(by SI blog reader Racer44)
Asal’s director Saran seems to have taken a few notes from Ajith’s last hit film Billa.
Note 1: A large segment of the audience isn’t bothered about such trivialities like story, screenplay and acting.
Note 2: There’s something mysteriously profound about seeing Thala (Ajith, for all you schmucks) walk back and forth
Note 3: Without designer sun-glasses, Ajith looks like an ass (some say he looks like an ass even with them but let’s be charitable)
Note 4: When the right background score, camera angles and innovative hero-entrances converge, even a tharuthala (good-for-nothing) like Ajith can be shown to be The Thala.
Asal is, in spirit, Billa’s sequel.
It is slicker and more stylish, but still does not unduly tax the viewer’s intellect. But thankfully Saran has gotten hold of a more plausible story and infused a bit more logic into the proceedings which is why Asal does not inflict as much damage upon your senses as Billa did.
The story runs along these lines: Jeevanandam (Ajith with white hair, beard) is an international arms dealer based in Paris who sells weapons exclusively to governments around the world. He has three sons: Sam (Sampath Raj) and Vicky (Rajiv Krishna) of his first wife and Shiva (Ajith with black hair, beard) of his mistress.
Sam and Vicky resent Shiva’s presence in their household, and his apparent closeness with their father. When the two elder sons bring to Father Ajith’s attention a lucrative business deal that could be had with a terrorist arms supplier, both senior as well as junior Thalas put their foot down, citing ethical reasons(!!!). So the two elder sons, along with their maternal uncle (Pradeep Rawat), connive to kill father Ajith and cover it up as a natural death. Upon daddy’s death the brothers find that their old man has bequeathed almost all his wealth to Shiva.
Incensed, they hide this information from Shiva while simultaneously taunting and belittling him on the nature of his birth, so that he feels unwelcome in their midst and parts with whatever money and belongings he possesses. Just when they finish investing that money into the contract, Vicky is kidnapped by a rival arms dealer (Brijesh Shetty played by Kelly Dorji) from India who stands to lose if the deal between the terrorists and the brothers comes into effect.
The rest of the film is about how Thala rescues his half-brother from the clutches of Shetty, how he is betrayed by his ungrateful brothers and how, eventually, Thala takes his revenge and vanquishes his foes.
Flogged to Death
The story itself, despite having that flogged-to-death look about it, could have still been made into a good film had it not been subject to Tamil filmdom’s peculiarities.
The need to have half-a-dozen villains so that the hero can be shown more powerful, the requirement to have at least two heroines to offer viewers some eye-candy, the obligatory 5-songs-5-fights routine (which sticks out like a sore thumb here) and an entirely unnecessary and irritating comedy track; all these collude to make the film as unwatchable as possible.
As if all these torments were not enough, the director comes up with ingenious ideas to somehow insert the word “Thala” into the most trivial dialogs. But then, I guess the audiences are also to blame, for each mention of “Thala” witnessed whistles and general uproar in the theatre lasting a few seconds.
If, despite all these shortcomings, Asal still manages to make an impression, it is entirely because of some sharp editing (Antony), good camerawork from Prashanth D. Misale, and a screenplay which does not sag too much (the entire film is roughly about 2 hours 10 minutes).
Acting? Not Here, Look Elsewhere
The acting too is nothing to boast of.
Ajith, as usual, walks hither and thither foolishly, wearing those sunglasses. He has given up trying to do this acting thing (probably realized that was not up his alley).
Sameera Reddy puts in a better performance as Sara, a cultural attache at the Indian embassy in Paris who part-times as Thala’s secretary. Bhavana has a bewitching smile and, knowing her purpose in the film, keeps smiling whenever she can. The two girls also double as item-numbers in the song sequences (Apparently they did not expose enough skin for the audience’s liking, for one visibly enraged fellow in the front shouted “Ennada bittu poduvaanganu paathaa onnume illiyeda” to which his buddy replied equally loudly”Dei Thala padathla bit ellam irukkaadhu da. Thala mattum thaan da iruppaaru”).
For a film that is chock-a-block with baddies, only Kelly Dorji pulls off anything close to a performance. Sampath is still in the process of shaking off influences from his “Goa” sojourn, Rajiv Krishna alternates between looking angry and livid, while Pradeep Rawat is much too busy trying to look as evil as he can. There’s a Suresh, who puts in a forgettable act as a French police officer in cahoots with the brothers.
Prabhu, who plays the role of Senior Ajith’s friend, doesn’t have much to do other than appear now and then to take the story forward.
Lousy Music, Mostly
With the exception of “Thala pola varuma”, all the songs in Asal feature bad music, bad lyrics and bad dancing.
This “tottodaing” song actually had the audience rolling on the floor with laughter.
If you thought Ajith’s walking was ridiculous, wait till you see him trying to out-monkey the monkeys in this amazingly funny song. Music director Bharathwaj fares somewhat better in the BGM department, especially in portions where Thala makes his entries.
Skip This One
To be fair, Asal still comes off as better than Billa due to a more logical story and a tighter screenplay. From what I hear, it also puts Vettaikaran to shame.
Nevertheless, Asal is nowhere near enough to being called a good movie, which is why I would recommend all SI readers to give this one a miss.
Asal Box Office – Asingam, Romba Asingam