Asuran review: Solid in both, its craft and storytelling!

Asuran review: Solid in both, its craft and storytelling!

Source: SIFY


Critic's Rating: 4.5/5

Friday 04 October 2019

Movie Title

Asuran review: Solid in both, its craft and storytelling!



Star Cast

Dhanush, Manju Warrier, Ken, Teejay, Pasupathi, Narain

Vetrimaaran's Asuran is a revenge drama that talks about land grabbing, oppression and caste politics in  Tamilnadu's Kovilpatti and surrounding areas between the ‘60s to ‘80s.  Based on Poomani’s novel, Vekkai (with a few changes of course), the politics handled in the film stays relevant even now and it’s a superbly crafted rural gem. 

Vetrimaaran is probably the most versatile directors in Tamil cinema who knows his craft well. He has explored Madurai in Aadukalam, North Madras in Polladhavan and Vada Chennai. In Asuran he has captured the lives of the people in Kovilpatti without any commercial compromise. The filmmaking is solid and Vetrimaaran assembles a crack team of terrific actors to fill out key roles. It is dark, powerful and disturbing as violence looms at every corner.

Siva Saami (Dhanush) is the father of three kids. The elder one Murugan (Teejay) is in his early 20s, the younger one Chidambaran (Ken) is 16 years old and the youngest one is a 5-year-old girl. For his sons, Siva Saami is a coward and drunkard who likes to remain silent even when he is taunted. But Murugan is a fearless youngster and so is Siva Saami’s wife Pachaiyamma (Manju Warrier). 

Murugan is about to get married, but develops enmity with Narasimhan (Aadukalam Naren) a rich landlord and his sons from the upper caste, who wants to grab their three-acre land, to build a cement factory. The enmity leads to petty fights over water which eventually takes the life of the hot-headed Murugan. Pachaiyamma is devastated but Siva Saami and his brother-in-law Murugesan (Pasupathi) stay calm. The young Chidambaram murders Narasimhan to take revenge. 

Now the entire family of Siva Saami is on the run, as they have to save the life of Chidambaram and is ready to sacrifice anything for the sake of his family. But the revenge-seeking kith and kin of Narasimhan are not in a mood to compromise.

If Vetrimaaran is the most versatile director of our times, Dhanush is easily the best actor among this generation in Tamil cinema. It’s impossible not to root for him at any point of time and this should rank among his best performance so far. Dhanush's physical transformation (make-up by Banu) as Siva Saami, his body language of a middle-aged man, without the help of prosthetic makeup is commendable. Till the interval block, Dhanush has been portrayed as a drunkard and wastrel but the ferocious side of him comes into play when a gang along with dogs try to kill his younger son. 

The pre-interval action scene is one of the best mass scene executed for a star. Vetrimaaran proves that to please the gallery, you don’t have to follow the same old formula. Until intermission, you see Dhanush as a weak old man and cut to the flashback, you see him as a charming and fearless youngster, who is in tremendous form. 

Good to see leading Malayalam actress Manju Warrier without any make-up, talk flawless Kovilpatti Tamil, her mannerisms and dialogue delivery are perfect for a rural family woman from down south of Tamil Nadu.  Teejay Arunachalam and Ken have done a commendable job as the sons of Dhanush. The relationships between Dhanush and his sons are poignant and realistic. Within the limited set of scenes, both Prakash Raj and Pasupathi bring in so much life to their characters.

On the downside Asuran is bloody violent and we are not sure how censor officials granted UA certificate? Technically, Velraj’s cinematography is picture-perfect, it realistically captured the landscape of the rural areas around Kovilpatti. The art director must also be appreciated as the small-town court and police station during the mid-’80s looks so real. GV Prakash Kumar has unleashed the beast composer inside him with Asuran, the BGM haunts you even after you leave the hall.

Overall, Asuran is a must-watch. Dhanush-Vetrimaaran combo who has once again delivered a raw, rustic and riveting revenge drama. Don't miss this one! 

Verdict: Raw, rustic and riveting!

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