“Asuravadham”… A solid vendetta thriller that reimagines a typical story with treatment and craft

Posted on June 29, 2018

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Spoilers ahead…

Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/asuravadham-movie-review-m-sasikumar-baradwaj-rangan/

Asuravadham, directed by Chennai Ungalai Anbudan Varaverkirathu director Maruthupandian, begins with what looks like a prank. A small-town provisions store owner named Samayan (a very effective Vasumitra) gets a call. The person at the other end disconnects as soon as Samayan picks up. And this happens over and over. The cat-and-mouse choreography is superb — and cinematographer SR Kathir covers the repetitive action so dynamically, it begins to resemble a demented mind game: think a two-player version of kabaddi, with both players tripping on LSD. But it isn’t just fun. Note what Samayan was doing before the game began. He was arguing with his father-in-law that he wasn’t cheating on his wife. And then, he stopped before a mirror, to trim his luxuriant moustache. He fools around, and he’s macho. In some parts, this is all it takes to be a man. And it’s this manhood that’s systematically stripped away when this mystery caller begins to toy with him, reducing him to a nervous wreck.

The opening stretch serves as prologue and establishes a pattern — this is what the rest of the film will be like. The threats continue, and after a point, Samayan is terrified to even take a leak by himself. As the mystery man (M Sasikumar, in a strong and silent part that fits him perfectly) keeps hounding Samayan, the title, slowly, turns into a joke. It sounds macho as hell: the slaying of a demon. But by the time of his slaying, Samayan is more of an insect. Ever since the terribly underappreciated Nedunchalai came and went, I’ve been looking out for a violent (wait till you see a character pinned down, like a paper is tacked to a notice board), well-crafted B-movie, and Asuravadham comes satisfyingly close. I practically jumped with delight when I saw the python. The black humour is abundant, and one of the jokes is how the Sasikumar character always pulls out the most suitable weapon (yes, like that snake) for the given situation. If a man is hanging over a deep drop, clutching on with the tips of his fingers, Sasikumar will pull out a hammer and begin pounding away at those fingers.

Continued at the link above.

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Posted in: Cinema: Tamil