Alpha Midai is one of those self-consciously unpredictable thrillers, so predictable in its unpredictability that you know the writer-director wants to second guess all our presumptions, and in that pursuit he frequently moves too fast hoping that we would catch up. But midway through the cat-and-mouse-and-rooster game (a rooster plays a pivotal role) we lose interest in the murky miscreants with messy loves.
The main characters are two small time drug peddlers’ brothers Mayilsamy (Kalki) and Aaru (Jinovi who has written and directed this interesting mess of a film). Aaru carries around a pet rooster. This gives him reason to make a string of smutty jokes about rubbing swollen roosters up the wrong way.
By the way roosters are also known as cocks, And what I read in the subtitles was pretty filthy. Mayilswami and Aaru must flee from Chennai to Ooty as the cops are catching up with them kidnap two privileged young men to relative safety.
There are no female characters in Alpha Adimai, not even in passing. We do hear a woman on the phone, taunting Dheeraj (Vinod Verma) and Vicky (Arun Nagaraj) for being gay and wishing they would enjoy a ‘tight f…k’. I have no idea how this lengthy phone conversation fits into the crime-thriller format.
Jinovi’s world of crime and grime is strangely sterile and denuded of all grace. We understand that these are scummy people with moral values that can be listed on the back of a postal stamp. So why a film about such distasteful characters, none more so than Ponnan (Eeshwar), the third most economically backward drug peddler, who turns out to be the strongest dramatic force in a film that believes in huffing and puffing and blowing the house down. Finally we are left with no moral centre to a story constructed on the premise that Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie were actually born in Tamil Nadu.
In a twisted kind of a way this is a road movie with no roadmap to take it to any logical conclusion. The writer-director seems to have played it by the ear, improvising in the plot as the five characters and the cock/rooster packed into a car race towards Ooty.
I know some critics have found the film “thrilling” and “twisted”. But to me the moral deprivation at the centre of the film is more tragic than thrilling. The characters even the two upper-class guys who are forced to drive the drug peddlers, are the scum of the earth. The film opens with one of them describing an encounter with a woman who clearly didn’t want what our man had to give.
I felt the same way about the film. It is way too persistent and aggressive. As for thrills, there is a long sequence where the drug peddlers give the cops the slip. It is well shot and smartly executed. The rest of the yarn is so fascinated by its scummy characters’ moral bankruptcy; it’s like enjoying the smell of sweaty armpits.
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