Maamannan works well as a study of two generations. We understand this when we further compare Rathnavel (Fahadh Faasil) to Veeran (Udhaynidhi Stalin) and the families they come from. But this becomes even clearer when we see how differently Veeran reacts to a problem compared to his father Maamannan (Vadivelu), who is also an MLA.
An extremely solid first half that plays out as an intense character study of three men. It is personal, intricate and political even without having to introduce us to many characters outside the three of them.
Just like how the poster of Thevar Magan placed right next to that of Maamannan’s reveals the father and son sitting right next to each other when compared to the son standing in the older film, the film puts forth its politics in the massiest manner one can think of.
The film loses that balance as it moves into the realm of the election. From personal, the film soon becomes ‘public’ with individual plot points making way for larger, more generic situations. The intensity too starts to drop once the film shifts to this mood.
Yet the reason why the film never slips is because the performances remain steady and strong. Fahadh presents us with one the best villains of recent times; unhinged, unpredictable and with a raw energy that makes him extremely stressful to watch.
Vadivelu too isn’t just brilliant in the scenes that are written around his performance. Initially lacking in confidence, you notice his transformation almost entirely through his body language. What’s equally fascinating is how he’s able to create a performance unlike any he’s done before despite the hundreds and thousands of hours we’ve watched him in before.