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Tuesday 16 April 2024
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Asuravadham Movie Review

Asuravadham Movie Review

Production: Seven Screen Studio
Cast: M Sasikumar, Namo Narayana, Nandita Swetha, Vasumithra
Direction: M Maruthupandian
Screenplay: M Maruthupandian
Story: M Maruthupandian
Music: Govind Menon
Background score: Govind Menon
Cinematography: SR Kathir
Editing: R. Govindaraj
Art direction: Kumar Gangappan
Stunt choreography: Dhilip Subbarayan
PRO: Suresh Chandra

Asuravadham begins with a phone call. We see Samayan (Vasumitra) trying to convince his irate father-in-law that he doesn’t cheat on his wife. He ends the call and moves away to the adjacent room when the phone rings. He goes to pick it up, but the call ends. He sees the number. An unknown number. He ignores it and turns back, but the phone rings again! And the call ends before he can attend it. This happens a few times, infuriating the man. He tries to call back, but the person on the other end cuts the call without answering. Finally, the call is answered and the voice on the other end threatens him saying that he will fear for his life in the next few days and after a week, he will not be alive, and then tells him to button up his shirt. A panic-stricken Samayan rushes out of his house to see if he is being spied upon, but there is no one — apart from a few familiar faces who are doing their job.

Right in this brief opening stretch, Marudhupandian, who had previously directed Chennai Ungalai Anbudan Varaverkirathu, a film that showcased potential, sets up the eerie tone of Asuravadham and hooks us in. In the next few scenes, we learn that Samayan has a weakness for women, and see the face of the caller who threatened him. This bearded man (Sasikumar), whose name and back story we learn only in the pre-climax portion, keeps turning up everywhere Samayan goes to (even to his house), and tries to scare him off. Samayan ropes in a bunch of men to protect him, but the sickle-wielding group is no match for the gun-toting stranger. After a point, the former badly needs to know who his tormentor is.

Sasikumar is riveting in Asuravadham. Vasumitra — new to the scene — is brilliant and believable in his role as the cunning womaniser Samayan. Unfortunately, Nandita Shwetha, who appears as Sasikumar’s wife in the flashbacks, has hardly anything to do. Two other important factors that work for this film are newcomer Govind Vasanth’s background score (which creates an eerie, anything-could-happen mood) and SR Kathir’s top-notch camerawork, which elevates the suspenseful elements of the story, especially in those moments when a fearful Samayan becomes aware that he’s being watched.

One of the best sequences in the film is when a fight breaks out in the narrow corridor of a small-town hotel, where Samayan has gone into hiding. It seems as though the film’s basic thread draws from Steven Spielberg’s Duel, where a motorist is stalked by the unknown and unseen driver of a truck on a lonely California highway. Asuravadham only sags a bit towards the end, when the back story is revealed, and at the climax when the hero literally takes on an army of goons. A predictable ending for an otherwise unpredictable thriller.

Writer-turned-actor Vasumithra is equally brilliant as an intimidating villain. Nandita, in a brief role, impresses in her intro scene. All others are adequate. Besides Sasikumar, there are three more heroes – cinematographer Kathir, composer Govind and action choreographer Dhilip Subbarayan. Kathir’s shot division, alluring frames and lighting, especially the night effect scenes, Govind’s BGM, which builds up the necessary tension for a suspense thriller, and Dhilip’s different take on raw actions elevate the film. The blood and gore could have been toned down a bit. But such a treatment is required for a serious film like this. And the flashback is also a bit predictable. Nevertheless, a gripping revenge thriller that’s worth a watch especially if you are a fan of raw action.

Director Maruthupandian garners attention for his interesting usage of the film language. With a more interesting plot and a perfect execution, Asuravadham could have gone down as one of the notable emotional action thrillers in Tamil cinema.

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