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Satyaraj and Napoleon in "Adithadi" ... an action comedy competently handled.

THE TITLE is misleading. If you expect Sundari Films' "Adithadi" to be an unending saga of action, fights and frenzy, you are mistaken. An action comedy through and through, the genre has been reasonably well explored by writer-director Shivraj, who makes his debut with the film. Having apprenticed under S. A. Chandrasekaran and T. P. Gajendran, the influence of the action of the former and the humour of the latter is visible in Shivraj's maiden attempt.

Here is one actor who ought to have continued as a villain. If he had, he would have given all the "bad men" a run for their money. The cynicism, conceit, gall and humour that you witnessed and liked in ever so many Satyaraj films including "Khakhi Chattai," "Vikram" and "Mr. Bharat" resurface with an interesting dimension in "Adithadi." A role straight up Satyaraj's alley, and he does full justice to it. Sparing no one, the man has a dig at all and sundry, including himself. The film has an A certification, but for the most part it is replete with the Satyaraj brand of humour.

Tirupati (Satyaraj) is a 50-year-old bachelor and a rich underworld don who kills for money. Women, family and sentiments that are expected to go with such a lifestyle, have no place in his scheme of things. Things are smooth till he sets eyes on Priya (Rathi), a college student. Tirupati falls in love with her and tries his best to woo her, in vain.

For a hero, to parade with a bald pate is unthinkable. It calls for guts and Satyaraj has it in plenty. He is not in the least conscious of it till he sets eyes on Priya and even then when he resorts to sporting a wig, he does so with a mocking grin in his own inimitable style. Ever so many scenes can be recapitulated and enjoyed. Satyaraj's expression when he goes to Gemini Ganesan for advice about his romantic pursuits and his first letter to Priya on the lines of Kamal's "Guna" are just two examples. A much-thinned-down Rathi goes beyond the norm of being a mere glamour puss and reveals the right amount of fear, helplessness and anger at Tirupati's overtures. But why did she have to wait so long to make the old man see reason? Napoleon plays a perfect foil to his brother. There's dignity about Napoleon's essay that comes to the fore yet again in "Adithadi." Abbas's is another apt cameo.

But why did director Shivraj have to introduce an item number with flabby girls gyrating to loud music? "Adithadi" gets too crass for words at this point. It not only spoils the pace of the film but leaves an unsavoury taste, served as it is in the midst of some light, intelligent romancing sequences. And the climax is too contrived. It is not clear why Napoleon wants his brother to perform 100 marriages free! Technical credits include R. Selva (camera), Uday shankar (editing) and Shiva Yadav (art).

Going by the credits, with "Adithadi" "Thenisai Thendral" has also become "Isai Brahma." But as far as the compositions are concerned, there's very little by way of melody to supplement the title that goes with Deva's name.

You could double up in laughter, guffaw at the hero's audacity or wrinkle your nose in disgust at certain points, but surely you cannot ignore the film that reminds you so much of the `villainous' Satyaraj of yore.


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