Director: Karthik Thangavel
Cast: Jayam Ravi, Rashi Khanna, Sampath Raj
Composer: Sam CS
Actors in Tamil cinema have distinctly different cop personalities. Rajini had some snark, Kamal wanted to be the sophisticate, Ajith nailed the sophisticate, Suriya and Vishal were brash and aggressive, Vijay, traditional and quietly theatrical, and Jayam Ravi… a fiery fella whose eyes preface most of his actions. You get to know if he’s about to just throw a punch or kill someone by the degree of emotion in his eyes – and that’s a wonderful thing. He’s also hot-headed, with a penchant for violence – a common vein that runs through most cop characterisations, one that is reflexively threaded into the script. The only exception in recent times was Aadhi Pinisetty in U Turn who played his part with a dignity and tenderness that one wouldn’t associate with a Kollywood cop (not saying this just because of those biceps, we are not shallow like that).
In Adanga Maru, Jayam Ravi razes down thugs with a perverse pleasure that you would associate with swatting at mosquitoes in Madras. The superhuman show may not be new to Indian cinema, or the Tamil audiences, but Ravi takes on the might of a social evil here, something that has thankfully gained a lot of significance in recent times. If Kanaa on Friday urged viewers to get their girls out and about, and took up their cause to play and read as they pleased, Adanga Maru is about lynching those who perpetrate crimes against women. Jayam Ravi as Subash is the one who can’t be subdued, not with verbal or physical threats, not even after a brutal attack on his family. In an earlier scene, Subash as a new sub inspector descends into mutinous silence when his boss tells him to let someone go because of his political affiliations. Later though, Subash chases the guy down and wallops him.
If there’s anything that Kollywood filmmakers have learnt, at least post the release of Gautham Menon’s Kaakha Kaakha, lone-wolf cops don’t really have a satisfactory shelf life. And even when the characters are presented as one, they need to be soon tempered with a family – or a love – at the heart of the tale. In Adanga Maru too, there’s a picture-perfect family – one where everyone co-exists in peace, with sweet dinner table banter to boot. But there’s striking – and delightful – departure from convention. Raashi isn’t the banal cop girlfriend who exists as a mere prop, nor is Subhash a cop who is only adept at handling guns – he can flip a dosai too with the same ease; and to the director’s credit, this is depicted as a natural extension of his personality.
In Adanga Maru, Ravi is hero-saviour-heartthrob all rolled into one. But more importantly, he’s here to deliver justice. When called in to investigate the apparent suicide of a young woman, Subhash has his suspicions, but is forced to close the case, because. All through Subash’s ruminations over the case, typical of those who seek to triumph over evil, you are always sure whom victory will favour. But that doesn’t quite point to lack of intrigue, for Subash is portrayed as a cop who is more than just a brawnier clone of his other onscreen colleagues. He also hacks, is well-versed in forensic science and technology, and seems to have a proclivity for theatre – and the need for validation of self – when it comes to making a good kill.
If not for his uniform, he could well be a character right out of a psycho thriller fiction; the sociopath who indulges his narcissism through deviant artistic pursuits. Here though, Subhash fights for the greater good, so the streak of extreme violence and the sweet release that comes from doling out justice that’s improbable in real life is made much of, and is the dominant theme that Adanga Maru capitalises on – not unlike most Shankar directorials, we have to say.
The Adanga Maru review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.