Chennai, 12 Apr 2019 21:00 IST
CV Kumar’s Gangs of Madras is a crime thriller that revolves around a woman who wants to avenge the death of her husband.
CV Kumar’s Gangs of Madras is one of those amateurish gangster films you don’t want to take seriously, let alone even find words to praise. After successfully taking the directorial plunge nearly two years ago with the highly ambitious science-fiction film Maayavan (2017), Kumar treads a very violent and extremely disturbing path with Gangs of Madras – a crime thriller that revolves around a woman who wants to avenge the death of her husband.
The story is centered on a young couple – Ibrahim (Ashok Kumar) and Rasia (Priyanka Ruth) – who meet in college, fall in love and get married. Through a close friend, Ibrahim lands a job as an assistant to an accountant who manages the accounts of local don Rawther. All’s going well in the life of Ibrahim and Rasia, and they’re expecting their first child. Life takes a dramatic turn when Ibrahim gets killed a police shootout, leaving Rasia to fend for herself. Rasia learns that her husband was killed by Rawther and his men and she swears to take revenge.
Gangs of Madras, which revolves around gangsters and shootouts, never succeeds in creating the right mood to get us invested. We are never drawn into the world of gangsters who are merely shown as violent people with no morals. What really differentiates Gangs of Madras from other gangster films is that this tale of revenge is headlined by a woman and this is a very refreshing angle in an industry where producers only want to bet on male stars.
Priyanka Ruth is a revelation as Rasia, and after she swears to take revenge on those responsible for her husband’s death, she is terrific in some action sequences. As a woman consumed by vengeance, she’s really convincing, and despite very amateurish writing, she really makes us buy her character with all earnestness.
Kumar’s writing lacks the directorial flair and it never feels wholesome. Barring Rasia, no other character really makes an impact. Velu Prabhakaran as Rawther, one of the most dreaded gangsters but there’s no back-story to his rise and how he built his empire. Everything is so conveniently written, we’re made to believe everything Kumar wants to showcase.
After her husband’s death, Rasia gets trained in Mumbai and returns to Chennai to take revenge. Upon her return, she goes on a killing spree and it makes us wonder if it’s actually so easy going around killing gangsters who are even feared by the police department.
Gangs of Madras is extremely violent and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, after a point, the violence turns into torture and it’s excruciatingly painful to watch. Kumar tries to present a localized version of Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill, but Gangs of Madras eventually ends up as a violent tale of revenge that turns into torture porn.
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