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Review Tamil

Maaran review: Dhanush salvages an otherwise bland investigative thriller

Release Date: 11 Mar 2022

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Haricharan Pudipeddi

Karthick Naren’s Maaran, which features Dhanush in the role of a righteous investigative journalist, is one of those movies you wish had more to offer.

Karthick Naren’s Maaran (2022), which features Dhanush in the role of a righteous investigative journalist, is one of those movies you wish had more to offer. The film wants to look smart, but what it ends up becoming is a largely predictable and bland thriller.

When Maaran was announced close to two years ago, the excitement was high because the project marked the maiden collaboration of Dhanush and Karthick Naren, who is among the more exciting contemporary filmmakers in Tamil cinema. Unfortunately, you don’t want to hold on to that opinion after watching Maaran as the film belongs neither to Karthick nor to Dhanush.

Quite early on, the film introduces us to Ramki’s character, who plays a fearless journalist who goes after the truth, without ever worrying about paying the price. Dhanush plays his son and at a young age is told by his father that to be a truth-seeking journalist, it is important to be very smart.

Ramki gets killed for exposing a major scam and Dhanush grows up to fill in his shoes. Dhanush plays Mathimaaran, a no-nonsense journalist, and when he crosses paths with a corrupt local politician, his life takes an unexpected detour. 

As much as Maaran wants to be accepted as a smart, investigative thriller, the film never rises above its mediocrity. Karthick Naren showcased a lot of potential with his work so far, including a segment in Netflix’s anthology Navarasa (2021); Maaran never feels like his film because of the weak writing. Unlike his previous two feature films, Dhuruvangal Pathinaaru (2016) and Mafia: Chapter 1 (2020), Maaran can't even be called style over substance because the film isn't all that stylish in its presentation.

With predictable twists and an antagonist who barely makes any impact, the film barely keeps the viewer invested. If there is anything that works for Maaran, it has to be Dhanush’s performance. Maaran is watchable for this reason alone, as the star tries his best to hold the film together. Samuthirakani, who is easily one of the busiest character actors in Tamil cinema today, gets wasted in a role that has been poorly written. Nobody else in the supporting cast makes any impact. The sporadic use of English dialogues sticks out like a sore thumb and never feels like something that warrants appreciation.

Maaran is now available on Disney+ Hotstar.


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