The trajectory of Karthik Subbaraj films saw a downward track post Mercury and things got worse with Jagame Thanthiram.
A director must be too conscious in a gangster film as the genre has seen too many clichés with each passing film. Karthik Subbaraj whose forte been gangster dramas is back and delivers a kickass film in his own style.
Gandhi Mahaan leads a distasteful life after he’s forced to follow Gandhian ideologies set by his forefathers. But life had other plans that led him to the top of a liquor syndicate. Mahaan sketches the rise of a gangster and how his own blood turns against him. Karthik Subbaraj’s expertise in elucidating a gangster saga with underlying emotions once again does the trick. Mahaan, though accompanied by all those tested formulas of a gangster film, keeps the energy high with a solid writing and thunderous performances.The staging might remind you of some classic movies of the same genre, Mahaan slowly but steadily setup it’s fort and spruce it up with adequate twists and emotional stretches.
Karthik Subbaraj writing has moments worth whistling at the same time showcases the vulnerability of the protagonist. Be it the fiery pre-interval portion or the mind boggling turn at the final act the makers leave no box unchecked. The body language and the surroundings during the transition is eloquently etched with conviction. After a few fumbles at the initial track the pace moves rapidly with a racy screenplay.
Vikram’s impeccable ability to switch into any characters has been underutilised for a period and the acting monster has finally received his due. The transition of age gap is filled brilliantly by the actor with just body language and appearance. Dhruv Vikram resembles his father at many instances and kick-starts the film with his scintillating entry after a dull start. The young man has phenomenally expressed frustration, rage in an action packed role. It’s a joy to watch both the father and son sharing screen with great elan. Bobby Simha, Sananth in a power packed role generate great chemistry with Vikram while Simran in a limited space makes a strong impression.
Rarely does a film fly high in the second half and Mahaan with an emotionally charged narrative and mind games keeps us invested into the final hour. The stunt sequences are well shot with Santhosh Narayanan’s enigmatic score. Mahaan had elements to be a lot better drama but it never disappoints. Even within his familiar Tarantino inspired territory Karthick Subbbaraj could translate his thoughts into the screen.
Mahaan is definitely a relief for Chiyaan Vikram and Karthik Subbaraj, it might test you for a while but ultimately gets your attention.
Review By ©Rahul Babu