Film, India, Malayalam, Review


Aavesham, now streaming on Prime Video following its mega successful theatrical run, follows the lives of three college freshman, Bibi (Mithun Jai Shankar), Aju (Hipzster) and Shanthan (Roshan Shahnavaz), who get into a messy brawl with their seniors. In the pursuit of vengeance, they turn to a local gangster, Ranga (Fahadh Faasil), for aid, eventually forming an unexpected camaraderie with him. The film, a no-holds-barred and intrepid endeavour by writer-director Jithu Madhavan, consistently tests and pushes the envelope of genre filmmaking, culminating in a largely entertaining and worthwhile viewing experience.

First and foremost, props to Madhavan for cleverly balancing Aavesham’s narrative with a raw and energetic undercurrent of unpredictability that incessantly compels the viewer to be constantly on the edge of their seat.  The plot often pivots from one theme to another seamlessly, surprisingly and sharply. Just when it seems as though the film has reached its highpoint and there is nothing new left to offer, Madhavan throws in a deft surprise that has you hooked. In a rare occurrence, the comedy in Aavesham doesn’t stem from a place of frivolity or cheap and ridiculous situations but rather from anticlimactic incidents and the intrinsic and rational wit that the main characters possess.

In addition, Madhavan ensures that the film is devoid of over sentimentalizing subjects of maternal love, loneliness and desolation and looks at them pragmatically. As is common with people who feel isolated in new environments or those who sever ties with loved ones abruptly, all his characters yearn for support no matter who or where it comes from and regardless of how harmful these equations can be in the long run. And perhaps this attempt to highlight the human need for belongingness is the most interesting facet of Madhavan’s characters.

That said, if one had to nitpick, the action sequences in the film do feel slightly repetitive and threadbare and although they are cathartic in places and essential to resolve some character arcs, most of the action in Aavesham is far less exciting than its situations, inter-character equations and all other elements at play.

Bibi is a mama’s boy, who, at first, seems like the weakest out of the trio but turns out to be the strongest, smartest and most fearless in dangerous situations. His growth from timid to outspoken and confident (over-confident by the end) is not explicitly shown by Madhavan but is subtly and masterfully built from one scene to the next. Aju on the other hand, is someone who gains his confidence and security from the assurance of being part of a collective/ group, but when asked to deal with tough situations on his own, chickens out. If Bibi and Aju are two ends of a spectrum, Shanthan falls somewhere in the middle. A tempering factor to their trio, Shanthan has a clear moral conscience but rarely takes a formidable stance on any topic of contention and is highly non-confrontational.

The most riveting and well-fleshed out character of all however, is that of Ranga vividly brought to life by Faasil. There is a charisma, aura, humour and an empathetic side to him that makes those who are around him feel comfortable. Although not sophisticated, he lives by a code of morals and principles whilst being highly compassionate with those he likes. Surprisingly, his intentions are more noble, honest and pure than the trio when it comes to their friendship, as he enjoys reliving his youth (a time he couldn’t live to his fullest) vicariously through them. What makes Ranga’s character all the more memorable is that respect in the underworld and infamy aside, all he really wants is to have genuine friends who he can conduct casual and friendly conversation with – he wants to love and be loved, sans any malice and favours. On the contrary, when this fails to be the case, Ranga is the most menacing, temperamental and terrifying individual to be around. It is indeed amusing and refreshing to see how Madhavan puts all his main characters in the same situation but gives them distinct takeaways and resolutions based on their personal nature and tendencies.

Exemplary performances and a by-and-large tightly knit narrative increases the engagement quotient of Aavesham tenfold. The linear structure of the film flows at an alacritous pace, never stultifying the viewer. Special mention must be made of the sharp writing that gives expeditious momentum to the plot. Having said that, a long runtime and abundant chaos unfolding in every scene has the tendency to overwhelm the viewer. The cinematography, although elaborate and for most part efficacious, feels slightly synthetic and lurid, especially in its lighting choices. The production design is thorough and special attention and care has gone into the costumes such that they subliminally convey a great deal about each character. Although the sound design is meticulous, it fails to create a lasting impact due to uneasy fluctuation with respect to its levels. The background score is well-employed and is thankfully applied to only those places where it boosts the overall impact. The songs are catchy with great thought put into the lyrics of the end credits song in particular.

Not only does Aavesham revitalize the action-comedy film but it also serves as a great benchmark for filmmakers to further expand the limits and possibilities of this genre.


Malayalam, Action, Comedy, Color

Previous ArticleNext Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *