Shaji Paappan is a charmer. He is the modern day Aadu Thoma – a dare-devil, stylishly dressed in those curious selection of mundu and black shirt, complete with Ray-Ban glasses. Only with a twist. Jayasurya’s Paappan is far more human than Mohanlal’s Aadu Thoma. He is brave, but not physically invincible. He is not much of a fighter, thanks to a sore back that he has desperately been trying to cure. He has a bunch of sidekicks who ardently looks up to him, but not much reliable. Paappan’s gang goofs up plans more than often, and their victories are mostly attributed to luck. He was an adorable anti-hero; a perfect foil to the roles the industry’s superstars played for years.
This characterisation worked the best in Aadu Oru Bheegara Jeeviyaanu (2015) where Paappan and his gang get stuck in myriad problems ranging from a bizarre police case to an attack from an underworld don from Bangkok, during a road journey home through a forest. Paappan had an element of unpredictability. His sore back and his loathe for anything female were genuinely funny.
But in Aadu 2, Paappan is somewhere in between the person he was in the first franchise and a wannabe-hero, striving to deserve the unlikely heroic image that fell on his shoulders in the past two years. The sheen is lost.
The are generous number of humorous scenes, but sans a punch. As before, Sachin Cleatus (Dharmajan) goes into a state of dementia, but evokes only a feeble laughter. In a critical moment, Arakkal Abu (Saiju Kurup) steps in like a champion and offers to lead the gang, but you refuse to believe his act of bravery because you have seen him doing it before. The sheer ‘comic-strip kind of fun’ that Aadu Oru Bheegara Jeeviyaanu was, doesn’t get recreated here, in the sequel.
The scenes are composed in a certain pattern. They begin with the characters entering with a thunderous background score, pretending that something very valiant is going to follow, but always ends with them screwing up the act. Naturally, this scheme stops working after a point.
The transformation of some of the characters are interesting. For one, Dude (Vinayakan) is no more a dreaded underworld don, but a lowly cook at a roadside eatery run by a callous man from Tamil Nadu. Shaji Paappan doesn’t hate women anymore; he even has a crush on his neighbour. However, the film doesn’t work on this evolution further. The writing is weak, and perhaps because the cue from the director was to be cartoonish, the actors performance seem bizarre. Vinayakan performs his role as a hyperbole. Jayasurya retains the charm of Shaji Paappan, but the character even shakes his leg to a fast number, set inside a local dance bar, totally discrediting the sore back and his social awkwardness which are the most striking elements of his personality.
Aadu 2 works as a one-time watch that targets the holiday crowd flocking to the theatres. There is loud cheerful music composed by Shaan Rahman, and some funny scenes worth laughing out aloud – like the one where Shameer interrogates Paappan and his gang who are dressed up as characters from the Ramayana. But the recall value is meagre. Aadu Oru Bheegara Jeeviyaanu was, by far, more honest and original than the second part which ends up as a forgettable film.
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