When a story features two look-alikes, one is unbelievably good and the other incorrigibly evil. An unwritten rule in cinema, you could say. But in an attempt to break clichés, director Ameer makes both of them roguish! So Ameerin Aadhi-Bhagavan (A) has two bad men who are similar in looks and nature. The villains (the screen teems with them) aren’t very clever either! AAB leaves the viewer in a quandary because it doesn’t have a conscientious character, but for the ever-sober mother of Aadhi (Sudha Chandran) who is busy looking sad throughout. Incidentally, her equation with her son reminds you of Rajnikanth and his mom in Thee of the 1980s.

As AAB opens with an income tax raid on the house of two brothers notorious for their illegal granite quarries, you tend to sit up in shock — you have only recently watched Special 26, the Akshay Kumar-starrer that has a similar beginning! But soon you find that Ameer’s anti-hero, Aadhi, is much less intelligent and AAB much less riveting. Of course, after that the story of AAB takes a different course.

It’s been quite a while since ‘Jayam’ Ravi had a release. You saw him last in Engeyum Kaadhal, a year and a half ago. The young man seems to be choosing his roles with an eye on variety. If his loin-cloth attire in Peraanmai exemplified his urge to be different, so does his effeminate avatar as Bhagavan in AAB. A role Prakash Raj played to perfection in Appu. Ravi has worked hard and it shows. And he seems to have undergone a voice training course. Gone is his not-so-appealing tone of the past. (Santhosh Subramaniam was an exception.) Ameer must have been quite a taskmaster. Looking menacing even while sporting a smile, Ravi’s Bhagavan will be remembered for long.

A big break in Tamil for Neetu Chandra, the female lead who’s constantly puffing away, lighting a cigarette or sipping a drink. In between she does perform well and does a good job in action also. AAB showcases her skill in martial arts effectively. But her character gets predictable after a point. Instead of subtitling the conversations that are in Hindi, Ameer has voice-overs translating the exchanges into Tamil. So the lack of lip sync gives the feeling that you are watching a dubbed film. And Hindi-speaking characters conveniently switch over to Tamil now and then!

The final ‘Bhagavan’ number and the RR preceding it are peppy strains from Yuvan Shankar Raja.

A contrast to Bhagavan, Aadhi is a nincompoop almost — all brawn and no brain! At the airport it appears as though he’s seen through his partner’s act, yet he allows himself to be a sitting duck! A bait is being dangled right under his nose, but Aadhi is oblivious to it! Exasperating! Aren’t underworld dons supposed to be perceptive and sensible? He takes too long a time to react to the predicament he is in and even when he does, his lack of acumen is obvious. Very contrived at times, the character tests your patience. And so does AAB — towards the end. Trying to go completely commercial, Ameer falters here.

You don’t expect the maker of a film such as Raam to create predictable situations and indiscreet characters, do you?