Adhe Kangal is directed by Rohin Venkatesan, but it’s perhaps more useful to consider the name of the producer: CV Kumar. Some of his films work, some don’t – but they’re always interesting, at least on paper. At the beginning, Adhe Kangal looks like a love triangle. A blind chef (Varun, played by Kalaiyarasan) falls for Deepa (Sshivada), while his friend Sadhana (Janani Iyer) is in love with him. But soon, there’s an accident, an abduction – the film morphs into an investigative thriller.
The problem with Adhe Kangal is that it rarely transcends the “interesting on paper” stage. There’s a great story, but the screenplay isn’t tight – and the detours into duets and Bala Saravanan’s comedy, with Mickey Mouse music, don’t help. The dialogue is too direct, with little flavour. And for a thriller, there’s very little mood, atmosphere. Is it fair to expect a bunch of newcomers to make a technically accomplished film, to really know their craft? Perhaps not. But in the face of something like Dhuruvangal Pathinaaru, excuses look weak.
Things begin to look up in the second half, even if the big reveal is seen from a mile away. But the villain’s character makes things slightly interesting. It’s easily the best-written of the bunch, and the others end up looking completely colourless in comparison. Adhe Kangal belongs to Sshivada. She’s asked to deliver a few too many enigmatic smiles, but she pulls the film together. Among the less-established actresses, she has easily the best resume – the terribly underrated Nedunchaalai, last year’s gonzo horror film Zero, and now this. One hopes Kollywood is taking note.
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