Aadai movie review: Amala Paul sure knows how to pack a punch

We are shown how helpless she feels running here and there fearing strangers’ eyes peeping into her naked self. Kamini isn’t a wailing victim waiting to be rescued by a man. Sometimes, it is true. After an impressive start, in the second half, Aadai goes off track. Kudos to the Director of Photography Vijay Karthik Kannan for having captured a lot of scenes with utmost sensitivity. Aadai pretty much sums up the famous quote in the teaser by Jean-Paul Sartre. That is how life is. She even requests for a female to deliver the order. In one of the earlier scenes, Kamini asks her mother (played by Sri Ranjini of House Owner-fame), “What do you know about feminism?”— to which she replies it can be the gesture of giving extra idlis to someone in dire need. She drinks smokes and rides a sports bike. Sometimes, it is not. In a nutshell, it’s the story of free-spirited Kamini (Amala Paul), who goes back to her original name, Suthanthira Kodi. On her birthday, Kamini gets drunk with a group of friends. Kamini’s mother adjusts her bra strap and lectures how it should be worn “properly”. Kamini looks around if she could find any piece of cloth. Kamini, of course, is forgiving of the woman who caused her trauma towards the end. She dreads wearing saris and sporting bindis. She orders biryani, hoping someone would save her. She tries to escape. This is actually a metaphor. She isn’t a ‘free bird’. “Freedom is about what you do with what’s been done to you”. Her mother doesn’t like the way she is. She does everything to get herself out of the unlikeliest situation. Finally, she wraps herself with toilet papers and tapes. A man approaches the building she is in and tries to barge in — but quickly leaves following a phone call. Even though Aadai strives to be an unapologetic feminist film, it loses its purpose the moment Kamini responds, “Naan avlo mosam illa”— when a judgemental character tells, “Nee apdiye vandhuduvanu paarthen… maaname illama!” I don’t understand why Kamini had to say those words and play a victim. She considers doing all of these a nightmare. But I can’t buy this situation we are shown⁠—that her mobile phone is out of balance. I don’t think Kamini was a saintly-figure. She never was. Without realising what the future holds, Kamini says she can read out the news naked if someone dares her to. After some time, Kamini decides to take a weapon and hit back. Though they get drunk, they neither take advantage of her nor the situation. She runs into the bathroom and shuts the door. A dog continues to howl at the door having tasted the blood. The dog runs away. Popular Photos

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The gutsy Kamini isn’t gutsy anymore. She doesn’t trust anyone—the police or the media. With a smile, she leaves to work. Amala Paul plays Kamini with such conviction that it’s hard to dislike her—despite being the rebel she is. Though the lead character’s name is Suthanthira Kodi, she is not exempted by society’s usual norms. Advertising

Aadai begins with the story of Nangeli who kills herself protesting against ‘Breast Tax’. Kamini, similarly, fights a battle. But the next morning, she finds herself naked in the same building. Aadai, once again, emphasises ‘woman is the biggest enemy of woman’. Kamini doesn’t argue further. Some of them are a nuisance.” In particular, watch out for this scene where Kamini tells a male friend, “If I choose to sit on your bike, it doesn’t mean I love you. To cover herself, Kamini holds a broken mirror and I see that as a reflection of ourselves. 0
Comment(s) She waits for her mother to call. Advertising

Aadai is well-intentioned but partly paradoxical. That’s what the film ‘teaches’ us. More Explained

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While, in general, Kollywood has trivialised #MeToo movement, Rathna Kumar deserves a huge applause for placing a scene, taking a dig at Vairamuthu and Radharavi — though the latter was executed distastefully. On the other hand, men in Aadai are shown being protective of Kamini. She hates visiting temples. From being a cliched feminist, she transforms into a different person after realising the ‘true meaning of freedom and feminism’. She could, at least, have sent a WhatsApp text to someone. When Kamini sheds inhibitions and fights back, the problem disappears. In fact, Kamini picks up her boyfriend and rides so fast like a man. In another one, Jenny (Ramya) asks if she should pay the royalty for playing antakshari. Nangeli wished to dress however she wanted and fought for ‘the right to dress’. I am not saying it’s not natural. Maybe, in the world that Rathna Kumar has created, all is fair and justifiable. She fights. ‘How’ and ‘why’ forms the storyline of Aadai. Next, what does Kamini do? I couldn’t help but laugh at this scene where a chaiwallah tells Kamini he would become the Prime Minister someday. It means I like your bike”. She works for a news channel and does prank shows. A group of mongrels chase Kamini. Kamini is independent, fearless and a badass. For all the controversy the teaser sparked, not even in one place you find the shots suggestive or vulgar. She doesn’t. But the film has its moments—like how we are made to understand “Not all pranks are pranks. She is not your usual woman. That is not believable.