Asal Review – Folks, Show the Middle Finger

(by SI blog reader Racer44)

Asal Box Office – Asingam, Romba Asingam

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.

Billa Sequel
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.

Related Stories:
Asal Box Office – Asingam, Romba Asingam

21 Responses to "Asal Review – Folks, Show the Middle Finger"

  1. sam   February 7, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    where is the SI review of Asal?

    Criticism only very mild here. Deserves much more of that, possible only by SI and not Racer! Responds:

    You write: where is the SI review of Asal?

    We went to the theatre in NJ on Friday but the schmucks canceled the shows.

    Then we had a severe snow-storm here prompting the state govt to declare an emergency and ban all driving except by police and emergency/rescue crew. Now, there’s a mountain of snow on the ground, the roads are still in bad shape and it’s not feasible to travel now.

    Sorry, sweetie.

    • dot.dash-   February 7, 2010 at 10:56 pm

      did you like Matrix or not? Watched Super Bowl? Responds:

      1. You write: did you like Matrix or not?

      Not really. There’s no drama, Neo a.k.a. Keanu Reeves seems too stiff….

      Liked ‘Trinity’ though. 😉

      We’ll try to have the review up tomorrow.

      2. Super Bowl? Heck, no.

      Super-Shoveling time around here. 🙁

      • முனிAndy   June 21, 2010 at 9:31 am

        Finally figured out (not really – had to reinstall Vista because it had become very slow, and all the networking pieces fell in place during the reinstall) how to stream movies through PS3..

        Asal got the honor of being the first Tamil movie to be streamed through my PS3.. I disagree with racer.. it was as bad as Billa.. yet to watch Vettaikaran (Ayngaran hasn’t released it yet). Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaaya was definitely slightly more watchable.. The snow-storm saved you.

        Now that the Dev D review is done, I have to start pestering you for The Matrix review.

        BTW, I watched Toy Story 3 too.. didn’t enjoy it as much as I did Toy Story 1..(not sure if I am growing old – I watched TS-1 15 years ago – or if TS-3 really wasn’t good enough to be matched up with 1) You can probably wait for the DVD.. Watch TS 1, if you like it, move on to 2 and 3. Responds:

        In a couple of days, we’re gonna try to stream a movie through the Aspire Revo via Netflix and do a blog post. The Revo is so compact, it goes right next to the Roku box in the home theater shelf. Alternatively, you can attach it to the back of a LCD PC monitor. It’s that small.

        Will likely watch Toy Story 3 soon.

        One of these days, we’ll buy the PS3 and Wii just to find out what the ‘noise’ is all about. Alas, the local Movie Gallery (which we think used to rent games too) just closed its doors.

  2. logu   February 7, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    when it comes to ajith films SI is the best, hopefully you reserve your best against ajith.
    plzzzz review the movie ASAP…
    it’s my humble request,
    I’m sure you’d had many requests to review ASAL you know it’s “Neyer Viruppam” Responds:

    Parkalam but the roads are still in bad shape here because of the snow-storm and we have another storm (milder one this time) coming on Tuesday.

  3. pauldeleo   February 8, 2010 at 1:33 am

    Seriously not recommended..unless one is a die hard fan of Ajith.

    It would have been more watchable if they had concentrated more on the screen play than the visuals involving ajith…Ajith certainly does a decent job in all the frames (songs excluded) au contraire the rest of the male cast praise him unnecessarily.

    The ‘saran’ factor is totally missing and ajith hardly had any scope to act and most of the time he either walks or does that gross

    You can only hear Sampath and Suresh speaking through out the movie and Sampath’s repeated screams are unbearable. Yuhi sethu is another pain in the @$$. Songs could have been avoided in the movie.

    Overall, it would have been a decent attempt if saran himself had managed the key areas than sharing space with Yuhi and Ajith.. “too many spoons , spoiled this soup” Responds:

    Bet the movie will ‘run’ for 100 days in TN 😉

  4. SRINIVAS   February 8, 2010 at 1:56 am

    .it was a decent movie …..but Billa was better than Asal as it had a story to back the style displayed by ajith …..courtesy …remake

    This one was better than his previous effort Aegan ….much better than vettaikaran ….which was a masala flick …

    Asal has a decent story with very few masala elements and logical loopholes … that way its better than many of the Tamil Flicks

    @Racer: There’s something mysteriously profound about seeing Thala (Ajith, for all you schmucks) walk back and forth

    Cant stop laughing …..he keeps doing this time and again in the movie …for no apparent reason …..while everybody else is mouthing dialogs or dancing in songs….he keeps walking here and there ……….wearing a suit with sunglasses and a cigar in his mouth ……overdose of style …. Responds:

    If all it takes for the schmucks a.k.a Ajith fans to ‘come’ is the mere sight of their Thala walking back and forth, then these are really bad times for Kali Yuga. 🙁

    • racer44   February 8, 2010 at 7:03 am

      …….”wearing a suit”…..
      Ah. I had a nagging feeling I had missed something. There you go. The suit completes the new Ajith get-up. The cigar is a nice addition, no doubt. A no-nonsense script with few distractions would be an even nicer addition. Alas, you can’t have everything.

  5. Twig   February 8, 2010 at 7:50 am

    Finally SearchIndia, I got an explanation why Indian movies are like the way they are.

    You know, when a person has to think a lot about shivsena/mumbai/srk, religious reservation, cricket, political bastardism,casteism , bureaucratic lethargy, people’s lack of civic sense, Fardeen Khan acting, Karunanidhi’s death, Indian Journalism and not the least work productivity they take a safer route of not thinking about them at all. Instead they would go to a nice masala movie, sit in the front rows and when Thala enters the screen, blow their tickets in to the air and shout and dance and make make merry.

    ah! A Movie makes a person forget his awful life outside and for at least 3 hours he would imagine whatever he want. Responds:


    You forget the desi fans’ insatiable obsession for lavish skin show. They have to pander to that too.

    BTW, we updated your Ashley comment a few days back.

  6. racer44   February 8, 2010 at 8:57 am

    “sit in the front rows and when Thala enters the screen, blow their tickets in to the air and shout and dance and make make merry.”

    You seem to know tamil audiences really well. Every single thing you mentioned happened in the theatre where I watched. Though I doubt whether the tickets alone would have accounted for all that confetti.

    Thala fans also have certain interesting quirks of their own: Whenever Thala’s face is shown in close-up, or Thala makes one of his trademark entries, they make it a point to yell loudly (for the rest of the theatre, and especially those pu*** vijay fans, to hear) “THALANAA MARANAMDA, THALANAA BAYAM, THALANAA GETHU, THALANAA MASS DA DEI VIJAYI O**A TH******A UNNAALA NAMMA THALA MEESAIYA KOODA SAPPA MUDIYAADHUDA BA***” and similar other gems. Thala’s fans are a roistering lot, that’s for sure. Responds:


    But are these real fans or reel fans i.e paid coolies.

    A few years back as we were leaving CinePlaza in North Bergen, NJ after watching the premiere show of Sivaji, we overheard a guy outside instructing a group of young fellows (who were noisy inside the theatre) to make more noise.

    If you can rent a crowd for a political rally, it’s hardly a big deal to hire some unemployed youths to create some noise inside the movie hall.

  7. racer44   February 8, 2010 at 10:35 am

    “A few years back as we were leaving CinePlaza in North Bergen, NJ after watching the premiere show of Sivaji, we overheard a guy outside instructing a group of young fellows (who were noisy inside the theatre) to make more noise.”

    Instructing, ok( or perhaps egging them on maybe)..but paid!!!, Isn’t that stretching it a bit? People don’t spend money for these things, especially when they go with their friends. In TN, we get them naturally boisterous, owing perhaps to the deeply inebriated state of many of these fans. Responds:

    What we witnessed outside CinePlaza suggested that the noise inside was not a spontaneous eruption.

    With the production costs of movies being so high these days, distributors/exhibitors/producers/actors would hardly hesitate to create buzz and favorable word of mouth through simian or other antics of ‘fans.’

    For instance, SI reader Ravish wrote about gypsy dancers on the road to ‘celebrate’ Kuruvi’s release in Chennai.

  8. racer44   February 8, 2010 at 11:34 am

    “distributors/exhibitors/producers/actors would hardly hesitate to create buzz ”

    Ah, you seriously over-estimate the brain sizes of all people associated with the tamil film industry. They can make a mangled mess of promoting even a wonderful film. Remember Aayirathil oruvan?

    off-topic: Thanks for the clarification e-mail. Responds:

    You write: Thanks for the clarification e-mail.

    We like our reviewer. 😀

  9. racer44   February 8, 2010 at 11:48 am

    “We like our reviewer.”

    If you really meant that, I am mighty pleased. High praise indeed. Responds:

    You write: If you really meant that,

    Yes, indeed.

  10. logu   February 10, 2010 at 7:19 am

    SI: “Bet the movie will ‘run’ for 100 days in TN”

    ya it will “run” out of the theatre but 100 days is too long a time,

    when a disgusting, brainless director like Saran makes a film with an actor(i doubt we shouldn’t call him one) with very little or perhaps no calibre like Ajith what to expect????

    The heartening aspect in TN is there’s no repeat audiences for these garbages, so hardly a movie runs for 50 days. of course this is not applicable to SUN pictures who almost have everything in their hands, (production house, TV, newspaper,politics)
    you could see “ottai”karan 100th day poster only in their newspaper since this movie isn’t by SUN so it has little chance of reaching 50 days…. Responds:

    Watched the Tottodaing song on YouTube last night…hilarious. The inmates are truly out of the madhouse. 😉

    • racer44   February 10, 2010 at 10:07 am

      @SI: “Watched the Tottodaing song on YouTube last night…hilarious.”

      Hilarious is an understatement. I laughed so much my stomach started to hurt.

      It was the high-point of the movie for me. Ajith looked like a priceless ass doing that that finger-jab with that dumb-ass expression on his face. I hear the song is even drawing repeat audiences.:D

      Who needs spoof films when we’ve got Ajith films? Responds:

      And that buxom girl with the enticing derriere had that retard-ish ‘somebody, please take me to Kilpauk anon’ look on its face. 😉

      Watching it again.

      After shoveling a heap of snow, we need to laugh a bit.

  11. logu   February 10, 2010 at 7:43 am

    if you haven’t had a good laugh for a while(which u and racer won’t have after watching all these crap movies) just see this
    Koundamani makes a mincemeat of vijay and ajith in the below links

    and this one made me LMOA an aweome mix… Responds:

    The gorilla video (i.e. the last one) was funny…the others were no big deal.

    • racer44   February 10, 2010 at 10:15 am

      @Logu: “if you haven’t had a good laugh for a while (which”u and racer won’t have after watching all these crap movies”

      Don’t include me. It is one of the very important reasons I(and most people in TN) watch movies like these. To forget all our worries for some 2-3 hours and have a hearty laugh. Of course, there are movies designed by perverted, evil minds like Villu which are specially designed to mete out divine retribution, but those are extreme cases. I mostly have a good time laughing at all these idiots and their mindless antics.(See Narasimha, Vaanjinathan etc and you’ll understand)

  12. Vikatan   February 11, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    I am visiting your blog after a long time.

    I came here for your Asal review.

    I loved your Billa review and the comments that followed.

    Was hoping to get the same kind of entertainment from your Asal review.

    I am kind of disappointed.

    Racer44 review is good but nothing compared to SI.

    I looked up your earlier posts to read Vettaikaran review.

    Looks like you skipped that too.

    Was really looking forward to reading your funny responses to Vettaikaran comments. Responds:

    You write above: Was hoping to get the same kind of entertainment from your Asal review. I am kind of disappointed.

    Sorry, sweetie.

    We did go to the theatre last Friday. But the bozos canceled the shows.

    And then we got hit by a bad snow-storm.

    Will try not to disappoint you the next time around. 🙂

  13. Mud Haliar   February 14, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Only 16 responses.. no Vaals( – to Thala)here to defend Ajith.. Whatever happened to Dilip.. (or what’s his new name)? Responds


    Doubt he’s still around.

  14. 1012900   February 15, 2010 at 8:01 am

    This was what my cousin had to say after watching the movie.

    ‘Don’t understand what the hoo-haa is all about. It’s just another beaten to death film set partly in France. Seemed excruciatingly long for a 2 hr something movie.”Totodoin” song was the last straw 4 pll to get up and leave. Word of caution- if u must watch it,then choose a theatre with a good sound system or else it ll feel like an action film running inside ur head with bullets piercing through ur skull. Wonder why they gave the tagline – “the power of silence”. What an irony!

    Ajith looks like an old fat hag. Sameera can’t act. Don’t even get me started on Prabhu and Yugi sethu plus monkey-like associates. IMO, Sampath looks good and acts even better!’ Responds:

    You write above: Ajith looks like an old fat hag

    Has it ever looked any different? 😉

  15. 1012900   February 15, 2010 at 8:04 am

    While some appreciate the film for its technical aspects, others brand it as crap.

    I’ll skip Asal and go watch My Name Is Khan instead.

    Yet to watch Avatar btw. It’s running full house on weekends. Responds:

    Avatar or Sherlock Holmes are better bets.

  16. chennaiarun2007   August 19, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Mankatha music review – Very Very Close to Yuvan’s best!!


    That is the screaming sound of his fans that you are going to hear in the theatre in the next few days!!The trailer is just rocking and it looks like Ajith is not going to disappoint his fans.

    Coming to the music of the film(Thala’s 50 or 50th film as the trailer says),Yuvan has did a good job.He seems to have taken extra care in composing the music.

    The songs:


    Sung by Karthik,Vijay Yesudas and Anusha Dhayanidhi

    The vocals of Karthik and Vijay are fine.The rendition is very clear.Anusha’s voice lends a lot of energy and freshness to the song.The song makes you groove and dance!!

    2.Nee Naan

    Sung by S.P.B.Charan and Bhavatharini

    A pretty good melody from Yuvan.Charan has a done a pretty good job.Bhavatharini joins him to script a beautiful song that is sure to be loved and enjoyed by all.Surely the pick of the album.

    3.Vilayadu Mankatha

    Sung by Yuvan,Ranjith,Suchitra

    The song is just rocking!!This song was released as a single some days back.People liked this song very much that they were interested in the album.All the singers do a great job,particularly the female singer who has sung the hindi part of the song.The lyrics are catchy.Another pick of the album!!

    4.Vaada bin laada

    Sung by Krish and Suchitra

    This song is pretty disappointing.The tunes could have been better.

    5.Machi Open the Bottle

    Sung by Mano,Haricharan,Prem ji Amaran,Tippu

    A typical folk-party number.Follows the same pattern of Saroja Saman Nikalo of Chennai-28.Good song but should listen to two or three times to appreciate this song.


    Sung by Madhushree and Yuvan Shankar Raja

    A melody number that should have been much better.Madhushree sure does a great job,but her Tamil pronounciation lack a little clarity.Overall a disappointing song.

    7.Mankatha Party Mix

    A remix of Vilayadu Mankatha song,this hits the right tunes and is a very different attempt from Yuvan.Nice but could have more better.

    8.Mankatha Theme Music

    The theme music is the one that plays in the trailer.It is a pretty good song.

    Overall Rating: 3 out of 5.

    Though Yuvan has done a pretty decent job,his touch is missing in some songs.That is the reason why some people are not enjoying the Mankatha album and it is getting negative comments.

    Btw,here is the Mankatha trailer:

    Venkat Prabu rocks!!

    Arun Responds:

    1. You write: Venkat Prabu rocks!!

    Venkat Prabhu is a Thirutu Nai. 🙁

    Saroja – Outright Theft of Judgment Night

    2. Thanks for the Mankatha music review, sweetie. 🙂

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