Maatran Movie Review
First Day First Show Reviewer*
Maattrraan is centered around the conjoined twins, Vimalan and Akilan. But, that is just the tip of the iceberg. The plot is much bigger than the conjoined twins as it touches upon key contemporary international issues such as Genetic Modified Food(GMF), fictional account of its genesis dating back to Russian cold war and Olympics. One cannot believe you are watching this unfold in a Tamil movie.
Story, Script and Direction
In the first half, the comedy scenes between the conjoined twins is the highlight of the movie. The appreciable aspect of this movie is that not even in one scene or passing reference that the conjoined twins are shown in negative light or looked upon sympathetically. The 2nd half is more of an investigative thriller will take you to uncharted territories, exploring both geographical and emotional boundaries. All these concepts are tightly integrated by masterful writing told in an easily understandable narration style. There lies the success of the writers KV Anand and Suba. One should appreciate the sincerity in which the second half is shown without unnecessary comedy scenes or commercial intrusions. There is no unwanted scene in the movie (except for may be one or two slightly long fight sequences)
<Spoiler Alert> The dialogue about USSR and America never faced each other in the war and the only field they challenged head-to-head were in space programs and sports strengthens the plot. Similarly the dialogue by the villain justifying the research he conducted again shows the reason for Suriya being conjoined. Such strong dialogues justify the motives and established strong characterization. </Spoiler Alert>
Casting and Performance
Suriya is the main pillar of Maattrraan. Suriya is there in almost every single frame in the movie. Suriya has proved again that he is director's actor and works for the script. Suriya as conjoined twins is super energetic as he performs high-risk stunts and difficult dance moves. Suriya's comic timing and funny little interactions between Akilan and Vimalan will bring the house down. Suriya's differentiation in ideologies and body languages is a treat to watch. By the end of first half, you start developing a liking for both conjoined Akilan and Vimalan. Suriya's dedication and hardwork through out the movie will keep you wondering how he was able to make it all look so easy. It is not an exaggeration if we can call Maattrraan is Suriya's Abhoorva Sagodharargal.
Kajal Agarwal provides the necessary spunk and her expressions are cute in first half and confident during the investigation scenes. Voice acting for Kajal by Chinmayi plays a critical role in the movie. Chinmayi carries the narration in the second half as translator. She brings in so much intelligence in her voice and makes the intricacies of the plot all the more believable.
Sachin Khedekar look every bit like a struggling genetic scientist who makes his way to the top of head of a fast growing nutrition company. Sachin Khedekar's performance and characterization are extremely important in holding audience interest. Sachin scores higher in the final climax sequence as he confronts Suriya.
The real success of visual effects in Maattrraan is when you no longer realize the complexities involved in making Suriya act as conjoined twins. The Motion Capture technology, earlier used in the Adventure of Tin Tin, is for the first time used to portray the conjoined twins. Visual Effects Supervisor Srinivasa Mohan's (Enthiran fame) work is truly world class that not even in one scene will you be able to spot any flaw. The VFX for showing overlapping body parts, face and expressions are so minutely handled. Visual Effects is so perfectly done to the point that the critics and award committees may end up overlooking the role of visual effects department as both Suriyas look so real to life.
Songs and BGM
Naani Koni is the best picturized song with a great concept displaying interesting shades of emotions between Akilan and Vimalan. Suriya experiments with some killer looks in the song despite a slightly bulky hairdo. KV Anand's favourite location, Norway, is captured beautifully again. Rettai Kathire is the montage song with endearing incidents showing the growth of conjoined kids. Suriya's introduction shot flies fast without build-up or prior notice during this title song. Suriya's acting in Yaaro Yaaro song is emotionally moving as he struggles to find balance for walking without the brother. The above 3 songs are greatly enhanced when seen with visuals. Nothing great to write about Theeye Theeye and Kaal Mulaitha Poove. The BGM by Harris works well in most places and helps convince some scenes effectively.
Technically, cinematography by Sounderrajan plays a key role in making the visual effects work. The Olympics and athlete training scenes in Latvia make you think you are watching a Hollywood movie. All scenes look so real to life. Editing by Antony is crisp and helps pack loads and loads of details within such short time frame.
The fight sequence towards the climax is a bit stretched and feels a bit repetitive as it happens in Russia, Gujarat and inside a cave. Editing out even a few minutes would help with the strong finish. Even though Kaal Mulaitha Poove seemed a tad bit forced, it is understandable why it is there for commercial reasons. We will knock-off 1/2 star for such commercial compromises in the form of fight and song. But, these issues are minor and in no way dilutes the impact.
One should appreciate Maattrraan team's faith in Tamil audience for delivering a truly international standard film without dumbing down the scenes or dialogues.
* Views, opinions and ratings expressed in this review are that of the first day first show reviewer. Also, please provide your thoughts and viewpoints about the movie in the comment section below.