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Aegan is watchable in parts

Pavithra Srinivasan | October 25, 2008 23:09 IST

It's obvious that post Billa, 'Ultimate Star' Ajith has decided to push his suave image further, and if he emulated Rajnikanth [Images] in the aforesaid movie, he's gone after Kamal Haasan [Images] and Shah Rukh Khan [Images] in unequal parts in his latest Tamil film, Aegan, produced by Ayngaran International and directed by debutant Raju Sundaram (trying to follow the footsteps of his more successful brother Prabhudeva, behind the camera).

As for whether he's succeeded in re-creating the magic of Main Hoon Na, the Farah Khan [Images] hit from which this movie is obviously inspired-- well, that's a bit iffy.

Script-wise, this one was chosen so it would give plenty of opportunities to pander to Ajith the star --and the director, inspired by Billa as well, has stayed true to form. The first twenty minutes of the film are devoid of the star, as the villains make first appearance; John Chinnappa (Suman, with a white hairdo and unconvincing beard) sheds tears as he 'feels' for the deaths of his henchmen, Sriman, his aide adds to some silly slap-stick sequences. But far more important is Chinnappa's fall-out with Ramprasad (Avinash), who, after collaborating with him on innumerable illegal activities, suddenly decides that he won't be a party to 'innocent murders' and walks out.

Popcorn flies, bits of papers are thrown about; fans shriek and whistle -- and thus enters Shiva the Aegan (Ajith), wearing a bushy beard (the physical resemblance to Kamal is quite strong) and firing guns in style, a la Billa. You have to hand it to Ajith--his screen presence really does serve to help him make such an entrance.

This police officer has no compunctions in shooting everyone in sight, regardless of the consequences. He's just shot Iqbal, Chinnappa's chief man when he's summoned by Karthikeyan (Nasser) his commanding officer (and his father, incidentally), to trace Ramprasad. And this is where, for the Tamil fan, the story really begins.

Shiva has to go to Ooty to find Ramprasad's daughter Pooja (Piaa), whom the fugitive will undoubtedly come to see --disguised as student.

You see another side of Ajith as he makes no bones about his older image, when he asks his father and VMC Hanifa (whose role, other than the fact he's part of the police force is undefined) whether his beard and paunch will help in his image as a student. But his father is insistent, and voila!

There's Shiva in the campus, clean-shaven, but still attired in staid pants and shirts. Much hilarity ensues as he's called 'Uncle' and 'Professor' on campus (and you applaud Ajith's courage in submitting himself to this) and determinedly pursues Pooja and her boyfriend Naren (Navdeep).

Meantime, there's Principal Albert Adiya Patham (Jayaram) as well, who fancies himself as a James Bond [Images]. More slap-stick humour ensues. Until Chemistry Professor Mallika (Nayanthara) waltzes in --complete with bikini tops and a see-through sari that sets everyone's pulses racing. In the midst of all this, Ajith-- sorry, Shiva-- has to complete his 'mission.'

There's only one problem, though: while Main Hoon Na made no bones about delivering a commercial pot-boiler with macho men, it also took pot-shots at Hindi film clich�s and Shah Rukh himself. Ajith tries to laugh at himself -- and he does succeed in the beginning--but then, suddenly, he decides that enough is enough. You wish, though, that he had just let himself go; it looks like the actor really did enjoy himself on screen, after a really long time.

Post the interval, Aegan loses its spontaneity and meanders between humour and seriousness.

Nayanthara's outfits get smaller and smaller, while the actress herself has nothing more to do than dance in transparent saris and high-heels. Sometimes she looks amused, at others, irritated and bored. She also looks like she's just drowned herself in a pot of tan.

Piaa hams it to glory, and makes you want to watch Amrita Rao's [Images] naivety in the original.

Navdeep is far more natural, but you pity the fact that his role is so small. Suman and Sriman mostly irritate you; so pathetic is their portrayal. VMC Hanifa produces some laughs. Suhasini and the flashback has been terribly dealt with, robbing her part of any sympathy.

Yuvan Shankar Raja has turned out a score that almost delivers 'Just Pass' on its report-cards; Hey Sala is the only one that's hummable. Milan's art direction is too colourful while the stunt directors, Stun Shiva and Lakshman have understood their work and set out to provide their full money's worth.

Raju Sundaram has sacrificed the human drama, emotions and mild hilarity that made Main Hoo Naa so watchable-- trying, instead, to play up to Ajith's hero-status. It works a bit, as the star is certainly larger than life on screen.

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