Starring : Vikram Prabhu, Ganesh Venkatraman, Surabhi, Vamsi Krishna
Direction : Saravanan
Music : C Sathya
Production : UTV,Thirupathi brothers
In the opening scene of “Ivan Vera Maathiri”, the horrific incident which took place in 2008 at Dr. Ambedkar Law College where young men brutally savaged their fellow students is recreated. But the reason, unlike in reality, is far more petty. A big politician with a bruised ego orders his men to riot inside the college premises after being refused a seat for someone he knows. With cameras capturing the raw act and cops refusing to intervene, the incident becomes a headline and captures everyone’s imagination. The politician’s involvement is a common knowledge yet he faces no repurcussions. There’s disgust and anger in everyone’s voice, but nobody does anything about it. Except one guy.
In his sophomore feature, director M. Saravanan choses to deal with the subject of vigilantism is varying capacity. His protagonist Guna (Vikram Prabhu) is a common man who has in no way been affected by the evils in society. He has a good education; he is from a decent middle class family; he will soon have a lovely girlfriend and there’s no hint of an angry, fed-up victim visible in him. But he decides to involve himself in the Law College issue by kidnapping the politician’s son who is out on parole. Just like that. It happens too quick and the film never bothers to explain what exactly pushed him to take that step. His motivations are very unconvincing; so in that respect, he is definitely vera maathiri and I don’t mean it as a compliment.
He puts a giant condom on his head and systematically hunts down his target- very calm and assured while doing so. His victim, if I can call him that, is kinda obviously a villain-type, but the film works to give him a convincing reason to begrudge our hero. Guna keeps him in solitary confinement on top of a vacant high-rise for days together. You don’t exactly start sympathizing with the villain but you understand how pissed off he must be. Without having seen his captor’s face, the villain fellow has to seek his revenge by relying on bits of information, while being on the run from cops.
The girlfriend who eventually goes on to become the aforementioned damsel in distress is Malini (played by debutante Surabhi.) She perfectly balances her loosu ponnu-ness with general likability. The relatively restrained love story is cute within acceptable ranges and probably my favorite part in the film. I mean, how often do we see the hero ask, “Yenna pathi unakku yenna theriyum?” in response to heroine saying “I love you”? The two of them conveniently keep running into each other, which even though it’s entertaining, makes you wish for some inventiveness from the writer’s side.
When the danger finally catches up with them, even minor informations like a signature in a police registry or a bank account number comes to play a significant part. All that is good, but when Malini is captured by the bad guys and subject to the kind of torture that most of our heroines aren’t used to, the film oddly leaves you with no feeling. Even when she gets kicked on the face, your insides gently squirm at best. Remember how we felt during that scene in “Ghajini” where Kalpana is trapped inside her apartment and Sanjay doesn’t seem to notice? “Ivan Vera Mathiri” has pretty much the same setup, but there were no knot-in-the-stomach moments. She is left hanging from a building for simply too long and help comes too late for there to be a cathartic release of any sort.
You cannot blame Saravanan for wanting to make good cinema within the confines of commercial viability, but “Ivan Vera Maathiri” is lacking in more than just realism. He is more obsessed with watching vehicles crash into each other. I have not watched “Engeyum Eppothum”, but I know that a major scene involves an automobile collision. Vikram Prabhu’s portrayal is understated, but it’s kind of hard to buy why a normal guy is so damn good at fighting. When the character’s motivation itself is so muddled and unexplained, it’s hard to root for him in his endeavors- whatever they might be. Is this act of vigilantism a one-off event in the life of Guna or is he going to become our new friendly neighborhood superhero? By the end of the film, you don’t feel like a hero is born. You only go, “Ivanukku ithu thevaiya?”
Verdict – A young man unnecessarily involves himself in an issue that has nothing to do with him and learns a lesson- to mind his own business.
Review : Prasanth Reddy