The filmmaker could have made an action-fantasy film, but the issues showcased here are based on real-life incidents that hog the limelight.
Director Madonne Ashwin, who served audiences a simple but fascinating story in his earlier film Mandela (2021), repeats the feat successfully in his latest offering — Maaveeran — as well.
His strength lies in his ability to tell gripping stories that are rooted in reality in an entertaining way.
Maaveeran is just one more testimony to this fact.
Talented cartoonist Sathya (Sivakarthikeyan) lives with his mother and sister in a slum. He is a timid person by nature and looks to avoid conflict at any cost.
He ekes out a living by making cartoon strips of a superhero character called Maaveeran.
While his mother (Sarita) is a bold woman who believes in challenging any injustice that happens around her, Sathya believes that it is better to adjust to circumstances than to challenge them.
It is under these circumstances that one day, the government looks to undertake a gentrification process. As part of it, everybody in the slum where Sathya lives is asked to vacate their homes and relocate to a new set of apartments that have been constructed by the government.
Initially, the inhabitants are impressed by the new buildings, but it does not take them long to realise that the buildings are sub-standard and not safe for human occupation.
With their original homes in the slum having been demolished and with no courage to take on Minister Jeyakodi (Mysskin), who is behind the whole scam, the slum dwellers continue to live in dangerous conditions in the buildings.
It is at this point that an outrageous incident occurs at Sathya’s residence, forcing him to get furious. He tries to punish the person responsible for the incident.
He tries to punish the person responsible for the incident but is no match for the thug.
When Sathya realises he can do nothing to question the injustice meted out to his family, he decides that there is no point in living.
He wants to commit suicide but meets with an accident. On recovering, he begins to hear a voice from above — a voice that will only speak in his ear and will tell him what is to happen next.
The voice tells Sathya that he is going to be a superhero for the sake of the people and that he would take on Minister Jeyakodi.
What happens then is what Maaveeran is all about.
Madonne Ashwin seems to have picked up an issue that caught the attention of everybody in the State in 2021 and beautifully spun an engaging story out of it.
Not only does the film touch upon the topic of the government handing sub-standard flats to slum dwellers but also showcases the risks posed by unregulated banners kept on roads to motorists.
The plot is so relatable and thoroughly engaging.
Madonne Ashwin’s sense of humour is also impeccable.
He also highlights another burning issue — migrant workers from the North taking over the jobs of locals — in fine fashion and makes significant points about the same in a genuinely funny, yet, inoffensive way.
Director Madonne Ashwin’s got almost everything spot on. His casting is perfect.
Sivakarthikeyan, as the timid cartoonist, delivers a stellar performance and is absolutely at ease while playing the character of Sathya.
Aditi Shankar, the daughter of director Shankar, does a neat job of the task given to her. She comes up with a fine, measured performance as Nila, a sub-editor in love with the cartoonist.
There is something about Yogi Babu and Madonne Ashwin working together.
Just like how comedy worked big time in their earlier film Mandela (2021), this time too, Yogi Babu’s comedy works. The jokes are genuinely funny and there’s no dearth of humour from start to finish.
Mysskin, who plays Minister Jeyakodi, simply aces the role. He knows what is needed and effortlessly delivers it.
Telugu actor Sunil makes a profound impact with his intelligent and smart acting. His performance is bound to get him several admirers in Tamil cinema and more offers from the Tamil film industry.
But the best performance must easily go to actress Saritha who plays Sivakarthikeyan’s mother. What a stellar performance from the veteran!
The actress might be making a return to cinema after nine long years, but she’s not lost her touch. She delivers a commanding performance which makes us wish she’d do more films.
Bharath Shankar’s background score is impressive, but his songs are not.
Vidhu Ayyanna’s visuals are clear and a delight to watch.
In all, Maaveeran is a wholesome, clean entertainer that works big time.
(Views expressed here are personal.)