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Mahaan, A Fractured Showcase For Vikram’s Virtuosity




Mahaan(Amazon Prime Video)

Starring   Vikram, Dhruv Vikram, Simran, and Bobby Simha

Directed  by  Karthik  Subbaraj

Rating: ***

Mahaan is a brazen showcase  for  Tamil star-actor Vikram. He  plays a  booze-loving Gandhian….hang on, it gets even better…a  booze-loving Gandhian whose son, played by(who else) Vikram’s real-life son Dhruv is  on his Papa’s hot pursuit.

Loyalties  are tested, power  is wrested and  no one is arrested.And yet we are expected to be invested…For almost three hours.Mahaan makes for  tedious exhausting viewing. Its moral  values are largely  attached to the  nether regions. The mental  faculties of  most of the characters seems faulty, what  with  the hero calling himself Gandhi Mahaan. It’s like  Sunny Deol calling himself  Sunny Dhai Kilo Wallah.

Vikram’s whole  family seems pathologically obsessed with the Mahatma. At least that’s what we gather from  their  fractured conversations. And yet  Mahaan(really , how much selfglorification can  we take?) wants  to be the  biggest   booze peddler in Tamil  Nadu,akin to  what Shah Rukh Khan aspired  to be  for Gujarat in Raees.

Mahaan  adds a sheen of  intended irony to  the boozed-out proceedings by making  Vikram’s characters a liquor lover with a Gandhain  chip on his shoulder. His wife Simran(in  a thankless  monstrously  under-written role)  leaves him.So he  adopts  Sathya(Bobby Simha) and his  son Rocky(Sannath)as  his  surrogate family.

For  almost an hour  of  the  film the trio goes around boozing, singing dancing,  killing, looting.  threatening politicians in order  to get  booze licenses  under the table. It seems  after  Kurup and Pushpa the South has taken charge of  propagating scummy heroes.

There is  a  politician, Gnanam(Muthukumar) who behaves as  if he has gone beyond booze , to  a level of substance  abuse that no one can defuse. He claps his hands and squeals  jeers and  cheers  like  a  monkey on heat.Yes, he is  the caricaturish  politician  whom we can  all recognize.

Come to think of it, almost very  character in this viscous and violent high-drama is high on  unknown substances. Vikram  dances  to   some strange  songs, boozes, cries for his family, boozes,  taunts and heckles his political ally, boozes…you get the picture?

The one constant in the erratic archaic and often idiotic  drama of  one upmanship is  alcohol.Vikram as  Gandhi Mahaan  gives a look-at-me narcissistic  performance full of brio bombast  and  of course booze. His real-life  son playing his unruly son , is  over-the-top Breathlessly trying to  keep up with Daddykins, Sunny Boy ends up looking more psychotic  than enraged.

The  ambience  is  kinetic. But the payoff is  meager. This is a film filled anger and resentment. But the  storytelling  doesn’t justify the amount of sound of fury on  display. I am  sure it  signifies something. Unless we are looking at  an emptied-out product with no appetite for  sensibleness.

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