‘Asuran’ is an important film that amalgamates realism with commerce. It serves a thrilling experience to the audience, irrespective of their expectations.
Alain Daniélou, a French historian and Indologist, had opined how the deities of the enemies of the Vedic people, the powerful ones, became the asura and later transformed into the myth of asuras as malevolent demons. Antigods, the asuras, had to be destroyed not because they sinned but for their power, virtue, and knowledge threatened the gods of the Aryans.
The advent of Puranas inflated the myth and solidified the dichotomy of devas and asuras but, in the process, created an essential allegory for the society. A society that preaches texts highlighting the conflict of black and white but inherently possesses grey characters divided into two groups, the dominant and the dominated. Those who are plundered and their plunderers.
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Asuras were, time and again, deceived by the devas and consequently, deprived of the resources. The eternal conflict arises because the deprived class realizes what it deserves and reclaims the same. But the powerful authority is equally power-hungry. Subjugation takes precedence over ideal negotiation. There are times when the subjugated accept their fate and then there are times when asuras rise.
I find the system resembling the trinity, the bourgeoisie in the place of devas and the proletariat to resemble the asuras of modern times. After all, that’s how they’re looked at. Vile, godless, uncultured, unhygienic and unworthy of an equal life. The categories assimilate the caste divisions, the divisions of civilians and tribals, the divisions of landless and landowners, and other divisions of similar characteristics.
Vetrimaaran adapts Vekkai, written by Poomani, in his latest directorial venture ‘Asuran‘ to sketch the aforementioned eternal allegory in an extremely thrilling yet convincing way. It is not the first time a filmmaker is trying to narrate a story whose soul lies in the prevalent socioeconomic inequality. Neither it is the first film that encaptures the journey of a man through his struggles, oppression, and losses. But Vetrimaaran skillfully unfolds a large canvas that attempts to redefine the idea of revenge, takes the risk of showcasing both, its essentiality & futility and substantiates the value of redemption. This is where the film becomes extraordinary.
‘Asuran‘ incorporates heavily stylized action pieces which are an absolute treat to watch. A large portion of my admiration for Vetrimaraan stems from his approach to the craft. He can mirror reality by minimalizing or eliminating the fight sequences. But he doesn’t. To our surprise, the sequences remain organic to the narrative and you don’t find them irrelevant. To serve a larger pool of audiences, he blends a mainstream appeal with clever choreography and extremely dynamic camerawork. And yet, he manages to simultaneously adhere to rationality. It subsequently becomes hard to criticize him for being larger than life. Asuran consists of finest action sequences of Vetri’s filmography.
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Velraj collaborates with the director for the fourth time as the cinematographer and does a superlative work. Multiple crane and aerial shots ensure that we get involved with the suburbs as much as our characters while medium and close-shots capture most of the action sequences. The colors are muted to maintain the gloominess of the atmosphere and render a sense of vulnerability – Both of which are crucial to the screenplay. G.V. Prakash Kumar’s score is haunting but the biggest surprise is the title song of the film “The Blood Bath”. Occupied by vigorous graphic violence, the song reverberates in the minds.
An otherwise potent film stumbles with its narrative when it treads a rather convenient path to cover the period it wishes to but somehow, does so in a little disturbing manner. This does not fall at the same pedestal as the rest of the events in Jignesh’s and Vetri’s screenplay. I would prefer to have two parallel narratives interwoven with each other to establish a contrast until the final act.
As much as I have seen of Dhanush, ‘Asuran‘ holds the best of this actor. He commands a towering screen presence and visits the extremes of his range. Pasupathy and Manju Warrier give touching performances. The rest of the cast is convincing. However, what they’re given is extremely small and prevents the audience from yielding much from them.
‘Asuran‘ is an important film that amalgamates realism with commerce. It serves a thrilling experience to the audience, irrespective of their expectations. The film successfully rises as all its motives are achieved with a panache.