Directed and scripted by Jeethu Joseph of Drishyam fame, Aadhi brings Pranav Mohanlal back into cinema.
The son of Malayalam star Mohanlal made his beginning as a child actor in 2002 with Onnaman. With his second film Punarjani he won the Kerala State award for Best Child Artist.
Aadhi marks his debut in a lead role, one he will look back on with fondness as his performance proves his acting genes.
Aadhi plot is simple but not new. Aditya Mohan (Mohanlal), the only child of his parents (played by Siddique and Lena), is an aspiring composer looking for his big movie break.
With the help of a friend he gets an opportunity to perform inside an elite club in Bengaluru, a city frequented by Tamil and Telugu music directors. Aadhi, as he is fondly known, hopes to impress one of them. There he bumps into Anjana (Aditi Ravi), a friend from school, and he ends up catching up with her.
An unwarranted incident at the hotel overturns his life. Aadhi finds himself falsely implicated in a murder. Arjun Reddy, son of notorious business magnate Narayana Reddy, meets his end from the roof of the hotel.
With Reddy (Jagapathi Babu) out to avenge his son’s death Aadhi goes on the run.
Joseph’s neat writing rolls out a screenplay that is slickly executed and keeps viewers fixed on the screen.
Mohanlal’s Aadhi is the boy next door without the trappings of a superhero image.
Aadhi shares a close and informal equation with his parents — mother Rosy is a Christian who eloped with Mohan, a Hindu.
Unlike Mohan, Rosy believes in Aadhi’s choice of career and supports him. When Mohan expresses his anxiety to Aadhi, telling him that he has no knowledge about the cinema industry, he probably spoke for many parents out there. Yet he gives Aadhi two years to pursue his ambition. Moments shared between Aadhi and his parents are beautifully portrayed by Lena and Siddique — the two natural performers make their characters real.
With Reddy’s goons on his heels, Aadhi finds shelter in a stranger’s home. Sharath (Sharafuddin), a Malayali living in Bengaluru, sees a common enemy in Narayana Reddy. He is all out to help Aadhi.
Aadhi’s parkour training comes to his rescue while on the run. Giving an adrenalin rush are well choreographed action scenes as Aadhi races through alleys, leaps over walls and jumps across rooftops. Mohanlal Sr surprises with a cameo appearance that is quite amusing.
Joseph’s supporting characters are well created. Sharafuddin’s Sharath is someone you trust wholly. His elder sister Jaya is all bark with no bite — a sharp tongued woman, who slowly warms up to Aadhi. Joseph’s little details are visible. Consider the scene where Jaya walks into the room, to find Aadhi tending to her bedridden mother. Anusree, the versatile actress, beautifully conveys Jaya’s gratitude through her eyes.
Jagapathi Babu easily slides into the villain’s shoes — it’s not a new role for him, but here it’s quieter and subdued.
Siju Wilson and Meghanathan (as Mani Anna who helps Aadhi) lend ample support.
Satheesh Kurup’s cinematography complements Joseph’s story and the splendid climax is captured brilliantly.
Don’t miss it!
Aadhi releases in the UAE on February 15.