex and KB plays a few tricks to get this one going. By showing Bhanupriya to be emotionally insecure and prone to tantrums, he does briefly create a desire in the minds to the viewers to see a mature romance bloom between the dashing Mammootty and the sensible teacher. Given the kids involved in the background, such a temperament match would suit the family for sure. But KB is an old master in portraying unrequited love that needs to be sacrificed in the face of the true love between  two people, no matter what are their foibles and howsoever messy it may seem. And that gives us a clue on the final twist in the tale.

The fillers are fine – we have a couple of hummable songs, Bhanupriya does full justice to her role of a classical dancer, stock characters like the driver and servant play their part, the adoption story of the kids is a needless complication that becomes a diversion and not in KB’s signature style at all. This one is certainly is not his best.

Mammootty jestingly talks about being like Rava Upma that he acts like a filler whenever the hotel runs out of its main course dishes – similarly he shines in the pedestrian role and make it seem more filling than it would have been otherwise. On the whole it is worth a watch once on account of his performance.

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