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Movie Review: Aandan Adimai (2001) Back to Movie
Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam
Fans Rating: 67%%67%% 67% (14 votes)
Movie Still After a very successful stint as comedian, where he has been sidelined by the arrival of Vivek, Manivannan returns to his original job as director with Aandaan Adimai. In his earlier avatar as director, he was responsible for bringing Satyaraj into the limelight and the duo produced several box-office hits together. For his return, Manivannan predictably chooses Satyaraj as his hero. But the caste based movie, while well-intentioned, neither delivers a hard-hitting message nor proposes a meaningful solution.

Sivaraman(Satyaraj) belongs to a low caste and is a cobbler by profession. He was orphaned as a little boy and has since been brought up by a couple belonging to the lower caste. A trip to the 'agraharam' brings back memories of his childhood and he realises that he is in fact a Brahmin and the son of the head priest at the temple. Wishing to help his real family while at the same time unable to forget the parents who adopted him, he shuffles between the two vastly different worlds. Maheswari(Suvalakshmi), a lower caste woman, waits for him back home while Gayatri(Divya Unni) falls in love with him in his new life.

The movie starts out convincing us that it is going to deliver some strong messages against the caste system. But once Satyaraj discovers his roots, the movie turns into a light-hearted affair focussing on his lives in two different worlds and his attempts to safeguard his identity. There are some nice touches as we see the basic similarities in his lifestyle in both places. One consolation is the fact that Manivannan desists from taking cheap shots at both communities. The Brahmin community has long been the punching bag for Tamil directors and though the exaggerated accents and insular personalities are present here too, Manivannan treats the community as a whole with decency.

There is a surprising lack of overt sentiments and melodrama throughout the movie and several scenes seem more realistic as a result. A case in point is the scene where Satyaraj is reunited with his parents. His parents' reactions are muted but they manage to convey their happiness successfully. Satyaraj's comment about a family song is a nice dig at the way this scene is usually handled in other movies. The fact that the caste divisions exist at all levels is also nicely shown via a pot of water - first at Satyaraj's house and later at Chandrasekhar's house.

All the goodwill Manivannan garnered by selecting a socially relevant subject is lost as a result of the insipid climax. Satyaraj's dialogs predictably make some nice points about the caste system but the final solution is silly and makes no sense. Though a couple of characters come off looking good, it solves absolutely nothing.

Satyaraj puts aside his 'nakkal' personality from his last few movies and plays the role with the seriousness it deserves. Suvalakshmi and Divya Unni have nothing much to do. Manivannan creates for himself a comedy track where he comes to own an elephant(voiced by someone sounding like the late Usilaimani). But the track contains very few laughs. Ilaiyaraja is in charge of the music but I wouldn't have known that without looking at the credits.

Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam