The helmsman is an experienced technician and the hero, proven hit material. So when the two join hands expectation is bound to be high. Aadhavan (U), directed by K. S. Ravikumar and featuring Suriya in the lead, is an engaging edge-of-the-seat entertainer in the first part. And like all Ravikumar’s products, it is a clean film without double entendres.

These days Suriya revels in both acting and action — Aadhavan exemplifies it further. His dexterity is amazing! Aadhavan (Suriya) is a ruthless killer who goes to any length for a price. His present target is a judge (Murali), probing into a case of missing children. He is to submit his findings to the CBI soon. Aadhavan’s bullet that misses the man the first time continues to miss him till the end, and by the time the truth is out, you get restless. At one stage irked by the hero’s moves that are all smoke and no fire, Vadivelu says, ‘ Bore adichu pochu.’ You tend to agree with him.

The speedy stunts choreographed by ‘Kanal’ Kannan and Franz, and Suriya’s execution of the somersaults, snipes and dives are stunning! A neat performance comes from Nayantara. Looking chic, her expressions are apt. After quite a while Vadivelu plays a rib-tickling yet significant role — in fact he is the one who takes the narration forward. His comedy in Aadhavan is bound to be a hit. Anand Babu enters after a hiatus and so does Saroja Devi. The latter contributes much to the levity of Aadhavan, and is even sportive enough to allow herself to be the butt of a couple of jokes. Sayaji Shinde sounds very different in Aadhavan. Has the person who has been dubbing for him all along been changed?

Suriya’s appearance as a 10-year-old is unnatural — the eyes in particular appear rather eerie at times. Exotic locations colourfully captured by Ra. Ganesh’s camera are a highlight of Aadhavan. However, the duet towards the end hampers the flow of the film. Why does Rahul Dev, the kingpin, go on as if Aadhavan is the only person who can eliminate the judge?

The story loses fizz when Aadhavan begins to perpetually fail in his attempts, and hence the tempo sags in the latter half. The way the hero goes about his task looks as though his sole aim is to make Vadivelu believe he has a foolproof plan. Pulling the wool over the villains’ eyes seems secondary. So by the time the suspense is unravelled, you get fidgety.

Post-interval, you have to wait quite a while for some concrete action from Aadhavan, the Infallible!

Aadhavan

Genre: Action

Director: K.S. Ravikumar

Cast: Suriya, Nayantara, Saroja Devi

Storyline: A paid assassin is entrusted with a job in which he fails again and again until …

Bottomline: A gripping opening session and a not so engrossing follow-up …