Friday, 29 June 2018

Asuravadham: Sword is mightier than word

Blood sheds and fierce sword attacks are nothing new for a Sasikumar flick. But, his Asuravadham by filmmaker Maruthupandi has a lot more to say than just the dreadful violence sequences - a social message.

Sasikumar's role is strangely designed that the name of his character is revealed only once in the entire movie that too in a short flashback sequence. I should say that it is the strong substance Maruthupandian had when writing Asuravadham. The way he starts off from establishing the characters is where he starts to succeed as well. And, surprisingly he has made an often seen talkative-Sasikumar, to be less verbal and more dynamic. If you write down all his dialogues in this movie, it would not take more than two pages, literally.

The writer has made the audience keep guessing on what would be the conflict and the twist of the plot. Though it becomes a little predictable at a certain point in his narration, the way he reveals that is totally raw and real.

To symbolise male dominant society, Maruthupandian also has a few elements like a female portion missing in the symmetry of Maadhorubaagan in a dilapidated building where the plot takes its first twist. We might feel like several scenes of the movie are unnecessarily prolonged to test our patience. But, the director has an honest justification for all of it towards the end.

The flashback sequence, though is very short, is highly loaded with emotions and a large space for Sasikumar to emote - I personally had goosebumps here. Unlike other socially preaching movies, Asuravadham is not the one that shows the anti-social issue, that it works against, abruptly on-screen throughout its runtime and pushes the preaching part until the climax. You cannot see a single scene in the movie where a woman is abruptly victimised by violence on the frame. But, you will be hit with the same intensity and seriousness of it in the right chord without even seeing it.

For this, Vasumithra's villainism and crude voice conceive the veritable negativity for his screen presence and dialogues. Also, the scene where Sasikumar has to cry on a tight frame with a crime happening on the other side of a phone call, the actor has managed to convey all his pain in a half-minute mono act.

With Sasikumar having a less verbal content in the entire runtime, his body language during stunt sequences and silence when he follows Vasumithra is what that makes his character unique and engaging. Vasumithra's reaction composed of confusion, fear, anger, and haste every time hops from one to the other, when Sasikumar is in the scene.

Throughout this, the action choreography by Dhilip Subbarayan has worked out well in cramped spaces, open fields, and collapsed buildings. SR Kathir's cinematography follows these action blocks with rig shots and montage visuals adding more tension to the pace. The final balance made by the DI Colourists brings an intact nativity and emotion of violence to these visuals.

Maruthupandian's script should have demanded the presence of Dhilip Subburayan throughout the making, as the story travels with stunts and brutality every other 15th minute. The amalgamation of this action with the screenplay is well delivered by Maruthu. The final call he takes on, 'whether to reveal or not to reveal?' the identity of the hero to the villain is where the strong message of Asuravadaham lies.

- Santhosh Mathevan,
Chennai, June 29, 2018.

A part or complete version of this viewer's note by Santhosh Mathevan has appeared in This viewer's note is completely based on the perceptions of Santhosh Mathevan alone. This does not reflect the views of two or more people or a community. Queries and criticism shall be addressed to the writer only.