Maamannan review: Mari Selvaraj’s film is more than just a simple political thriller

Vadivelu and Fahadh Faasil put up an exceptional show; barring some minor issues, the movie leaves a mark on audiences.

ByManigandan KR

Published:Aug 10, 2023

Maamannan poster
A must-watch!

Maamannan (Tamil)

  • Cast: Udhayanidhi Stalin, Vadivelu, Fahadh Faasil, and Keerthy Suresh
  • Direction: Mari Selvaraj
  • Producers: Red Giant Movies
  • Music: AR Rahman
  • Runtime: 2 hours 37 minutes

Director Mari Selvaraj, best known for having delivered two critically acclaimed superhit films — Pariyerum Perumal (2018) and Karnan (2021) — comes up with a political action drama in Maamannan.

Despite its flaws, the movie succeeds in its mission of making several significant points by the time it ends.

Make no mistake about it; this film too is deep.

To the untrained eye, it might come across as just a simple political thriller that talks about a man from the oppressed classes winning an election. However, Maamannan is much more than that.


Maamannan (Vadivelu), a man from the oppressed classes, is the MLA of a particular constituency. His son Adhiveeran (Udhayanidhi Stalin) is an exponent of the ancient Tamil martial art Adimurai.

Maamannan trailer poster

‘Maamannan’ trailer poster. (Mari Selvaraj/ Twitter)

While both father and son are equally passionate about social justice and equality, they are not on talking terms. It’s been that way for the last 15 years and the incident that triggered this cold silence happened when Maamannan was an ordinary party worker.

Maamannan’s inability to bring to justice four upper-caste villagers who brutally stoned some lower-caste boys to death for taking a dip in the temple well makes Adhiveeran stop talking to his dad.

Now, 15 years later, MLA Maamannan believes he has power and can make a considerable difference.

It is under these circumstances that one day, Leela (Keerthy Suresh) — Adhiveeran’s classmate in college — and her friends seek Adhiveeran’s help in finding a place for them to conduct free coaching classes for students from the underprivileged sections appearing for several competitive exams.

Related: ‘Maamannan’ will be my last film, says Udhayanidhi Stalin

Leela’s institute, which offers free coaching to all those students who approach it, earns the ire of another popular coaching centre that’s looking to make money.

The coaching centre’s owner who happens to be the brother of Rathnavel (Fahadh Faasil), a powerful politician from Maamannan’s party, sends goons to ravage Leela’s institute. Leela and Adhiveeran respond in kind, triggering a huge clash between both parties.

A shrewd politician he is, when Rathnavel realises that Adhiveeran is the son of his own party man Maamannan, he looks to resolve the issue peacefully by holding talks. He sends for Maamannan and Adhiveeran to sort out the issue. What happens then is what Maamannan is all about.

Showcases real power game

Like all of Mari Selvaraj’s other films, this film too deals with the bias and injustice being meted out to those from the oppressed classes. However, Maamannan is distinctly different from his earlier two films.

Mari Selvaraj Maamannan

A poster of Mari Selvaraj ‘s ‘Maamannan’. (Mari Selvaraj/ Twitter)

The protagonists of his earlier films had no real power in society and therefore had to face social injustice. But here, Maamannan (Vadivelu) suffers humiliation and belittlement despite wielding considerable power.

The film’s plot is layered and it makes many significant points. First among these is that even if those from the oppressed classes occupy positions of power, they continue to be sidelined and looked down upon.

The next point that Mari Selvaraj makes, which eventually turns out to be the USP of Maamannan, is that people from the oppressed classes must assert themselves and claim their rights. They must not look at their rights as a favour being extended to them by those from the privileged classes.

The film beautifully shines the light on the intricacies of power and how it is wielded surreptitiously by those who have been enjoying it for generations on the one hand.

At the same time, it also shows how those from the present generation, who are more aware of their rights, will not forsake their self-respect and forgo their rights, even for the sake of their parents.

Also Read: Nikhil’s ‘Spy’ is marred by inadequacies and poor execution

Outstanding performances

Two people deliver outstanding performances in Maamannan.

Fahad Faasil in Maamannan

Fahad Faasil in ‘Maamannan’. (Mari Selvaraj/ Twitter)

Fahadh Faasil as Rathnavel impresses yet again. He comes up with a performance so sharp that it is hard to imagine another actor playing his part.

Vadivelu as Maamannan showcases a side he has not shown the world so far. Measured, dignified, polite and kind always, Vadivelu as Maamannan is just exceptional.

It is completely different from what we have seen Vadivelu perform before but it is as impressive if not better than all his previous roles.

Udhayanidhi Stalin, who delivered an admirable performance in his previous film Kalaga Thalaivan (2022), comes up with yet another neat performance as Adhiveeran.

Also Read: Fans save 7 Star Sultan, the fighter-actor sheep, from getting sacrificed on Bakrid in Karnataka

Minor flaws

While Maamannan succeeds in putting across the message it intends to send out quite convincingly, certain not-so-significant portions seem out of place or inadequate.

For instance, the flashback portions of Adhiveeran do not give a complete picture and leave the audience guessing.

We know that the boy leaves his home and goes away, disillusioned by the turn of events. However, we are not given any adequate details on Adhiveeran’s teacher who finds him and brings him back.

Also, the romantic portions between Keerthy Suresh and Udhayanidhi Stalin don’t work.


Except for these minor issues, Maamannan works big time.

(Views expressed here are personal.)