Introduction: Mahaan is a Chiyaan Vikram and Dhruv Vikram starrer film, it has gathered expectations as the father and son have acted together for the first time. Directed by the promising young filmmaker Karthik Subbaraj, following his previous flick Jagame Thandhiram, this one’s also a direct OTT release.
Vikram’s family for generations have been practicing Gandhism, strictly following certain rules and disciplines. Vikram named Gandhi Mahaan is tired of living such a life as he’s forced to do so. He loosens himself for a day. How drastically his life changes because of this, where it takes him, whom and all he loses and what are the consequences of it follows the rest of the film.
The core of the movie is unique, very strong and the ‘Any Imposition Is Bad’ message it conveys is new-age. It takes real courage to touch a few sensitive topics on-screen and that’s been done with right sensibility here. Major complaint with the director’s previous film was that he had taken an important baseline but then he had handled it without proper knowledge. But here, he corrects himself by inducing the rightful goods to pack the punch. However the treatment is the familiar commercial one. The first hour is engaging to an extent, despite the scenes being a bit usual. It covers the usual ‘Rise of a Character’s Life’, there’s nothing new in these portions, yet manages with the hero’s style and swag. Karthik Subbaraj’s real play comes into play only when Dhruv Vikram joins the party, which is exactly in the halfway point. The second half is comparatively sluggish, the runtime does feel as a bit of an issue due to some lengthy stretches. But still, that’s the better half of the film because of quite some reasons. What seemed to be a regular masala flick turned into what it really is. The emotional roller coaster ride is impressive towards the end. Infact, the base structure of the movie gets into its true shape and colour only when we get to know more of the backstories. The mood, setting and execution of almost all the Chiyaan Vikram VS Dhruv Vikram sequences are unhurried and creates the necessary attention and tension, and there are a bunch of them. Wish more of the core topic is revealed much earlier in the movie, so that there’s an attachment right from the beginning stages. Also, the catchy Gandhism topic deserved a little more time on-screen. The filmmaker has his own suave fashion in presenting certain things, showcasing various chapters and characters that get introduced in the playing cards format was so cool. And, as usual KS has incorporated some well-noticeable metaphors in some frames. Few older film references linking to the story’s timeline and situation is indeed a smart idea. Some mass moments click well and the emotions are delivered as intended at the end. The screenplay could have had better choices on where there should be more focus, the usual stuff gets more time as it’ll reach better and has a better engagement value and some different plot-points have minimal space, because of this we don’t get to witness that much fresh scenes especially till interval, thankfully it is overall passable.
It is known that Vikram is capable of fitting into the shoes of any challenging character given to him, after a break it feels he has been offered something tailor-made for him. There is a 20 year journey in the story and Chiyaan nails it by appearing in different getups, his acting goes strength to strength as the film progresses and the drama develops. Dhruv Vikram is fiery on the other hand, his strong base voice perfectly suits his role and a few of his mannerisms imitating his dad’s previous films are placed aptly, also he gets a cracker of an intro. Simran, Sananth are the other artists who did a very good job. Finally after so long, Bobby Simha gets a superb role to play, he does it with ease. Also, his layered character arc that switches after a crucial incident is beautifully brought to the screen. Not only acting, the above mentioned five appeared to be impressive as their character-writing stands tall. The film predominantly revolves around this set of actors.
Santhosh Narayanan’s music is sadly a major spoilsport to the film. His template style of songs dulls the mood, background score is weak too, with a better contribution from him, the impact of some crucial places would have been several notches higher. Camera work is outstanding, the team has given a lot of scope and they’ve utilized it very well. The vision of the director is enriched by the colours used, at the interval for example. In an important scene taking place at the latter, frames are shaken for a few seconds purposefully to indicate the nerve-wracking state of the characters involved, matching it in the passing of trains shows the aesthetic skills of the cinematographer. Amazing talent exhibited on attempting and handling a long single-shot that too in a lively fight sequence. Editing is seamless from one scene to another, but the 162 minutes runtime is something that bothers.
What initially felt like an usual commercial flick turned into an emotional action drama with some intense stretches and an amusing message to finish off with. With a little more consistency in its pace and crispness in the storytelling, it could have landed solidly.
MAHAAN - Decent watch, especially for its Intent.
Rating - 2.75/ 5.