Vetrimaaran said that those who have read the novel, will not like this film adaptation of his. He wasn’t just being humble. He meant it. Because Vekkai by Poomani is a story that doesn’t work with loud drama. It painted a picture of caste, class and land ownership politics without campaigning for the issue. The social commentary was in the background, while the characters’ worldviews were being explored in a slow but steady narrative. In this film, we have everything at the foreground. Individual opinions, beliefs, societal issues, uprising, commentary – all of it in a single story, make the whole thing a tad bit crowded. But this crowding doesn’t come in the way of emotional logic in the screenplay. A slipper used as a segue for a romantic track goes onto play a bigger role in the commentary of inequality in a long gone time. Sivasaamy’s final decision is not just a generic result of narrating a flashback, but an actual realisation after hearing about the collateral damage caused by his situation. So the beats are solid, but the general focus is on too many elements for my liking. After reading the book I also did expect the film to have more drama, because I couldn’t picture a typical screenplay with highs and lows, for the kind of subdued drama in the book.

The writer-director also brings in his signature strokes into this reinterpretation. Once again, after Vada Chennai, we get to feel echoes of the past in the present. It can seem like having a hangover, but also one that you don’t entirely regret. That revenge is a cycle which will keep repeating itself is illustrated very well in here. The point – or should I say pointlessness – of ingrained violence is driven home with a blood soaked narrative that also calls for our cheers at its violent highs.

The film works majorly due its performances. Dhanush’s exasperation and constant vigilance can be felt, and his smile at the end is a memorable image to leave us with. This guy goes from being a moist firecracker to a savage assassin, and it isn’t even much of a stretch to buy into the transformation (thanks to GVP’s heavy background score as well). Manju Warrier, an interesting casting decision, also delivers the intensity of a character who exhibits unabashed anger. Ken Karunas as the 16-year-old with an irrational worldview is confident, and he definitely the find of the new faces in the film. Teejay’s presence adds to Vetrimaaran’s trope of echoing the past – the debutante looks damn similar to the younger Dhanush of the flashback. The rest of the characters aren’t shaded with as much detail, but the on-point acting more or less covers the issue.

Another grouse I have with this filmmaker is how his work comes with plenty of rough edges, in the re-recording, editing and even cinematography. There are overlapping dialogues, out-of-focus shots and abrupt cuts, intermittently clouding the experience. It is not being chastised enough because of the strength in his content.

Asuran still makes for an intense watch for the raw energy in it. It has noble intentions backed up with good character development. I clearly have picked up more blemishes in this one than the rest of Vetrimaaran’s filmography, but I can confidently say that the man is yet to make an objectively bad film.


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Recent Posts

You Might Also Like

Manjummel Boys
Jigarthanda DoubleX
Ponniyin Selvan: II