Connect with us

Exclusive Premium Content

Aavesham, Fahadh’s Humanizing & Humorizing Of The Gangster Is Vaguely Disturbing



Rating: ** 1/2

Jithu Madhavan’s  Malayalam  Aavesham,a  curiously amoral  parable  of  criminalized camaraderie is  a huge success in Kerala. Fahadh Faasil  we are told in the opening credits, is being “re-introduced”  in the  film. This is  to  imply, he has never played  anyone like the goon Ranga in Aavesham.

 This is  a  debatable claim,considering how much this versatile actor enjoys playing dark morally ambivalent characters. The difference  , if any, is that Faasil’s Ranga is, well, funny.He is, to use an oxymoron,a funny  gangster. He is a gangster, but has never  killed anyone  personally. His righthand man Ambaan(Sajin Gopu) does all the  dirty  work while Ranga subsists on his fearsome reputation.

Ambaan narrates  these tall stories  about his boss Ranga to anyone  who cares to listen, tales of bloodshed which have a ring of  mythology to them. No, Ranga is too cute to be dangerous.

We  could say, he is the Munnabhai  of  our times, a Malayali Munnabhai in Bengaluru, who befriends  three  college students Aju(Hipzter) , Bibi(Mithun Jai Shankar) and Shanthan(Roshan  Shahnavaz) at a bar where the  trio have come searching for  a criminal who would avenge their ragging.

This is  where  the  Jithu Madhavan’s screenplay begins to get problematic. It is far from clear why Ranga  takes  a fancy to the three boys  and decides, then and there, to mentor them.There  must be truckloads  of favour-seekers  crowding this giggly Godfather  every day.

Why Aju, Bibi  and Shanthan? There is nothing remarkable  about these students, and  nothing  remarkable , or even cogent,  about this  unlikely friendship. Then why the bonding, if not to shovel cuteness into the sinister landscape.

Writer-director  Jeethu Madhavan is clearly  in awe  of  his  leading man.  Most Malayalam director are. This is  why Fahadh Faasil needs to ensure he  steers clear of fan filmmakers  who insist on giving him “very different” characters  to play,luring him into what are fan letters masquerading as movies.

Aavesham doesn’t have the intellectual heft or the street-wisdom to  allow Faasil to manoeuvre his  character  from the fan zone to  something more meaningful. He plays Ranga as goofy and , that word again, cute. A  do-gooder who misses his  mother  and  loves helping the needy.

This humanizing  and humorizing of  the  anti-social  hero is, vaguely disturbing and distinctly annoying.  Why was  Fahadh Faasil  happy to  do such a shallow  character? It’s like  Dilip Kumar  doing Kohinoor after  Devdas? Therapeutic, perhaps?

  The challenge for a great actor like Fahadh is to take the shallow  into the deepend. This  movement is  rendered impossible in  Aavesham. The screenplay is too enamoured  of its hero’s infantile criminality to explore his  darker side.

Till  the end Faasil remains a uni-dimensional  puppet, unsure of why he is  this goofy oddball of  a goon with a weakness for  young boys. Is  he actually a closeted  homosexual seeking to flex his manliness by posing as a  crimelord?

Under Ranga’s  swagger and pose there is a deeply disturbed  character  waiting to come out.Regrettably,this film has no place for  any serious character examination.Maybe another  film where Faasil’s Ranga’s  deeprooted passion for singing dancing and  faffing won’t need any further indulgence.

Continue Reading