Two brothers and a half brother in conflict — over their father's affections, property and the way business should be conducted — make for an interesting premise. And, considering the high-profile team involved — director Saran, Ajith (sans his ‘Ultimate Star’ title), Sivaji Productions and music director Bharadwaj — you expect the fireworks to begin in right earnest.

Sadly, it does not. What strikes you, though, is the style quotient. When a lissom Sameera Reddy, playing cultural attaché Sarah, walks down the fashion streets of Paris in the opening sequence, the tone is set for all the designer labels to come calling! Sadly, Bhavana (Sulabha) ends up sporting some distinct fashion disasters.

As for Ajith, the man oozes style in a double role! The spiked hair, the side burns, the suits… and the silence sit beautifully on him. Ajith debuts as co-director with this movie and is also credited with the dialogues, story and screenplay along with Saran and Yugi Sethu (who also stars in the film).

Arms dealer Jeevanathan (Ajith, the father), who operates out of Paris, rejects an opportunity to sell arms to terrorists. Sons Sam (Sampath) and Vicky (Rajiv Krishna) want to take on Mumbai-based don Shetty (Kelly Dorjee) and bag the deal, while Shiva (Ajith, the son) and Jeevanathan are against it. Soon, Ajith Sr is bumped off and the legitimate sons sign a deal with the arms cartel, influenced by their evil uncle Kali (Pradeep Rawat) and aided by Paris policeman Daniel (Suresh).

Soon, Vicky is kidnapped by Shetty and taken to Mumbai. Shiva rushes in to the rescue. In Mumbai, he stays with Mirasi (Prabhu), his father's friend, and meets a moon-struck Bhavana, Don Samsa (Yugi Sethu) and team. He eliminates the dreaded Shetty effortlessly, and rescues his brothers, but is shot at by them and presumed drowned. Little surprise, he returns to Paris and vows vengeance. He sees Sarah, who has forcibly been turned a druggie, rescues her and kills Vicky.

From here, you expect the storyteller called Saran to take over and lend the proceedings some finesse and depth. You expect some mind game, some intelligent decimation of the villains. But, some fisticuffs, flying stunts galore and an electrocution later, the film races to its end.

The performances are measured, but the characterisation could have been better. Everything is either black or white; there's no grey zone. Ajith's acting is in keeping with the film's tagline, ‘The power of silence'; he has few dialogues, and you see the emotion in his eyes when the glares come off!

Kelly is hopelessly miscast as the villain Shetty; he is just not menacing enough. And, what a waste of talents such as Sampath (barring the scene where he sees his brother dead) and Suresh. Bhavna, cast in a girl-woman role, has little to do but look longingly at the hero. Sameera fares a little better. Prabhu is his mellow, dignified self even while sporting floral shirts.

Prashanth D Misale's cinematography is top class, capturing Paris and Mumbai in all their glorious beauty; Anthony's editing is tight too — the film is just over two hours long, and art director Prabhakar's sets are classy. The music by Bharadwaj is a let-down, with few hummable numbers.

As you leave the theatre, some questions linger. Does Daniel work for the Paris police or for Sam? And, women looking on happily as the hero blows a ring of smoke around them is regressive to say the least. And, a team with a history of success could have come up with a more layered script, surely!

Aasal

Director: Saran

Cast: Ajithkumar, Prabhu, Sameera Reddy, Bhavana, Sampath, Rajeev Krishna, Kelly Dorjee, Yugi Sethu and Suresh

Storyline: Two brothers decide to bump off the half brother who stands between them and the family property. But, he returns to avenge himself.

Bottomline: High on style, low on content. Strictly for Ajith fans

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