‘Maanaadu’ movie review: Simbu and SJ Suryah have a go at each other in this smartly-written film

Filmmaker Venkat Prabhu takes a mainstream Hollywood trope and converts it into a piece of ‘masala’ cinema. The end result? We get an exciting movie in ‘Maanaadu’

In Maanaadu, the primary plot level arrives on the half-hour mark. That is what occurs: amidst a sea of social gathering cadres, a civilian takes the gun from his shoulder bag and pulls the set off, aimed on the Chief Minister of the State. He kills the CM in a single shot from what seems to be a distance of no less than 100 metres from the rostrum.

Let’s assume that the civilian is an unwilling participant and all of that is orchestrated with cautious precision by a 3rd social gathering of superior power. Even when we had been to go by that logic, the likelihood of killing the Chief Minister within the first shot is a one in a hundredth state of affairs, given that he’s only a regular particular person with flesh and bone. In one other movie, this likelihood would have been a worrying issue and possibly absurd too. However in Maanaadu, the absurdity of occasions is the enjoyable; you derive pleasure from the hero Abdul Khaaliq’s (Silambarasan) frustration of being caught in a time-loop, the place occasions go spherical and characters discuss in circles. And the chewable bit for the viewers is the lived expertise of getting sat via the sequences repeatedly; like a merry-go-round however one manned by somebody who appears to know the machine out and in.


  • Forged: Simbu, SJ Suryah, Kalyani Priyadarshan, Premgi Amaran, SA Chandrasekhar and YG Mahendra
  • Director: Venkat Prabhu
  • Storyline: Abdul Khaaliq is trapped in a time loop the place the occasions repeat themselves. Caught amidst a political marketing campaign wherein the Chief Minister will get assassinated, Khaaliq has two choices: both reside with the burden of actuality or die.

It’s not truthful to name the occasions in Maanaadu absurd. These are smartly-written and splendidly put collectively by editor Praveen KL; it’s as a lot a author’s movie as it’s editor’s. However to get to the primary ‘plot’, you’ll have to cross the bridge of fanservice, which, too, will get an up to date therapy right here. Like for example, the movie inserts the Manmadhan theme at a sure level, maybe, to therapeutic massage the late coming followers — however, on the identical time, it appears to acknowledge the political incorrectness of that movie within the stated scene the place Seethalakshmi (Kalyani Priyadarshan) suspects Khaaliq of a creepy stalker. There may be additionally a fats joke however on Simbu himself. It begs us to ask this: Is Simbu keen to right the a number of wrongs of the previous? It’s onerous to say. However it certain is a tremendous step ahead.

Abdul Khaaliq finds himself in an infinite loop of time the place if he dies, he wakes up and the sequences repeat themselves. Consider Supply Code. On paper, Venkat Prabhu appears to have had two points a) how do you break the complexity of the screenplay in a language understood by the ‘mass’ viewers and b) how completely different ought to every element of the screenplay be designed, to flee from familiarity. If you’re going to current a excessive idea movie with out compromise, the traditional viewers goes to reject it. So, how do you give them a candy capsule? Venkat Prabhu, who tries to toy throughout the conventions of style, like he did in Mass Engira Masilamani of which I’m a fan, does one thing sensible.

He takes a mainstream Hollywood trope and converts it right into a masala movie, thereby making the ultimate product look refined. Full disclosure: I like filmmakers who’re unapologetic for the liking of masala cinema. A part of the explanation why Maanaadu is thrilling is as a result of, in essence, it’s good masala that hides behind the facade of time-loop.

It’s masala as a result of normally, in a movie that offers with time as an idea of subversion or inversion, it’s normally the hero who has to triumph and discover an exit assertion. However right here, Venkat Prabhu provides one other layer to the loop and we get a Catch Me If You Can type of a cat-and-mouse sport between Simbu and SJ Suryah (the movie exploits his over-the-top efficiency for its personal good). Suryah is named Dhanushkodi…it doesn’t seem to be a contented coincidence in any respect. The primary half ends on a bang — actually — and I noticed myself studying a information report a couple of attainable Bollywood remake already.

Three fourths of Maanaadu is constructed round a political occasion involving the Chief Minister (SA Chandrasekhar). Whereas the movie might not declare to be overtly political, it doesn’t refuse to take a stand both. In case you dig its floor deeper, it’s about Islamophobia. Among the (actual) occasions talked about are reconstructed to ship a press release about as we speak’s communal politics.

However it does undergo from the difficulty of taking WhatsApp forwards critically, when Seethalakshmi tries to present Khaaliq and viewers a believable rationalization for time-loop as an idea. It’s as pretentious as Christopher Nolan’s followers claiming Interstellar to be a stellar work of science and fiction. We additionally get a backstory about Khaaliq’s mom who was rescued by a Hindu household in the course of the communal riots proper after the Babri mosque demolition. That is as ‘secure’ as Venkat Prabhu’s brief movie in regards to the Hindu-Muslim riots.

Maanaadu is the most recent addition in a, hopefully, lengthy checklist of movies the place the concept of ‘hero’ is altering for the higher. Contemplate this: a Tamil cinema star by no means dies. It is a given clause even in our masala cinema’s rulebook. However right here, we now have a star in Simbu keen to let himself die a number of occasions and in a number of kinds for the bigger good. Thrilling occasions forward?

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