Asuran – Fight or Flight

WARNING: MILD SPOILERS

Whenever Vetrimaaran and Dhanush get together, it always promises to be an exciting film. This is the case with Asuran as well and the combo once again deliver the goods. Taking a celebrated novel and converting it into a film is no easy task but Vetrimaaran has changed it without losing the soul of the novel. I’ve not read the novel but from what I can gather, that story is more ‘stream of consciousness’ but here the happenings are far more cinematic. It is incredible to see the way a commercial film can be tweaked into something meaningful.

With Asuran, Aadukalam and Polladhavan, Vetrimaaran has shown that he can take the constructs of a commerical film and make it his own. We get the romantic songs, the big fights, the flashback after the interval etc. And last but not least, the transformation that the audience goes nuts over but the way we get there is what sets this film apart. Take the interval fight scene for example, Dhanush being the star he is, we all expect him to fight back at some point. But it is his incredible performance that makes us believe that this man is seemingly no Asuran (Demon). For the most part he appears meek and unwilling to engage in any bloodshed. But as we get to know these people, we realize that violence runs in their blood. And we also know that at some point they are going to kill someone accompanied with some gorgeous cinematography by Velraj.

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Aside from being about the family, Asuran talks a lot about politics without getting political. They talk about the importance of land when dealing with the richer people and we get to see how this being grabbed from them. It is perhaps a good move by Vetrimaaran to not stray too far away from the commercial aspect of this film. But this is no fan service, there are no scenes being included just because some people might want them. It is all about getting into this man’s (Sivasamy) family and why they’re here and what they’re going to do.

Another strong point of Asuran is the casting that sees a fantastic Manju Warrier as the wife. She seethes with anger, weeps in pain and looks longingly for a strand of hope. But her acting will be no surprise to those who have seen her work in Malayalam cinema. A special mention has to be given for GV Prakash and his wonderful music. Whether it is the songs or the blood pumping theme, his work is outstanding. Perhaps the biggest takeaway you should have from the film is the one dialogue about the importance of education. It comes as a sobering realization that this is where these people have been forced to go. Stripped of their land and money, they are still finding ways to fight their oppressors. Asuran works on two fronts: one as a well made arty commercial film. The other is as a commentary on the class difference that still feels relevant today. Regardless of where you stand on this divide, Asuran is another fantastic film from one of the most exciting director/actor duos working today.

Until next time, bye.

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