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The spirit of adventure lies dormant in all humans, but only a handful of people have opportunities to tap into it and come off with daring feats.  Those denied the chance immerse themselves in the world of fantasies or enjoy vicarious pleasures watching fantasy films or reading comics.  The Sivakarthikeyan-starrer  Maaveeran directed by Madonne Ashwin who has already come up with Mandela drives home the message that woe-filled harsh reality sows seeds of imagination in the minds of comics creators.

Maaveerars not born
The story feels as old as grandma’s bedtime tales told to grandchildren for ages. Yet the director has infused his craftsmanship and narrative skill in the storytelling on celluloid. The film, by and large, feels offbeat and fresh.

The film’s story is as follows (spoiler alert): The hero grows up a coward with his mother and young sister in an area adjoining a riverbank. As his father had died fighting over public issues, he shies away from situations that demand courage on his part. While he consciously avoids confrontation with society, he subconsciously cultivates the image of a heroic adventurer.

The Sivakarthikeyan-starrer  Maaveeran  directed by Madonne Ashwin who has already come up with Mandela drives home the message that the woe-filled harsh reality sows seeds of imagination in the minds of comics creators

Director Madonne Ashwin

One day under the weight of his problems, he decides to die by suicide. But as he falls, he escapes death by a hair’s breadth. A subdued voice starts ringing in his ears, urging him to come out in the open, taking up arms over the people’s issues. As it turns out, he finally lands among the people and fights on their behalf.  What then happens to him and how he grapples with the consequences forms the rest of the story.

For this kind of fabulous story, various types of screenplay are possible.  Maaveeran pushes the narrative to the next level, showing the hero’s family moving into a new residential settlement along with their people in the neighbourhood.  Though the subsequent scenes segue into the hackneyed ‘ordinary citizen vs politician’ template, they rise above the average masala film, trying to scale higher, thanks to the director’s fantasy treatment.  Great warriors are not born; they are made if they shed fears. This is the message of the film.

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Mixed experience
Sivakarthikeyan, Aditi Shankar, Saritha, Mishkin, Yogibabu, Sunil and others feature in Maaveeran. Though their characters are not new, the way they essay the roles has something fresh about it, making for a rich visual experience.  For instance, the highly serious director Mishkin dons the role of a villain for the first time in his career.  After a long time, we get to have a close peek into the tear-smeared expansively eloquent eyes of Saritha. Yogibabu evokes good laughs.

Cinematography by Vidhu Ayyanna, editing by Filomin Raju and art by Kumar Gangappan and Arun Venjaaramoodu have helped the film take on the hues of a serious work. Bharat Sankar’s score lends a different tone and texture to the scenes holding aloft the hero’s adventurer image.

Action choreographers Yanickben and Mahesh Mathew must be lauded for fight scenes featuring no foolish gimmicks like the hero hopping up and down.

The emotional second climax that follows the death of the villain in the style of western films looks like a drag that may irritate the viewers.

Like the recent blockbuster Mamannan, Sivakarthikeyan’s Maaveeran talks about the perspective of the marginalised.  The film is a critique of politicians in and out of power and their electoral approaches  

Does the screenplay keep the viewers on the seat’s edge all through? The only answer is no. While the first half answers the question when the hero will turn courageous hearing his inner voice, the second half does not elaborately and clearly say how the hero gets confronted with problems and how he tries to throw away the ‘sudden boon’ granted by his inner voice.

The speed with which the story moves seems to camouflage its inherent drawbacks. A story such as this has lots of scope for policemen and politicians having a major say in the narrative. But their potential of aiding the tempo of the story remains unutilised.

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Like the recent blockbuster Mamannan, Sivakarthikeyan’s Maaveeran  talks from the perspective of the marginalised.  Certain scenes evoke memories about the recent criticism of the poor quality of a new apartment block in North Chennai and also about the demolition of Mugalivakkam building collapse. The film does not fail to act as a critique of politicians in and out of power and their electoral approaches.

Maaveeran has deliberately avoided the gimmicks normal to Shankar’s commercial films. It has pulled off a feat of mixing reality with fantasy. This feature may spawn many similar films in future.

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