Asuran Tamil Movie Review
Director Vetrimaran is one of those rare breeds of filmmakers who capitalized on the power-packed performance of Dhanush rather than his stardom. That doesn't mean that his films are always an artsy fair. He very much relishes doing commercial action movies laced with raw emotions and violence. 'Aadukalam' was a great example where Dhanush was able to come across as a boy next door even with a rural backdrop, which also eventually fetched him a national award for the best actor.
'Asuran' also has a rural backdrop with Dhanush portraying a man in his 50s playing the father for two teenage boys. The film's story is based on the novel 'Vekkai' written by Poomani. The book dwells on the late 70s and early 80s of south Tamil Nadu, where caste-based discrimination and violence were rampant. This movie is about a man who tries to save his family from the clutches of caste-based misery.
Vetrimaran, the auteur, was at his best with casting and technicalities. The performances from the lead actors and the supporting actors were exemplary. Similarly, the technicalities like cinematography, editing, and colors used to depict different periods brought out the raw emotions from the characters and oozed the juice that was apt for that time and space.
However, I was slightly disappointed with the lip sync that went awry during various scenes. Notably, some of the dialogues were spoken even without the characters opening their mouths. Maybe, they were added as an after-thought. Also, Vetrimaran, the narrator took a backseat as there was an element of predictability in the story.
The flashback that narrates Dhanush's struggles as a young man and losing his family to a violent caste centric rampage was hugely impactful. But, it came across as a consolatory ode to a hero who is now playing a role as that of an old drunkard. Dhanush excels well in both parts, but the narrative failed to engross.
Manju Warrier has made a solid debut in Tamil playing the woman of the family. Her delicate and fickle emotions of a doting mother came across unfiltered and added to the drama. Pasupathy played the perfect supporting cast as the kind-hearted brother-in-law who always serves in need. For Prakash Raj, the advocate's role may not have been the most extravagant one, but how he effortlessly cruised along the narrative made it look so easy.
The biggest strength of the narrative element was the background score by G.V. Prakash. It was a delight to have him back wielding his keyboard and cranking something good. The music brought in the emotions so vividly that half the tale gets narrated through music. However, the songs were average at best.
The movie dwells heavily on violence and bloodshed. Also, the violent portrayal of specific scenes and the use of cuss words to make things look raw hampers the film from reaching the family audiences. However, this has been the zone of director Vetrimaran since the time he started making movies, but here I felt it went a bit overboard.
The film had a brilliant cast with brilliant performances and a story that is set in a raw rural backdrop. How I wish the narrative could have withered away from the predictability aspect and had been a little more 'family-friendly'!