|Produced by||Prabhu Ganesan|
|Written by||Ajith Kumar
|Narrated by||Ajith Kumar|
|Cinematography||Prashanth D. Misale|
|Editing by||Anthony Gonsalves|
|Distributed by||Ayngaran International|
|Release date(s)||February 5, 2010|
|Running time||135 min|
Aasal (Tamil: அசல், English: Original) is a 2010 action-thriller Tamil film directed by Saran. The film stars Ajith Kumar in the lead role, who is also credited for the story, dialogues, screenplay and co-direction of the film, while Sameera Reddy and Bhavana play the lead female roles. The film features an extensive cast, with Prabhu, Suresh, Sampath Raj and Rajiv Krishna playing prominent roles, among others. The film, produced by Prabhu Ganesan of Sivaji Productions, features music primarily composed by Bharathwaj, cinematography by Prashanth D. Misale and editing by Anthony Gonsalves.
The film revolves around the feud between three brothers over property; two brothers, from their father's first wife on one side with their avarice for all the wealth with the righteous third, from his father's second marriage, trying to stop the family from breaking down. The feud that exists as an undercurrent in the presence of their father and turns ugly and personal after he passes away. It grows bigger with the two brothers joining in to elbow out the third but he graciously steps aside, only wanting to keep cordial relations. But, the two brothers are just not able to handle the huge wealth and the responsibility that it brings. Their wealth attracts trouble and it is up to the third to come back and save his brothers, against others who strive for the wealth with the crux of the plot revolves around if wealth does disintegrate the family.
Pre-production for the project began in December 2007 when Sivaji Productions signed up Ajith for a film; however, because of a bevy of changes in the technical crew, shooting only began in April 2009. The filming took place in various locations: notably locally in Chennai, and abroad in Paris, Dubai and Kuala Lumpur. The film had an extraordinary opening worldwide on 550 screens (including 350 screens in India) following its release on February 5, 2010.
Jeevanandham (Ajith) is an international negotiator and arms dealer based in Paris. He has three sons: Sam (Sampat) and Vicky (Rajiv) from his first wife, and Shiva (Ajith) from his second wife. Jeevanandham’s favourite is Shiva, who is gutsy and righteous, while the other two are immature and controlled by their uncle, the evil Kali Mamma (Pradeep Rawat), and will do any shady deals.
Sarah (Sameera Reddy) is a cultural attaché at the Indian Embassy in Paris who has a soft spot for Shiva. There is a French police officer, Daniel (Suresh), who constantly hangs around with the family and is a partner in crime.
The bad sons want to deal in drugs and supply arms to terrorists; they work out a strategy to eliminate Shetty (Keli Dorji), who controls the Mumbai underworld, but the old man and Shiva oppose it. After the old man's death, Vicky is kidnapped by Shetty and his gang, who brutally torture him.
To save Vicky, Shiva goes to Mumbai. His local contact there is Mirasi (Prabhu), his father’s best friend. A local girl, Sulaba (Bhavana), falls for our hero, who daringly rescues Vicky with the joker Don Samosa (Yuhi Sethu). But the brothers double-cross Shiva and dump him in a river. How the protagonist takes vengeance against those who betrayed him forms the rest of the story.
Following the success of Billa in December 2007, Ajith Kumar was signed on by his co-star Prabhu's Sivaji Productions for a project touted to be directed by K. S. Ravikumar. Three months later, the producers officially signed on Gautham Menon as the director; Sameera Reddy, the female lead for Menon's last film, was also finalized for the project. The film, which was due to start its first schedule during June 2008, had been built up as the final instalment in Gautham Menon's police trilogy, following his two earlier ventures, Kaaka Kaaka and Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu, of which Ajith Kumar was originally meant to be a part. However, other indications suggested that the film was set to be the remake of the classic, Pudhiya Paravai starring Sivaji Ganesan, which Ganesan’s son, Prabhu, denied. The film had been earlier titled by the media as Kanavugal Karpanaigal or Vaanam Kadandha Siragugal, but the team then finalized the title of Surangani, which was later abbreviated to Sura. However, the film's production failed to take off, with repeated dates being announced by the directors for the film's first schedule throughout 2009. Subsequently, Menon was removed from the project by the producers due to the film's inactivity, with directors Dharani, Vishnuvardhan and Saran leading the race to take over.
In January 2009, the film was reannounced by Prabhu and the story was subsequently changed with Saran being signed up as the film's director. Ajith Kumar also underwent an appearance change during the early months of 2009 to prepare for his role. The film was eventually launched on April 8, 2009 at Sivaji's family residence Annai Illam in Chennai, with Rajinikanth launching the film. The film completed its production schedule by January 2010, and post-production and release works began soon after. The movie also has audio tracks from James Bond movies.
Following the announcement that Sivaji Productions, Ajith Kumar and Gautham Menon would come together, other technicians were added to the film. Menon’s usual collaborator, Harris Jayaraj, was signed on as the music composer. However, after Menon's departure, Jayaraj also left the project due to his busy schedule with other films. After approaching Yuvan Shankar Raja for the job, Saran finally confirmed Bharathwaj as music director. Asal was Bharathwaj's fiftieth film as composer; he had previously teamed up with Saran and Ajith on Kadhal Mannan, Amarkalam and Attagasam. Ajith was under contract to be paid a remuneration of $1.25 million in cash plus a 30 per cent share of the profit from sales of rights of the film.
During the launch in April 2009, other film technicians were revealed. Y-Kinz, an international music group, were announced to be a part of the music album for the film headed with Bharathwaj. Ajith himself had recommended Prashanth D. Misale, an assistant to Nirav Shah, to make his debut as a cinematographer. Anthony was selected as editor; Prabakar was chosen to work as the art director and Vairamuthu as the chief lyricist. Vivek Karunakaran, a Chennai-based fashion designer, was selected to make his debut as the film's costume designer. Soon after the launch, co-producer Prabhu Ganesan cast himself to play an important role in the film. Gautham Menon's original choice, Sameera Reddy, was retained to star opposite Ajith Kumar in the film. Sameera appears alongside Ajith Kumar for the first time, despite previously being scheduled to appear opposite him in Citizen, which eventually went ahead without her. Mamta Mohandas was initially confirmed as the second heroine in Asal, but decided not to take the role. Sneha and Bhavana were also approached for the second heroine's role, however Sneha was unable to comply due to call sheet problems, so Bhavana was finalized. A pleathora of antagonistic roles were handed out for the film, with the initial selction being Rajiv Krishna. Other cast members are Pradeep Rawat, Keli Dorji, Karen Miao Sapru, Adithya, Suresh, Sampath Raj, Surendra Pal and Yugi Sethu.
Principal photography of the film began in June 2009 at an undisclosed location in Malaysia. The first schedule was completed on 2 August 2009. After a hectic schedule from Malaysia, the shooting for the second schedule continued on 18 September 2009 at Paris and Lyon, France. 30% of the scenes, including fight sequences and two song sequences, were canned there, including a duet song of Ajith and Sameera as pictured against the moonlit Eiffel Tower in Paris. After a 45-day shoot, the team returned to Chennai on 23 October 2009. Additional shooting was held in Harrington Road on 2 November. Asal's team later shot some of the important shots in AVM Studios. The film’s dubbing schedule took off on 19 November at Four Frames Preview Theatre Chennai with a simple pooja ceremony. Ajith, Saran, Arjun (Prabhu’s son), Dushyanth (Ramkumar’s son) and other members of the film were present there. On 24 November 2009, an important scene for the film was shot at Sivaji Ganesan’s house in T. Nagar, Chennai. A song sequence featuring Ajith and Bhavana was shot at the AVM Studios on 25 November 2009. The shooting of the final song was held at Binny Mills (Tambaram). The cast and crew of Asal went to a Middle East country for the remaining song shoot. The Asal unit left Chennai on 26 December and returned after a week. Shooting was finished on 31 December 2009 at Dubai, where a song sequence was filmed at Zabeel Park.
The movie earned more than was spent on it during the first two weeks of its theatrical run.
Upon release, the film generally received average reviews, with critics citing that the film is strictly for Ajith Kumar fans and that it couldn't live up to its expectations, whilst also criticizing its Billa hangover. Sify cited that the film, which "should have been called Billa-2", "falls flat due to lack of proper story and narration", adding, that the film "belongs to Ajith" and "it is a good ride if you keep your expectation meter low". A reviewer from Behindwoods gave the film 2 out of 5, claiming that this film "will gain no great interest". He adds that "Asal is a complete Ajith centric entertainer with lots of style and sophistication", that "the script is weak and there are other flaws too" and that "Ajith satisfies his fans, but Saran disappoints a bit". Pavithra Srinivasan from Rediff gave the film 2 out of 5 as well, citing that the film is for "die-hard Ajith fans", who would have "plenty of reasons to rejoice", whilst the others should "leave their brains at home". The reviewer, like Sify, also adds that the film has a "Billa hangover"..
|Soundtrack by Bharathwaj|
|Released||January 4, 2010|
|Recorded||Jay Jay Studios Chennai|
|Genre||Feature film soundtrack|
The film's soundtrack was released on 4 January 2010. The soundtrack has music by Bharathwaj & Y-Kinz with lyrics by Vairamuthu. The audio distribution rights were given to ANAK Audio. Think Music, an association of Sathyam Cinemas and Hungama Technology. The audio was launched by Prabhu, one of the producers, and was received by Ajith.
|1||"Aasal"||Sunitha Menon||Picturized on 2 Ajiths, Sameera Reddy, Sampath Raj, Rajiv Krishna, Pradeep Rawat||04:50|
|2||"Kuthiraikku Theriyum"||Surmukhi, Sreecharan||Picturized on Ajithkumar and Sameera Reddy||04:48|
|3||"Tottodaing"||Mukesh, Janani||Picturized peppy number on Ajithkumar and Bhavana at AVM Studios, Chennai||04:01|
|4||"Yengay Yengay"||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam||Emotional song picturized on Ajithkumar||04:04|
|5||"Yea Dushyantha"||Kumaran, Surmukhi||Romantic interlude picturized on Ajith and Bhavana at Zabeel Park, Dubai||05:05|
|6||"Em Thandhai"||Bharathwaj||Sentimental song by Ajith about his father, Ajith||03:34|
|7||"Yengay Yengay"||Karthikeyan & Chorus||This song is not in the movie||02:57|