All in All Azhagu Raja Review

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Review by : Tamilstar team
Starring
Karthi, Kajal Aggarwal, Santhanam, Radhika Apte
Direction
M. Rajesh
Music
S. Thaman
Production
K. E. Gnanavel Raja

We know Rajesh’s brand of film making! Nothing is serious, you know that a laugh or gag is just round the corner and you know that it’s going to be a happy ending. It is that expectation that draws us to theaters for All in All Azhaguraja. Rajesh seems to alternate between settings for his films. His first and third were set in Chennai while his second and fourth are based in southern states, far away from the bustling city. While the first and third were all about a guy going after a girl and the subsequent happenings, the second and fourth deal with young men who are yet to find any kind of a steady profession, try to become businessmen and also fall in love.

The similarities between Azhaguraja and Boss Engira Baskaran are not too difficult to notice from the outset, but Rajesh does enough to keep us from reminiscing about any of his previous hits while we are in theaters for Azhaguraja.

The story is about Azhaguraja, a guy who owns a local channel which is admittedly good for nothing and makes no money for two of its employees who also happen to be the business partners who own the channel. Rajesh’s outstanding ability to showcase utter failures in a funny manner comes to the fore here again. He is helped in a huge way by his casting constant Santhanam (who is by the way greeted with the loudest cheers in the auditorium).

The initial exchanges are mildly funny and then arrives the first major gag – Kareena Chopra. Now, whether you enjoy this kind of comedy or not is a pretty personal choice. There might be people who roll on the floor laughing at this, and there are people who scoff in disgust; as it is said at many occasions in the movie ‘the choice is your’s’.

But, Santhanam has carried this off pretty well, with a drooling slobbering Kota Sreenivasa Rao for company. Then comes the next gag, in the form of Chitra Devipriya (Kajal Aggarwal). The first meeting between Karthi and Kajal Aggarwal breaks many stereotypes in the way it eventually pans out, but you might be able to predict the turn of events simply because you are used to Rajesh’s style of narration. The entire first half goes along with one funny situation following the other, most of them involving Karthi and Kajal, with Santhanam adding the spice. Not every situation evokes laugh, but you are amused in most parts.

It is the second half that the hiccups start coming, though you can sense that it is going to happen late in the first half. Minutes into the second half, the movies goes back into the 80s for a lengthy flashback. That is when you understand why Prabhu was cast in a role that seemed to have nothing of substance in the first half. The flashback has Karthi playing the young Prabhu, with Santhanam playing his character’s father. Though amusing at first, the flashback soon becomes a drag.

Karthi tries to imitate Prabhu’s baritone voice without looking artificial, but it starts to get jarring after a while. Santhanam overdoes a certain quirk and there is a song inserted in the middle of all this. Only at the end does the sequence gain some relevance, but you have been a bit bored by then. A bit of trimming in this part could have done a world of good. The post-flashback portions too seem to be a bit of a drag until the entry of MS Bhaskar aka Thillana Divyanathan.

The below 10-minute portion that he is given livens up things again. He and Kajal provide a good 2 minutes of slapstick fun. Again, it’s your choice whether you like this brand of comedy. Then it is a straight line to the climax, which is none too special, saving the scene between Karthi and Kajal’s father (who has done a great job with what he has been given). There is small twist and revelation in the finale, but if you are used to Rajesh’s films, you can see it coming a mile away. You might still smile through that sequence though. And finally, the film ends on a ‘Chee’ note. Now, whether that was necessary is again entirely a personal opinion. On a positive note, Rajesh has cut down on the number of ‘alcohol’ scenes that are a signature of his movies.

The cast has held the movie together quite well. Karthi is quite adequate with his signature dialogue delivery, but does get a bit loud at times. Santhanam has done what is expected, but is a good distance away from his best. Surprisingly, Kajal Aggarwal shows us that she is game for some comedy. Playing a completely gullible, overambitious girl, she takes her role with both hands and lives it. It’s fun to watch her ‘sing’ and ‘dance’. However, it is the guys with the small roles who have really made Azhaguraja stand steady. Kota Sreenivasa Rao, Kajal’s dad and M S Bhaskar for instance. Prabhu and Saranya are there just for their presence. Saranya in particular is almost wasted and stereotyped, a role that is a mirror image of the one in OKOK.

Technically, there is nothing special. Songs, a couple of which seem unwarranted, do not leave any impression whatsoever and the BGM does get harsh on the ears at times. Dialogues too do not reach the standards of hilarity set by Rajesh’s previous films, but there are few occasions where you will enjoy the wit.

Azhaguraja does have a steady story. But, the script is not able to maintain a consistent rhythm and prevent boredom from setting in. However, Rajesh has put in enough small characters, like Dillana Divyanathan and Biriyani Kadher Bhai, to make sure that stretches of boredom do not extend for too long. It is not a complete laugh riot, but the buoyant mood of the festival and the generally favorable season for comedy might make Azhaguraja quite an enjoyable experience, if you are willing to accept all forms of comedy.

Its fun with its share of pitfalls. There is only one regret. Now, an entire young generation will associate the name Azhaguraja with an above average comedy movie rather than that timeless character played by Goundamani. That name ought to have been copyrighted! 

A 1000 wala where only 500 make a bang!


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