Maanaadu movie review: Silambarasan TR’s film is highly enjoyable, accessible time-loop thriller
- Maanaadu movie review: Silambarasan TR’s stars in a career-defining film on the intriguing concept of time loops.
Maanaadu is just the kind of film Silambarasan TR, who is making a major comeback, has been on the lookout for. In every popular star’s career, there’s always one film that’d become his game-changer, and Maanaadu, in all probability, is that film for Silambarasan.
It’s also an equally important film for director Venkat Prabhu, who proves once again why he’s one of the most exciting mainstream filmmakers, despite a few misfires, in Tamil cinema. Venkat makes a very strong statement about his form with Maanaadu, which is a highly enjoyable, crowd-pleasing, and accessible time-loop thriller.
Silambarasan TR plays Abdul Khaliq, who lands in Ooty from Dubai for a wedding. It’s supposed to be a fun trip as he plans to kidnap the bride (with her permission) and get her married to his friend. Everything goes as planned and but a small accident on the way gets them arrested. SJ Suryah plays Dhanushkodi, a top cop, who is working on a plan to assassinate the state’s chief minister with the help of his close aide, and Khaliq finds himself entangled in this political conspiracy. As Khaliq tries to stop the assassination by exposing the truth, he begins to realise he’s stuck in a time loop. The only way to get out of the time loop is by stopping the assassination, but Dhanushkodi won’t let that happen so easily. This leaves both Khaliq and Dhanushkodi trying to stop and outsmart each other while figuring out a way out of the loop.
It isn’t easy to take a concept like time-loop, and make it accessible for the masses. Venkat Prabhu cracks this formula successfully and that’s what saves Maanaadu from becoming just another novel attempt gone haywire. It is this formula that makes the film highly enjoyable, but at the same time uses the concept of time-loop in such a way that it never leaves the audiences wondering what’s happening. Venkat manages to simplify the concept and breaks it down for it appeal to all sections of the audience. One of the best scenes of the movie happens in a coffee shop, where the hero is trying to explain to his friends how this day in his life is repeating on a loop. Venkat doesn’t believe in explaining the science behind the concept; instead, he chooses to name popular Hollywood films that have been made on the same idea. It’s these things that make Venkat Prabhu one of the most exciting filmmakers working currently.
Another factor that makes Maanaadu highly enjoyable is that each iteration of the same scene is presented in a way that it isn’t boring and there’s something new to offer to the viewers each time. Another interesting perspective is that the time loop is told from the hero’s point of view in the first half and from the villain’s standpoint post interval. SJ Suryah as the antagonist is unbelievably good. Very few actors can so effectively make even over-the-top performances stand out, and Suryah is brilliant throughout the movie. The scenes in which he's trying to understand why he’s stuck in a time loop while trying to get a grip over reality leaves the audiences in splits. Silambarasan is so effortless as Abdul Khaliq, a role that’ll be remembered for a long time. Kalyani Priyadarshan is good and shines in the limited screen space she gets.
Director: Venkat Prabhu
Cast: Silambarasan TR, SJ Suryah, Kalyani Priyadarshan and SA Chandrasekhar