Agilan Movie Review: An earnest Jayam Ravi fails to save this sinking ship
The film, which seems to have noble intentions and a nobler heart, is heavily let down by its attempt to be a lot of hit films.
Jayam Ravi has always established himself as a humanitarian who cares about global issues, but unfortunately for him, whenever he does a film titled after a 'global' message, the results haven't been promising. Examples include Bhooloham and Bhoomi, and his new film, Agilan, now joins this notorious list. The film, which seems to have noble intentions and a nobler heart, is heavily let down by its attempt to be a lot of hit films.
Director: N Kalyanakrishnan
Cast: Jayam Ravi, Chirag Jani, Priya Bhavani Shankar, Tanya Ravichandran, Hareesh Peradi, Harish Uthaman, Madhusudhan Rao
Remember the 'Mumbai ka baap' sequence from KGF-1, where Rocky does away with the local big shot and shows everyone that he is the king of the port? Agilan does pretty much the same but in a Chennai harbour, with an overlong plan and by the end of the first half, he finally gets christened the 'King of the Indian Ocean'. Now, why does he do all of this? To fulfil the dream of a deceased parent. Sounds familiar? But thankfully, Agilan, the protagonist, isn't a cheap rip-off of Rocky. In many ways, he is an upgrade with borrowed traits from Ravi's own Mithran (Thani Oruvan) and Dhuruvan (Peranmai). For a while, the unpredictable nature of Agilan keeps us interested, but this character alone--and an invested Ravi--can't salvage the damage done by the incoherent writing.
When Agilan was announced, it kindled the interest of a lot of audiences for its unique setting: the harbour. This is a world less explored in Indian films, save for exceptions like Iyarkai. Though Agilan is majorly shot in the harbour and the sea, the happenings hardly engage.
Whenever a film chooses a less-explored backdrop, it looks to place us in the shoes of the protagonist and details their profession. Examples include smuggling in Ayan, kidnapping in Soodhu Kavvum, and journalism in Ko. Despite belonging to unrelated genres, all these films made sure the protagonist's line of work got presented with great intrigue. But here, Agilan's profession rarely kindles our interest. The smuggling scenes are either over-fed with information or superficially shot. The extremely limited locations and repetition of shots cause monotony.
And then, there's the terribly loud background score by Sam CS which kills even the limited bright moments in the film. Take the scene where Agilan explains how a chain of ships can influence everything from the stock market to grocery prices. This is a powerful statement against capitalism, but the loud, gibberish song reduces it to a joke.
Agilan is essentially a revenge drama with the traditional plot of a son avenging a parent's death and fulfilling their last wish. But the needlessly convoluted execution leaves us listless. The dialogues seem rewritten during post-production and the lip-sync makes us feel like we are watching a dubbed film.
The screenplay is full of loopholes. The entire journey of the protagonist is aimed at launching a non-profit, charity ship, but we have no clue about how he is going to run it considering that he has lost all his allies. Similarly, Agilan surrenders to the cops in an attempt to save his girlfriend, but the police were not after him in the first place. We could keep going on.
Whenever there is a glaring error or a loophole, Agilan breaks into a monologue either explaining the cruel nature of humans or the importance of hunger eradication. During a crucial moment in the film, he looks at an officer and shouts, "Pasikku soru pottu kudunga, adha kedukka rules pottu kudukadheenga!" The officer on the receiving end, looks rather confused, as he is a largely good guy. For much of this film, I seemed as confused about the film's methods at achieving its end.