Films based on the time-loop concept have always found it tough to break into commercial potboiler mode, reaching out to the masses. With Maanaadu, writer-director Venkat Prabhu effectively tries the same, coming up with a fast-paced masala entertainer based on a time-loop twist.
Introducing Silambarasan TR as Abdul Khaaliq, on his way to attend a wedding, Maanaadu takes some to come to the point but keeps you fairly entertained till the drama begins. Simplifying the concept of time-loop for the general audience, it is probably the first film that openly names the Hollywood movies it draws its inspiration from, displaying amazing confidence. Along with quoting the cult Groundhog Day, the writers also give reference to the Indian Vikram-Vetal tale to explain the concept.
Without giving much time to the backstories of the characters or any love angle, Maanaadu remains focused on its basic theme with a political angle of the assassination of the chief minister. Making sharp comments upon the social environment within the country with references to the major events of the past, it later reveals another twist of how not one but two people are caught in the time loop. The other being the ACP, superbly played by SJ Suryah.
However, that cannot be stated as a novel addition. Just a few months back, we had an exceptional Telugu web series, Kudi Yedamaithe, also having the theme of two people caught in a time loop directed by Pawan Kumar. But while in the series they were both on the same side, Maanaadu has Silambarasan and Suryah as the two opponents fighting to defeat the other remaining in the time loop.
Complex, it may sound; the film thankfully isn’t any complicated interpretation of the same, providing wholesome masala entertainment with a touch of comedy. Post the initial hiccups of watching the same sequences, again and again, Maanaadu successfully drags you in with the camerawork, action, editing, and background score playing a major role in its collective solid impact.
Another highlight of the film is its presentation from two perspectives. At first, it showcases the events from the hero’s point of view, in which he is willing to save the CM. And later, it presents the same events from the villain’s perspective, who wishes to get him killed. The execution gets brilliant support from the lead performers Silambarasan and Suryah along with the supporting cast, and together they put up a great entertaining show.
As a fact, such projects have the limitation of repetitions that might not interest a few. But if you love to watch films exploring a time loop, then this has something new to offer, differentiating itself from the rest as a must-watch.
Title: Maanaadu (Tamil)
Cast: Silambarasan TR, SJ Suryah, Kalyani Priyadarshan and SA Chandrasekha
Director: Venkat Prabhu
Rating: 3.5 stars
Where: At theatres near you
ALSO READGaruda Gamana Vrishabha Vahana review: A must-watch entertainer, packed with powerful performances
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)