Asuran - An intense and violent revenge drama that reiterates a very pertinent message!
The Vettrimaran-Dhanush combo can make for a fascinating case study. It seems to work like a symbiotic relationship. While Vettri can make the type of films he wants to, Dhanush's presence helps in expanding the commercial reach of these films.Their films stand out because they are mainstream films that also eschew the typical checklist of a star vehicle. Asuran is probably their most simple film, in the sense that the plot is quite basic and there is no intention to toy you with any twists or surprises. But with astute film-making skills at display, Asuran is an example of how film as a medium can suck you in when you have a master craftsman at the helm.
G.V.Prakash's intense score during the starting credits ensures that you are already in a tense ambience before the first frame is on display. The film starts with Siva Saamy (Dhanush) and his family on the run and what follows is a very intense drama with some top notch performances. Dhanush shines with his trademark low key approach.He plays both a middle aged father and a hot headed youngster at different points of the film but there is no deliberate attempt to underscore this at any point. This is the most fascinating aspect of Dhanush as an actor.
We never see the 'Hey! See my performance!' kind of approach in his films. The supporting cast too is brilliant. Ken Karunas as Chidambaram is solid in probably the most key character of the film and Teejay Arunasalam as the elder son leaves a lasting impression within a very short span on screen.
Asuran is a political film that speaks about the worst evil of mankind that has been plaguing it for centuries - Oppression. Vettrimaran wants to showcase this on screen but he also understands that his primary motive is to narrate a story. Think of it and Asuran as a theme isn't vastly different from Vada Chennai. How land works as a symbol of power and education being the lone weapon against oppression is the crux of Asuran.
This is your takeaway from the film but what you witness on screen is an engaging, highly intense and violent revenge drama that just does not let you breathe.Being breathless here does not mean that the film keeps pacing ahead but a certain tension with a constant niggle of uneasiness is omnipresent throughout the film. This is one of those films that has you so strongly root for some of the characters and has you baying for blood and heave out a sigh of pleasure with all your emotions that have been bottled up for a while.But Vettrimaran is a responsible and honest filmmaker and he is doubly cautious and ensures that he doesn't send out a wrong signal. For all the violence on screen, the film keeps reminding that this can never be a solution and only leads to further misery. The 'U/A' certificate however is quite baffling.
Velraj is probably the most underrated of cinematographers in Tamil cinema and he does s great job once again. The stunts are intense but there is a slight over the top cinematic feel with the one man vs a horde scenario repeating more than twice. GVP's score keeps your adrenaline pumping.The lip sync is awry and this is probably something that we have to live with in Vettrimaran's films, given that he has already revealed about how he keeps improvising with the dialogues till the eleventh hour.
Caste is a very relevant social issue and it is heartening to see that capable filmmakers of our times are not shying away from their responsibility in showcasing its ugly face. In Asuran the entire village keeps mum with two families baying for blood. Everyone knows that caste is the trigger but they prefer to not say it and act as if all is fine.These dumb village folks hold a mirror to us as a society.
Bottomline: Cinematic liberties aside, a compelling revenge saga that is a worthy addition to Vettrimaran's repertoire.