In the two films he's done so far, Aadhi has proved his spontaneity as an actor. Ayyanar, (U/A) his third, is a reiteration. Suspicion, murder and the aftermath form the fulcrum. At a superficial level, it is a chilling story of sibling rivalry, but the suspense, when it is unravelled, has some surprises in store. Writer-director S.S. Rajamithran, who makes his bow with Ayyanar, has chosen a much-dealt-with revenge saga, all right, but has taken care to steer clear of the beaten track of threats and counter threats. It is retributive justice presented reasonably well.

What's happening to Santhanam? After Boss Engira Baskaran, he has become a mere value addition (particularly in the promos) and is brought in and pulled out at will. Even in the high decibel song sequence of the hero and the group, he is not seen throughout. Jayaprakash plays the antithesis of the concerned father that he was in Naan Mahaan Alla, but has little to do this time. On the other hand, Anupama Kumar, the mother of the young men, scores with her underplayed performance — very much in the way she did in Pokkisham and Vamsam. Vishnupriyan, the brother, isn't a new face exactly — he even played hero in Ilakkanam opposite Uma, and his name was Ram then. His performance in Ayyanar passes muster. Looking fragile, vulnerable and too young to play heroine, Meera Nandan, who impressed you in her Tamil debut, Valmiki, continues to do so in Ayyanar.

Beginning in Kumbakonam, the action shifts to Chennai and swings back and forth. Prabhakar (Aadhi), a volleyball coach, is waiting for his appointment order. His more qualified younger brother has already secured a job and supplements the family income. But he is petty, arrogant and supercilious when it comes to his elder brother. And when suddenly he is found murdered, all hell breaks loose…

At times, Prabhakar's expressions are confounding. Why the smirk on his face when his brother's resignation is accepted? Even if it is to deliberately mislead the viewer, it doesn't quite suit the character. In the first place, why did he have to go with the info to the office and make himself visible to all there? And why on earth could he not take his family into confidence? Several such questions arise, yet, smart treatment makes them forgettable.

Ayyanar's theme music and the ‘Aathaadi' piece linger in your ears — they are Thaman's creations.

A promising debut from director Rajamithran!

Ayyanar

Genre: Murder mystery

Director: S. S. Rajamithran

Cast: Aadhi, Meera Nandan, Vishnupriyan, Anupama Kumar

Storyline: Two brothers are always at loggerheads. Suddenly one meets with an unnatural death …

Bottomline: Speedy Avenger!