I happen to agree with the general consensus on Aadukalam: Thumbs up. It is certainly worth the price of your ticket.
Pettaikaaran and inspector Rathnaswamy are rivals in the cockfighting business. Pettaikaaran trains his roosters exclusively for tournaments. He has three accomplices in the business- Dorai, a bar owner who invests in Pettaikaaran’s cocks, Karruppu who positions the cock before every battle and Ayug, the medic who helps the cocks rejuvenate so that they’re back in action. When Rathnaswamy can take no more of the losing streak, he sends his men on a raid and arrests people involved. Pettaikaaran’s men refuse to submit to the situation, so they hit back. A series of battles ensue and they finally settle on the ultimate cockfight tournament. While the story is hinged on the cockfighting business, the film examines the minds of the characters in it, through which it deals with dark themes such as power, jealousy, disloyalty, greed and the human ego. The love affair between Karuppu and an Anglo-Indian girl works as breezy humour even at times where the film intends to be serious.
Director Vetrimaaran has wrapped everything into a single unit with crisp direction. With Aadukalam, he surpasses Polladhavan, his debut film. Splendid acting by the cast is what the film mainly benefits from. The characters might not be complex, but they’re credible. The music is a perfect fit, including the godfather soundtrack being played at regular intervals for which, credit hasn’t been given.
The film isn’t without its share of flaws. Cockfights are more interesting than watching Dhanush bash up five guys. What the film lacks is in the aspect of storytelling. You get the arc of the story, but it is told rather plainly. The ending? It sucks. Don’t let that stop you from watching it, it takes away little from the film.
Kollywood gives us hope by opening 2011 with Aadukalam.