Maayavan movie cast: Sundeep Kishan, Lavanya Tripathi, Jackie Shroff
Maayavan movie director: CV Kumar
Maayavan movie rating: 3 stars
As a producer C V Kumar has demonstrated a considerable amount of wisdom in backing good content-based movies. He has bankrolled many projects of newcomers that have given a big break to several actors and directors, who were waiting to prove their mettle. Director Pa. Ranjith, who is helming his second consecutive film with Superstar Rajinikanth, made his debut with Attakathi, which was bankrolled by Kumar. The producer also funded movies like Pizza and Soodhu Kavvum, which established a solid career path for actor Vijay Sethupathi and director Karthik Subbaraj in the Tamil film industry.
His years of experience in identifying and supporting good movies, which brought in a breath of fresh air in an industry that suffered from hero-worshipping films, has clearly come in handy while creating the engaging story for Maayavan, which is his directorial debut. In the last 100 years of Tamil cinema, a lot of movies have played with the supernatural idea of body swapping. Earlier this year, even Bogan revolved around a similar concept of what happens when a bad guy has the power to switch minds with other people. But, the premise of the story was supernatural, where Arvind Swamy’s Adithya can body swap with anyone he wanted by reciting of a few Vedic lines that he gained access to from scriptures written by ancient saint Bogan. In Maayavan, first-time director Kumar centres his narration around an egoistic scientist Pramod. Unlike Bogan, the director did not require a star like Arvind Swamy to play the main antagonist.
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Kumar’s choice for the role is actor Amarendran. He plays the evil scientist, who is among the top guys in the field of neuroscience. An overachiever, who is never content with what he has. He is timid, full of ego, lewd, vengeful and a genius. The main antagonist in the film is not an unpleasant old man, who doesn’t know the basic manners of how to speak to a lady in public. It is his memories that are the real threat. And his ambition to beat death. He makes a major breakthrough in neuroscience which allows him to take over anyone’s mind. And use their body and social status in society to do whatever he wants. If things get out of hand, he will kill his host so he can swap brains with his text target.
Kumar has given a scientific spin to the age-old concept of body-swapping, which surprisingly looks achievable with the aid of technology. The film begins with Inspector Kumaran (Sundeep Kishan), killing a suspect in self-defence. The near-death incident takes a toll on his mental health, landing him at the doorstep of Ramya (Lavanya Tripathi), a psychiatrist. They both instantly develop a chemistry with each other and that’s that. Kumaran returns to duty with a new vigour to catch a killer of a celebrity. The murder of an actress (Akshara Gowda), has a lot of similarities with the other murder investigation led by Kumaran. Remember the murder suspect, who Kumaran killed at the very beginning of the movie? It looks like his work. But, he is already dead. How is it possible?
Kumaran begins to look for some answers and finds out Pramod’s next target, a popular motivational speaker, played by Daniel Balaji. This time Kumaran takes proactive steps to box in Pramod preventing him from committing his next crime. The narration begins to catch speed as Pramod seems to outsmart the entire police force at every turn. If we pay close attention to the narration, we can figure out that the writers have compromised the hero’s character a lot to give the villain an upper hand in the story.
Every time Kumaran manages to catch a breakthrough in his high-profile investigation, he willingly tips off Pramod, which helps him to make a move to neutralise the threats. In one scene, after finding the secret laboratory of Pramod, Kumaran sends a selfie video to him boasting about his intelligence. And guess what Pramod, now who is a decorated army officer Major Sathyam (Jackie Shroff), outsmarts him again. There are many questions that are left unanswered in the film and loose ends, which seem to be due to writers’ efforts to find easy solutions to the problems in the story.
The casting of the film is a letdown. While Sundeep and Lavanya have played the characters well, the supporting cast disappoints. In one scene, Kumaran seeks information from the son of a murder victim. The actor that played the son’s role shows no sign of bereavement or shock over the loss of his father. He gives the impression of the son that was waiting for the death of his father. In another film, his lack of emotion and casual attitude for his murdered father, would have prompted a smart cop to mark him as a number one suspect. Director Kumar has overlooked such silly errors and made compromises to somehow take the narration towards the finish line.
But, writer Nalan Kumarasamy’s screenplay keeps the audience hooked to the investigative thriller that convincingly flirts with the science-fiction genre. Kumar’s directorial venture has flaws but if the film is judged only by its entertainment value, it passes the test with a first-class mark.