Cast: Dhanush, Manju Warrier, Prakash Raj, Teejay, Ken, Aadukalam Naren
There is something about director Vetrimaaran – his narrative expertise simply draws the audience towards him. His compelling screenplay, exceedingly well-planned frames, dedicated team of actors combine to make his film engaging and entertaining. His films are commercial mostly with a story that is so intricate that as we watch it, it unfolds to become a cult film.
Out of the five films directed, four of them have been the Vetrimaaran-Dhanush combo beginning with Polladhavan and continuing with this masterpiece Asuran. Now, where do I start with this film that had me glued to my seat from the beginning to the end? A whirlwind of emotions that every frame brought and the way a social message just seeped into our brains as we watched it, is something Vetrimaaran who could do effortlessly, he is aware of that form of art by now. He beautifully plays with the emotions of his audience and makes sure they take away what he wants them to through that – he is a mastermind that way.
Set up in the 80s, the entire film talks about the survival story of a “lower-caste” farmer and his family situated in the region of Kovilpatti, South Tamil Nadu. Sivasamy (Dhanush) is a marginal farmer, a father of three and a rather doting husband. He loves his kids and his wife unconditionally and would possibly do anything to keep them safe. All hell breaks loose when Sivasamy’s elder son Murugan (Teejay) gets into a tiff with a rich landlord of upper caste, Narasimhan (Adukalam Naren). Dhanush is struggling to keep his family together but in vain when Murugan is brutally murdered. Vexed from his brother’s death and unable to watch his mother sob day and night, the second son and the hot-headed Chidambaram (Ken) murders Narasimhan. To save the rest of the family, Sivasamy fights for his life and his Rights simultaneously.
Many trivial social messages like the importance of protesting for Human Rights, class discrimination, caste variation, the importance of education have been beautifully touched upon. Adhering to the theme of the storyline, the cinematography is one of the strongest pillars of this film. Every frame has been extensively researched and well-worked on. The much talked about pre-interval seen beautifully portrayed the heat of the area and of the moment, onscreen. The background scoring my GV Prakash was brilliant and worked well throughout the run.
But, what stuns me most is Dhanush. When Vada Chennai happened I believed that he has given his career’s best performance until Asuran came in. His performance was so gripping and raw that it enhanced the storyline. It was absolutely scintillating to watch him don the role of a 50-year-old man. He lived, breathed and completely took over the enigmatic role of Sivasamy. The emotions he portrayed onscreen is something I haven’t watched a commercial actor do, in a very long time. Manju Warrier as the aggressive Pachaiyamma is so fascinating onscreen, it just brings tears to the eyes. Vetrimaaran must definitely be appreciated for the fact that the roles he has created for women be it in Vada Chennai or Asuran is commendable. You can see Pachiayamma fight with a weapon bravely to preserve what she believes in. Sivasamy and Pachiyamma believe in each other so much so that, they need not convey any messages, they just know what’s right and believe in one another. Teejay and Ken add weightage to the story as Murugan and Chidambaram by doing justice to their roles.
Apart from certain blurry scenes and the lip-sync blunder, this film is a right mix of laudable content and remarkable acting from an apt cast with great cinematography and background scores backing them up.
Verdict: Dhanush and Vetrimaaran have done it again!