Mathagam starts off as an intriguing tale. However, the proceedings go downhill after a couple of episodes, thanks to the lack of solid moments
A poster of Mathagam
Story: A sincere cop and his team are after a dreaded criminal based on an unexpected tip-off they received from a gangster. However, the criminal's plans are smartness are way beyond the imagination of the cops. Moreover, he also has support from a few people from the police department and other influential figures like the cabinet minister. Who is going to have the last laugh?
Review: Prasath Murugesan's Mathagam begins on an intriguing note. A determined gangster is on his way to meet someone, but gets caught by a cop. The former offers a bribe to the latter and almost gets away scot-free. However, Deputy Commissioner Ashwath (Atharvaa), who reaches the spot, nabs him and enquires details about his late-night drive.
It opens up a Pandora's box, which leads to Ashwath setting up plans to hunt down Padalam Sekhar (Manikandan), a dangerous criminal who is believed to have passed away a while ago. Ashwath has a dedicated team and the support of a couple of senior cops, but Sekhar is equally powerful and has a nexus that is beyond the police department's comprehension.
This plot is adequate for the five-episode series to hook the audience. The host of characters, police procedures, and the conflict between a few people are neatly designed. The technical aspects, too, are neat. The first two episodes provide the required high moments, thanks to the pace with which a few sequences unfold.
The presence of a few characters lent credibility to the story and the realistic portrayal of some of the events complement the overall narrative style and making. However, the proceedings go downhill after a couple of episodes, thanks to the lack of solid moments and tepid screenplay.
Atharvaa is convincing as the timid cop, but the character's conflicts offer hardly anything new. A dedicated police officer who's torn between his family and profession is an arc we are used to for a long time. Nikhila Vimal, who plays his wife, is apt in the role of a concerned wife and a doting mother.
Manikandan as the menacing antagonist tries his best to fit into the shoes of a hardcore criminal who controls a big network in the country. However, the hangover of a few boy-next-door roles he has essayed beautifully in the past is clearly visible in his acting. The second season of the series might have him coming up with a performance that proves me wrong, but as far as the first season is concerned, his histrionics don't suit the image of the description given for Padalam Sekhar.
Dilnaz Irani makes her presence felt in most of the scenes she appears in. Dhivyadharshini, Gautham Menon, Ilavarasu, and Rishikanth among others are decent in their respective roles. The final episode is stretched beyond a point; the much-hyped face-off which is expected to happen at any moment is placed as the cliffhanger.
The decision to position the major conflict of the series as its climax leaves viewers with no takeaways. A lot of time has been consumed by establishing various characters in the criminal nexus, and the makers might have plans to join the dots in the next season. But the first season's culmination leaves a bitter taste.
Verdict: Mathagam starts off as an intriguing tale involving cops, politicians, and gangsters. The plot loses steam after a point, leading to the series ending up as a partly-engaging watch.
Mathagam is streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.