Debt-ridden Gandhi & Pandi come to Chennai from their native village near Madurai in search of a ‘Travel agent’ who can arrange their travel to London on fake passports/reasons to earn some money. However, fate plays havoc on their lives as their lies take them to the brink of disaster.
Running Time:
150 min
Release date:
23 September 2016
Directed by:
M. Manikandan
Produced by:
G. N. Anbu Chezhiyan
Written by:
Arul Chezhiyan
M. Manikandan
Vijay Sethupathi
Ritika Singh
Pooja Devariya
R. N. R. Manohar
Cheenu Mohan
Yogi Babu
Ramesh Thilak
Namo Narayana
Music by:
Shot by:
N. Shanmuga Sundaram
Editing by:
Distributed by:
Sri Green Productions

What’s Hot

  • Rarely do we see a filmmaker down south whose first 3 films are so starkly different from one another yet retaining the director’s unique touch across the films. Tamizh cinema will do well to cling onto Manikandan who seems to belong to a rare breed not shying away from looking outside for stories and doesn’t mind sharing the screenplay writing credits. That the man has a sense for comedy & parody was visible occasionally in his previous films but here he has gone the full monty starting from the title itself (which can be taken as the “One who ruled over us”).
  • Vijay Sethupathi as the protagonist, Gandhi is immaculate. The way he carries himself across the various phases of the implications of honesty, with his unique dialogue delivery that appeals to everyone, just makes the audience invest in him involuntarily. He is outstanding when he vents out to his house owner on why he had to migrate to the city leaving the luxuries of his village. Ritika Singh (in spite of some lip sync issues) performs a different type of bold girl from Irudhi Suttru. Her glorious underplayed expression close to the climax in front of the passport office takes you back to the climax of Nalan’s marvelous Kadhalum Kadandhu Pogum.
  • It’s not often that Yogi Babu gets this much screen space and he utilizes it to the maximum delivering rip-roaring counter after counter. His shows his mettle at handling the serious stuff as well by silencing the laughing audience with a stunning monologue about his struggles in foreign land. Aravindhan seems to be a wonderful find as well playing the dumb act to perfection and also proves to be an excellent sidekick to Vijay. His own struggles of being a Sri Lankan Tamil in Chennai without papers really tug at your heart.  Nasser is apt as the master of the acting school who doesn’t believe in money but relies more on dedication and honesty.
  • The lawyers, George & Vinodhini, each with their own method of modulation (George being very slow with his words & Vinodhini heaving a torrent of words with lovely expressions), bring the house down with their antics in the second half. The Judge (the Education Officer from Kuttram Kadithal) with her point-blank stern approach, the counselors who are a riot with their pin-pointed questions and of course, the multiple couples waiting in line with different stories to tell to claim  divorce from their partners make the Court sequence on the best written in recent times.
  • Gimmick-free camera work is hard to come by these days and Shanmuga Sundaram camera is very smooth and he shines in the way he captures the various houses available for rent in Chennai and also in the crowded scene within and outside the Court. Anucharan who is credited with a role in the screenplay as well in addition to the editing seems to be one of those masters (not Jack!) of all trades. Right from his usage of Windows Media Player visualization for the title sequence and of the transitions like a 70s-80s film throughout, he looks like a person in control and also having his share of fun. K’s songs and background score fit the film perfectly and enhance the flow of a gently paced film.
  • Talk about real permeating into reel, I am confident that I was not the only one who was smiling all along when Vijay Sethupathi takes over as the accountant in an acting school and even aces the role of a King. The way the script travels from incident to incident with a smattering of comedy throughout and almost instantly becomes serious with just one little dialogue – that’s outstanding writing skill. And I am not even including the awesome comical one-liners. Thematically the film is multi-layered with the broker menace being just the outward theme. Minute references about Mahatma Gandhi, acting, shortening broker & referring him as ‘Bro’, the whimsical conditions levied by house owners, really

What’s Not

  • The message at the start of the film to never trust brokers for public services like passport somewhat becomes an inadvertent spoiler. It would have been better if they had placed it just before சுபம். Also Pooja Devaraiya who was excellent in Iraivi & Kutramae Thandanai seems wasted in a minuscule role.




Verdict Stamp

Aandavan Kattalai is one of those rare films that will appeal equally to the two categories of audience – the critics and the masses. While it may be for different reasons, it is that fine balance that our filmmakers strive to achieve and Manikandan seems to have mastered it. A Must Watch on all counts!