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Aayiram Jenmangal
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Movie Review

Aandavan (Dubbed Film)

We have seen this done before by those who are out to make a quick buck - dig up old movies starring a newly popular star and dub them, with the star(who in all probability had a borderline role in the movie) now the center of attraction. Several of Kushboo's movies from other languages were dubbed in this way once she became a big star. Now its Rajnikanth's turn as one of his older and worse, eminently forgettable Hindi flicks makes its way to screens as Aandavan.

With the only target audience being the fans of the star, overall quality of the end product is not high on the list of the people behind these movies. So the movies generally tend to be disappointing for all but the most hardcore fans of the star. But inspite of the less-than-stellar company, Aandavan is a disaster. A remake of Aatank Hi Aatank, which focussed on Aamir Khan's growth into a reluctant don, the movie becomes a vehicle for Rajnikanth, who plays Aamir's elder brother. But it is doubtful if even Rajni fans, who haven't seen their hero for over a year since Padaiyappa, will sit through this mess.

The movie begins along the lines of Naayagan with the hero, a young boy who sees his parents being killed, murders the killer and runs off to Bombay(the scenes upto here have been reshot in tamil). There he is taken in by Sivasubramani, a man who has recently moved to Bombay from Madras. Sivasubramani grows to be a big don and the boy Mustafa(Rajnikanth) is his right hand man. There are several other dons in Bombay and their only agenda is to kill Sivasubramani. They manage to shoot Sivasubramani in broad daylight and this pushes his son Rakesh(Aamir Khan) into the same violent life led by his father and brother.

The movie is nothing more than a collection of clips that Rajnikanth makes an appearance in, from the Hindi original. So we are completely lost as far as the other characters are concerned. Most of them come and go and we have no idea who they are since scenes which probably explained their background have been snipped away. Aamir Khan is reduced to a bystander for most of the movie and appears only for a duet with Juhi Chawla in the first half(his name appears after Vadivukkarasi's name in the credits, which should give you an idea of his importance in the scheme of things!). It is only after he becomes the focus of the movie that the moviemakers have reluctantly included scenes with him.

With this state of things, it makes no sense analysing the story or loopholes in the movie. And from the collection of clippings, it can be gathered that the original hindi version was no classic! Direction is ham-handed and the actors appear wooden. Dialogs are stilted and artificial and sequences are boring when they are not laughable. To compound our misery, the tamil version ends abruptly in the middle of a fight sequence with a proclamation that "Aandavan's reign will continue!" Ofcourse I was glad that the ordeal had ended but some kind of closure would have been nice!

If I didn't know the origins of this movie, I would have thought that I was seeing Rajnikanth parody his own image and style in tamil movies. His styles and actions seem exaggerated(the scene where he smashes the camera of a photographer at his sister's wedding seemed almost comical) and his discomfort with emotional scenes is evident in the scene where he cries to his father. Aamir Khan tries gamely to carry off the gangster role but looks extremely funny with the moustache and gelled hair. Deva has tuned some new songs and the lyrics are pepperred with enough personal references to Rajni to get his fans cheering.

This has been a particularly bad period as far as the quality of tamil movies goes. The last 10 movies in my 'Small Screen' section include only one 2-star movie and even that is a dubbed flick. Aandavan is easily the worst of the lot.But the silver lining is that after this, things can only get better.

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