Koimoi Recommends Asuran: The politics of the land is something any visual content cannot escape and in my opinion, and should not even try to. Vetrimaaran, through his films, has always spoken about politics and what it leads to. But what I took home from Asuran when I saw it back in 2019 was the fact the filmmaker wants to deliver a solution this time. The impeccably strong Dhanush here doesn’t only represent a family, but embodies a community and stands tall as a mirror which the society needs to look into. Back after a long gap, today on Koimoi recommends, I want you to watch this social drama or revisit it if you have already seen it.
Asuran is about an underprivileged low born man (Shiva Saamy) who is in the gest to save his teenage son from being killed by the upper-class rich man. The teenage boy has killed the landlord and thus being hunt. Will Shiva Saamy be able to save his son? Will the ghost from the past blur his vision? Will the gap between the haves and the have nots ever fill? Vetrimaaran has lots and lots of question, and this time he has the answers too. He wants you to imbibe.
Asuran, the word translates to the devil. And the film addresses many, foremost being the brutal caste discrimination that existed openly back in time and is till date practised more often than not. The film that takes away Dhanush’s complete charm is a flashback on what all the communities labelled ‘low born’ have gone through. Maybe a reason to cast Dhanush and de-glamourize him ultimately was a trial to make understand the hardship that has been forced upon them.
Shiva Saamy (Dhanush’s) son killing the landlord is a metaphor to stir the bottom of the vessel. No one is bothered about a human killing another, but the conflict is the fact that a have not has stood against a ‘have’. And the privileged ones need to show the underprivileged their place in this stinking hierarchy.
A flashback tells you that discrimination was more intense than we witness in the present day. Particularly a sequence where Abhirami’s Mariyammal is beaten for wearing slippers stayed with me. Let that sink in; a woman is beaten and humiliated in daylight because she chooses to wear slippers, I repeat, a pair of slippers.
In the next scene, Mariyammal asks Shiva Saamy, “what made him so powerful that he thought it was okay to hit me?” You cannot be a human if those words don’t haunt you when the tragedy comes later. If you remember, Ayushmann Khurrana’s Anubhav Sinha directorial was also around the same conflict. Remember how Khurrana explains the officer that three sips of his mineral water are costlier than what the girl who was raped asked for? The intensity is the same.
But as I said, Vetrimaaran had answered this time. With Asuran, he does address the devil and what leads to it, but he also tells us what can destroy it. In the climax, Shiva Saamy says, “we own farmland; they will seize it. If we carry money, they will snatch it. But if we have, they can never take it from us.” In there is the answer, education. Educate masses let them know what is beyond the blinkers. Vetrimaaran with Asuran does just that.
I don’t want to brag about Dhanush’s amazing work in here or his unbelievable transformation. A lot has already been spoken about his outstanding performance, and I cannot add anything more. Manju Warrier as Pachaiyammal is the character I would want to lead the representation of woman in cinema. Kudos to the makers to show a woman who has a voice even amid the oppressed and that the kind of her do exist.
There are flaws in Asuran, and I am not giving them a side-eye. The predictability is a problem, but then the messaging overpowers it, and the soul of the film grows more substantial, and that is where the chinks in the armour are filled.
Asuran is based on a book by Poomani. The screenplay is written by Vetrimaaran and M.S. Manimaran. Watch out for the background score too. You should definitely see it on Amazon Prime Video.
Asuran Star Rating: 4/5 Stars (Four Stars)