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Critics Review
Maanaadu movie review: Silambarasan, SJ Suryah outsmart each other in this roller-coaster ride aided by engaging screenplay

Praveen's editing and Yuvan's music, too, stand out in this fun-filled film directed by Venkat Prabhu  

3.5
Thinkal Menon
Nov 25, 2021
cover image

A poster of the film

Story: A youngster, who goes to Coimbatore from Dubai to attend a marriage, gets to know that the state Chief Minister is going to be killed during a public campaign. He learns that a corrupt cop and a political leader are behind the CM's assassination plan, However, to his shock, he realizes the unfortunate act that he is stuck in a never-ending time-loop. Will he be able to rescue the CM?   

Review: Though Maanaadu has been promoted as a political thriller from the time of its announcement, what made many eagerly wait for the film is the time-loop concept based on which its screenplay has been designed. The confusing, yet intriguing theory of time-loop is not new to Tamil audience who regularly watch Hollywood and other language movies. 

The biggest challenge for director Venkat Prabhu was to engagingly narrate a crime thriller set against political backdrop and infuse the complex idea of time-loop in it. With a talented team of technicians and artists on board, has he pulled it off?      

Abdul Khaliq (Silambarasan), who works in Dubai, boards a flight from New Delhi to attend a marriage in Coimbatore. He meets Seetha Lakshmi (Kalyani), his co-passenger and learns that she, too, is on her way to attend the same event. Upon reaching the venue, Seetha gets to know that Khaliq's plan was to kidnap the bride so as to help her elope with his friend Eswara Moorthy (Premgi). 

Their friend Syed (Karunakaran) has also accompanied them. After eloping from the wedding venue, little did they know that an unanticipated incident would change Khaliq's life topsy-turvy.    

He comes across Rafeeq (Daniel Annie Pope), an innocent youngster, who is being used by Dhanushkodi (SJ Suryah), a corrupt cop and Parivanthan (Y Gee Mahendra), a dangerous political leader. Khaliq gets to know that the criminal duo's plan is to assassinate the state Chief Minister Arivazhagan (SA Chandrasekhar). 

But he understands that he is stuck in a bizarre time-loop, which leaves him helpless and puzzled. Khaliq experiences time-loop repeatedly, and he purposefully starts changing the incidents which occurred to him in previous loops. But he ends up making some mistakes despite him getting a hang of the time-loop concept. As if this isn't enough, Dhanushkodi, too, experiences time-loop. How are the two going to come out of it and alter their future?

poster
A still from the film

Managing to narrate a gripping crime story in a thriller form with politics as its backdrop is no mean feat. In Maanaadu, there is the additional burden of incorporating the idea of time-loop which many might find it difficult to digest. However, the director has ensured that the seemingly complex concept is presented in a simple manner.

The biggest challenge while handing time-loop in a thriller flick is the repeated occurrence of events which is likely to make the audience exhausted. However, the clever screenplay engages the viewers from the word go. Though the narration takes some time to establish the backdrop and characters, it takes off once the protagonist enters the time-loop. 

The performances of Silambarasan and SJ Suryah, at times, outsmart the screenplay which appears sharp and thoroughly engaging. The former pulls off the role of confused protagonist who sets out to stop the assassination of CM effortlessly while the latter entertains with his over-the-top antics and expressions. 

Y Gee Mahendra's portrayal of an opportunistic politician, too, stand out while others are apt in their roles. Though Kalyani's role isn't limited to the regular heroine we come across, the characterization required better writing. The super funny conversation between Silambarasan, Suryah and Mahendra in a serious scene is a testimony to their talent. One of the highlights of the film, the sequence brings the house down, thanks to the manner in which it is staged. 

poster
A poster of the movie

Praveen's editing and Yuvan Shankar Raja's background score complement the fast-paced screenplay. Assorting repeated sequences and shots in a captivating manner for a movie based on time-loop is an uphill task, and the former does an impressive job. The action scenes are neat and convincing, while cinematography looks pleasant. 

On the downside, the climax looks rushed. For a movie which handles complex situations and characters, it would have been great had the makers come up with a grand sequence which featured more drama and tension. Nevertheless, Maanaadu is a total fun ride which one expects from Venkat Prabhu and team.

Verdict: Maanaadu is an out-and-out entertainer which offers a roller-coaster ride experience to the viewers. 


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