‘Aavesham’ Showcases Fahadh Faasil’s Flair in a Flamboyantly Flawed Film

The most gripping sequence in “Aavesham” isn’t found within its numerous action-packed scenes but rather in a nail-biting game of dumb charades. This intense moment unfolds in the domain of the flamboyant gangster Rangan, portrayed by Fahadh Faasil, whose life tales blur lines between hard reality and sheer exaggeration. We’ve previously glimpsed one such tale involving Rangan and a game of dumb charades leading to a furious outburst.

This cleverly executed scene plays with the audience’s perception of the character, confirming initial assessments, only to cleverly subvert them later. It’s these moments of uncertainty about Rangan that director Jithu Madhavan skillfully delivers in “Aavesham”. Madhavan, in his second directorial outing following the successful horror comedy “Romancham”, embarks on a markedly different journey here.

“Aavesham” wades through the story mostly on the shoulders of its central character Rangan—an excessively ornamented gangster with a penchant for sharing dance reels—embodied with relentless ferocity by Fahadh Faasil. The character is viewed through the experiences of three Malayali students—Aju (Hipster), Bibi (J.S. Mithun), and Shanthan (Roshan Shanavas)—who find themselves amidst the underbelly of Bengaluru seeking local muscle against aggressive seniors.

The build-up to Rangan’s grand introduction juxtaposes hilarity with suspense, as does Ambaan (Sajin Gopu), Rangan’s right-hand man, whose accounts of gangster tales are as amusing as they are terrifying. Fahadh Faasil’s Rangan is reminiscent of roles mainstream actors have played, yet Fahadh’s unbounded performance feels like giving free rein to a child in a candy shop.

A boisterous soundtrack by Sushin Shyam complements Rangan’s larger-than-life persona, somewhat glossing over the film’s visible gaps in plot and character arcs. The film reaches an adrenaline-charged interval only to descend into an extended plateau, transforming from blatant hero veneration to a somewhat cautionary narrative. A tighter edit could have benefited “Aavesham”, but the filmmakers still manage to fill the runtime despite the paper-thin plot.

Amidst Fahadh’s show-stealing performance, other actors, including social media personalities and Sajin, hold their ground commendably. Regrettably, the film’s treatment of its female characters falters, with none gaining significant screen time except for Bibi’s mother, an exception for her repetitive yet poignant inquiry, “Are you happy?” whenever she answers the phone. Her character proves to be the sole window into Rangan’s seldom-seen inner world—an aspect ignored due to the film focusing more on Rangan’s gaudy exterior than on nuanced exploration.

The lack of depth in writing results in a narrative that prioritizes the outwardly bombastic elements of a traditional action comedy, skimping on quieter moments of intimacy and poignant character connections—elements that ironically, the character of Rangan himself seems to long for in fleeting glimpses.

“Aavesham” currently playing in theaters, thus embraces its volume and eccentricity, challenging the audience not only to separate fact from fiction in Rangan’s world but also to reconcile the vivid portrayal of a gangster with the pedestrian storytelling accompanying him. Whether or not it strikes a chord with movie-goers depends largely on their appetite for a cinematic experience punctuated by a singular, uninhibited lead performance amid an audaciously stylized yet underwhelming narrative canvas.

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