Bogan review: Arvind Swamy's villain is hero of this average but watchable thriller

Release Date: 02 Feb 2017 / 02hr 29min

Cinestaan Rating

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Shriram Iyengar

Bogan is the latest in good guys gone bad.

There is a certain inexplicable appeal to good guys turning bad. Hrithik Roshan in Dhoom 2 (2006), Shah Rukh Khan in Darr (1993), and Salman Khan in real life, for example. But none of these heroes defines good to the Tamil cinema fan like Arvind Swamy does. The poster boy of ideal, foreign-returned, IT company mappilais in the 1990s, Swamy delivers as the hedonistic, pure evil villain of this supernatural thriller, Bogan. In many ways, Bogan is the latest of good guys gone bad, after Ajith Kumar, Dhanush, and even Vijay turning villain in recent years. But where Ajith makes it easy to like his villain, Swamy delights in making you cringe at his sight.

Directed by Lakshman, the film stars Swamy as the mysterious Adhitya Mavarman, a former prince-turned-con man who has been robbing banks using his mystical powers. He remains elusive till he unwittingly employs the father of ACP Vikram (Jayam Ravi) as the pawn in a robbery. This begins a cat-and-mouse game with body-swapping moves thrown in for added intrigue. 

The plot, though filled with loopholes, is refreshing and carries enough intrigue to keep you interested till the end. However, once the secret source of Adithya's power is known, the plot takes quite a predictable turn. It is only the performance of the leads that rescues the film from being ordinary.

Swamy is surprisingly good as the bad guy and plays the mysterious, machismo-exuding supervillain with elan. His delivery of lines with a deep baritone, the playful sexual innuendoes, and the absolute menace hold up a feeble plot. While he plays the Joker, it is Jayam Ravi who plays the James Bond-esque policeman. His introductory song, as is necessary, is filled with a dubsmash tribute to every action hero in Tamil cinema, before it segues into a parkour chase of villains through a market like Daniel Craig's entry in Casino Royale.

Jayam is earnest in his performance, even managing to outshine Swamy in some scenes, but lacks the power to oppose the very edgy Swamy. Hansika Motwani has managed to fit herself into Tamil cinema, and now has the ability to deliver lines with gusto. Her entry as the orthodox Tamil girl who ends up drunk with the fiance she is trying to avoid is a funny episode. 

Lakshman manages to up the ante after a sad Romeo And Juliet (2015) and delivers a commercial thriller that is worthy of producers Prabhu Deva and Ganesh. The plot, filled with its supernatural elements, thrilling chases, grand-scale songs, and some conflicts makes up for the loopholes in the plot. In his earnestness to finish with a big fight, however, Lakshman seems to have unnecessarily extended the plot. In the end, it feels like the drop in adrenalin when the big loophole ride comes to an end. A tighter script might have made the difference between an average film and a brilliant thriller. 

The music is quite ordinary, except for the earworm of a theme song for Swamy's Adithya. The introductory 'Dammalu dumeelu' might as well have been renamed the 'Dammalu dubsmash' for its rehash of hit dialogues from yesteryear films. 

Interesting, wacky and blatantly commercial, Bogan is a film that makes for a great Sunday treat. Particularly for the perverse thrill of watching a good guy like Swamy playing bad, and enjoying it. 

Reviewed by Shriram Iyengar