Captivating Time Loop Underlined by Clever Writing – The New Indian Express



Express news service

With Maanaadu, Venkat Prabhu imports a largely Western plot device – the time loop – into our mainstream cinema. The director, always aware of himself, in his latest film refers to Hollywood works like Groundhog Day (the mother of all time-loop movies), Happy Death Day … and in his expected way, also manages to quote Indian references like Vikramaditya -Vedalam. Truth be told, the movie’s explanation of why Maanaadu protagonist Abdul Khaaliq (Silambarasan TR) is experiencing a time loop doesn’t add much.

And yet, I liked that this film linked the story of Khaaliq’s birth to his identity and why, even to his very purpose. Also, thankfully, the film doesn’t get too carried away with this story and never loses sight of its own purpose: to have fun with its premise.

And boy, is he playing around with this time loop idea. Maanaadu has two stars – Silambarasan TR and SJ Suryah – and yet, no duets, love stories, hard-hitting dialogue or why, even fight sequences that threaten your suspension in disbelief. Venkat Prabhu rests his faith squarely on the joys that emerge from the idea of ​​the time loop and brings out an ace every time. He manages to tie all of these iterations and their events together with an intelligent mystery that must be solved by Khaaliq, one step at a time.

The characters are the same, and yet the cause-and-effect interaction creates delicious new situations and associated problems. After a while, Khaaliq’s death himself becomes a dark joke, and it’s fascinating to live a story in which the protagonist, a bona fide star, gets killed over and over again. Khaaliq, a Muslim by birth, is said to have been born in a Hindu temple, and it is intriguing that this Muslim is the victim – or the beneficiary, depending on your perspective – of the Hindu idea of ​​reincarnation.


The result is a wonderful subversion of the tropes of commercial cinema. For example, where we’re used to a villain ranting over a hero’s survival, we get one, Dhanushkodi (SJ Suryah), annoyed by the hero’s death. Where a protagonist’s heroism is accentuated by his survival through thick and thin, we get one whose heroism is defined by his will, and why, even his enthusiasm, die.

This film, however – at the center of which is a political assassination – is unwavering in its refusal to delve too deep or dwell too long in existential complexities. The central event may be the political assassination, but its central, effortless exploration involves the two men, Khaaliq and Dhanushkodi. The two are forced to relive the same day over and over again, but where Khaaliq has an agency, Dhanushkodi doesn’t, and that drives him crazy (SJ Suryah portrays this frustration as pleasantly exaggerated).

Look closely and you will see that while Dhanushkodi’s wickedness stems from his rare lack of empathy and conscience, Khaaliq’s heroism is not the product of superhuman ability, keen intelligence, or physique. enviable; he’s a hero just because he won’t stop trying to do good. Sometimes good is that easy.

Both actors, STR and Dhanushkodi, sell their characters very well. STR stays away from the punchlines and wiggles of fingers (of which we saw vestiges even in his latest film, Easwaran), and is content to be the soft-spoken benefactor, Khaaliq. I liked that even the hand-to-hand fights Khaaliq wins weren’t because he’s a Tamil movie hero with inexplicable fighting ability; he’s just a normal man who learns from hard work and repetition. It’s a low-key statement on how excellence in any space, even in the real world lacking the ability to time travel, can be achieved: hard work and rehearsal.

SJ Suryah is a charismatic presence. He is a murderer who cannot kill; he is an ambitious man imprisoned within the confines of a single day. It’s a nice idea to tie it into Khaaliq’s routine, and that translates into a terrific block of intervals. If I had grouse, it’s over with the forced explanation of how the fates of these two men intertwine.

Perhaps what I liked the most about Maanaadu is that, despite all the visceral fun it offers, there are also a lot of subtext, if you care to watch. You see he notes how the tragedy of the loss only affects when you bring the irreversibility, and for someone like Khaaliq who can press the restart button anytime, the loss of loved ones, for example, does not exactly cause deep anxiety. Dhanushkodi, observant and intelligent as always, asks: “Seththu seththu pozhaikka vechiruvom nu unakku thimiru la? It’s a fascinating interaction between these characters.

Khaaliq’s big, emotionally indulgent scene comes when he’s faced with the possibility of being glued to his present, and again, it’s a great writing decision, but maybe his emotional breakdown could have been. more touching, if we had grown up investing in Khaaliq’s friends. Seetha Lakshmi (Kalyani Priyadarshan) also operates on the outskirts, and while it is admirable that the film is not tempted by the possibility of a distracting romance between Seetha and Khaaliq, we can certainly record a small protest against the one woman. notable. in this film that gives the impression of being a bit of a leprechaun, which makes a character ask: “Iva looso?” and another suggesting, “Pasicha biryani saapudu po. ”

That’s not to say that this film lacks social utility. It is admirable that this mainstream artist seeks to normalize Muslim identity and opposes anti-Muslim rhetoric and prejudices. For a traditional actor like Silambarasan to play a Muslim protagonist is, in itself, a laudable choice. The film notes that the villain, Dhanushkodi, has trouble remembering Khaaliq’s name, an indication that he probably doesn’t take this man seriously.

Perhaps this is why Dhanushkodi does not recognize that his life is tied to that of Khaaliq even earlier. With films about the idea of ​​the Muslim man who has been a killer for years now, it’s a nice twist that in Maanaadu, Abdul Khaaliq is not just a kind and good commoner, but he’s somebody else. ‘one who will do everything possible to fight against said assassination.

I will also remember this movie for some charming choices in writing and execution. A scandalous example is a scene where Khaaliq, Dhanushkodi and Paranthaaman (YG Mahendran) are fighting in a threesome. The film, with such strength, marks a worthy return to form for TR Silambarasan, who, as I said, is a real star, having had to endure difficult years.

My grouse with the star system has a lot to do with its often detrimental effect on “good cinema” and the way it seems to inhibit creative freedom by forcing selfish demands. However, if stars collaborating on a project culminate in mainstream cinema like Maanaadu – punctuated with clever writing, pleasant humor, progressive politics – there may be just one star system. with which I could potentially make peace.

Movie: Maanaadu
Director: Venkat prabhu
To throw: Silambarasan TR, SJ Suryah, Kalyani Priyadarshan, Karunakaran, YG Mahendran
Evaluation: 4/5

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