Aavesham Movie Review: Half-way through Jithu Madhavan's sophomore directorial, Aavesham, I realised that the movie is quite similar in context to his smash hit debut, Romancham. There is even a scene in the second half to highlight the commonality. If the immature protagonists of Romancham are first obsessed and later terrified of the spectral Anamika, then in Aavesham, the three juvenile young leads are similarly besotted with the gangster Ranga before he begins to turn a nuisance for them. Aavesham and Varshangalkku Shesham Box Office Collection Day 1: Fahadh Faasil's Gangster Comedy and Pranav Mohanlal's Period Drama Open With Rs 10 Crore Worldwide.

I remember reading this interesting theory on Reddit about Romancham being this metaphor for addiction - with the film depicting different stages of the same - and it made enough sense. That theory could also apply to Aavesham, but this also meant that we end up comparing both movies, even if, technically, they don't exactly fall in the same bracket despite being light-hearted entertainers. Here's where Aavesham takes a beating for not being as solidly consistent as Romancham. No worries, though, for there is still a major compensation in the form of a fantastic Fahadh Faasil azhinjaattam (revelry).

What's Aavesham About?

Aavesham revolves around three youngsters, Aju (Hipszter aka Pranav Raj), Bibi (Mithun Jai Shankar) and Shanthan (Roshan Shahnavaz), who join an engineering college in Bengaluru and take residence in a nearby private hostel. The three become victims of a brutal ragging by their seniors led by a sociopathic Kutty (Midhutty). While the seniors act chill with them after that, the juniors, especially Aju and Bibi, are still seething from the humiliation, and they decide to take vengeance by forming a 'local support' in the city.

Watch the Teaser of Aavesham:

They decide to haunt the local bars to find out a criminal who can help them out, and their hunt brings them to Ranga (Fahadh Faasil), a powerful and flamboyant gangster who speaks Malayalam in strong Kannaga slang, loves doing Insta reels and commands a dedicated entourage who keep praising him. Ranga takes an instant liking for the trio and includes them in his entourage. While his friendship proves beneficial for them at first, the youngsters begin to suffer in their studies and then slowly realise that Ranga is like narcotics - he is addictive, but he is also 'dirty business'.

Fahadh on FIRE!

The opening credits of Aavesham proudly proclaims -'Re-Introducing FaFa'. The makers are confident of presenting Fahadh Faasil to his fans in a never-seen-before manner, and they are largely successful in doing so. Aavesham becomes this film where its biggest star dominates so hard that the rest of the movie struggles to catch up with him. You know the audience is on board with Ranga as a character when you hear claps and cheers the moment he says "Eda Mwone" even before he is seen on screen. Romancham Movie Review: Soubin Shahir's Spooky Buddy-Comedy is an Absolute Laugh-Riot!

A Still From Aavesham

It is an electrifying performance from Fahadh, who nails the OTT mannerisms, the accent and, more importantly, the physicality of the character with extreme gusto, resulting in a smashing portrayal. You can experience how Aavesham gets its aavesham when he is on screen, and especially during the second half of the film when he is not there, the energy levels go dangerously low and the runtime becomes patience-testing. Also move over, Ranbir Kapoor and Saanwariya, Indian Cinema now has a new champion in towel dance!

Cast Excels!

It is not that the film is bad or that the rest of the cast falters. Hipszter, Mithun Jai Shankar and Roshan Shanavas are natural performers with nice comic timing, and do their best to vibe up the scenes when the writing struggles to do so. Midutty as the arrogant senior leaves a mark.

A Still From Aavesham

But the standout performance is reserved for Sajin Gopu (the only main cast member from Romancham retained), who manages to steal some of the applause reserved for Fahadh in certain scenes. Mansoor Ali Khan's presence in the cast leaves a sour taste over the actor's recent controversial statements. Special mention also deserved to the actors who played Bibi's mother and Ranga's mute henchman Nenjiappa.

The First Half

Aavesham begins well with its setup and the introduction of the leads and their other hostel mates. The scene depicting the juniors' assault is undeniably intense, albeit the film tries to temper its impact with a dose of humor. Perhaps my reaction was influenced by recent news of student suicides related to ragging, which lingered in my mind. With the entry of Ranga, I expected things to blow up, just like how the Ouija Board's introduction managed to do in Romancham.

A Still From Aavesham

That doesn't exactly happen here. While the actors deliver entertaining performances and some one-liners land effectively, and the visual treatment is quirky and enjoyable, the humour doesn't quite reach the same level of engagement as the director's debut film, which benefited from a more contained approach. Nonetheless, boredom doesn't set in, and there are standout scenes, such as Ranga's goons displaying their array of weapons to the boys, or the hilarious moment when Sajin Gopu's Amban struggles to handle a gun in front of them.

Undoubtedly, the highlight of the first half is the pre-interval sequence when Ranga and Amban arrive at the college gates. The fight choreography is uproarious without sacrificing the scene's comedic charm, while also containing a couple of delightful surprises.

The Second Half

Post-interval is where the three youngsters begin to realise the pitfalls of their addiction to Ranga. This is where Aavesham falls into a predictable pattern expected from a film of this nature, which is one reason why the film becomes even shakier here. The other reason is Ranga himself. While the character becomes more developed and we see more facets of him, as I mentioned earlier, he overshadows the film, and when he is not on screen, Aavesham falters. Varshangalkku Shesham Movie Review: Pranav Mohanlal-Dhyan Sreenivasan's Film is Solely For Feel-Good Enthusiasts With an Enjoyable Nivin Pauly Cameo.

A Still From Aavesham

Secondly, I felt the writing was uncertain whether to portray him as a villain or a good-hearted anti-hero, and this confusion is evident on screen. The dumb-charades scenes were nicely executed to establish the unpredictable nature of Ranga, being both funny and tense simultaneously. Additionally, the subsequent scene, reminiscent of Romancham, where the boys realise the true nature of Ranga, is also memorable.

However, there was another scene where I felt Ranga was blurring the lines between an anti-hero and a proper antagonist, only for the film to play it safe with that plot development later on. Even the inclusion of Mansoor Ali Khan's Reddy felt like an attempt to portray Ranga as a lesser evil (which unfortunately reminded me of a Sanjay Dutt movie called Plan, where Mahesh Manjrekar played a role in a similar capacity). Just like the 'bada' and 'chota vaal' Ranga uses for his dumb charades. Okay, movie, I see what you did there!

The Winner of a Climax

There are instances where you realise that Aavesham feels like a tribute to the Tamil and Telugu potboilers that have become blockbusters in recent times. The 'amma' sentiment, the KGF ringtone, a casual drop of the Pushpa gesture... you can catch the easter eggs here and there. The tributes actually culminate boisterously in the third act, which is where Aavesham truly shines in what the dudes call a MASS sequence, where, once again, the blend of some fun action choreography and Sushin Shyam's score elevates everything to electrifying heights. Not to mention, Fahadh is absolutely terrific in this scene, giving the impression of an actor breaking free of all constraints to deliver an outrageously commanding performance. Who says Malayalam Cinema has forgotten how to make 'mass' movies?

Final Thoughts on Aavesham

If you ever doubted that Fahadh Faasil is losing ground these days as an actor, then Aavesham dispels all those doubts away, Ranga-style! It is a fun, massy and highly entertaining performance from the actor, who could even give Pushpa a run for his money. The film is not always consistent in maintaining the same energy, but when it does, Aavesham gives enough ammo to clap, cheer and whistle.


(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Apr 12, 2024 04:54 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).