'Maaran': A flat thriller consumed by smoke and mirrors

Riding off on a very familiar trope, the story loses itself onto the central aspect of political journalism. Thankfully, it is not disturbed by the romantic arc between Maaran and Tara, who works as a photojournalist in the same media house as Maaran.

By Dheeraj Rayalu  Published on  12 March 2022 6:44 AM GMT
Maaran: A flat thriller consumed by smoke and mirrors

Maaran is a Tamil thriller built on the tropes of journalism and politics. It is a confusing ropewalk trying to drive a single idea as a clever thriller which only lands at a watchable pass propelled by acting.

Mathimaaran (Dhanush) loses his parents in one night and becomes the guardian of his newborn sister. While this presents a story setting extensively overused in the yesteryears, the movie does not launch into any pressed emotional portrayals barring the enjoyable music. This creates a sense of relatability with the rawness of the characters, a crucial aspect of an OTT product. The yesteryear influence is further dripped down into the references of Maaran being addressed multiple times throughout the movie as "Just like his father, won't listen to anyone", while ends up being an honest journalist too.

Riding off on a very familiar trope, the story loses itself onto the central aspect of political journalism. Thankfully, it is not disturbed by the romantic arc between Maaran and Tara, who works as a photojournalist in the same media house as Maaran. Tara (Malavika) performs her role with elegance and gravitates into the character as time passes. She adds constructively to the progression. Dhanush's energy as a journalist and a guardian keeps the screen alive while the story is quite slow to spin out until the very climax. Smruthi Venkat draws compassion as a caring sister and adds up quite valiantly to the sibling emotional scenes involving Dhanush. Pazhani (Samuthirakani) starts as a seemingly ominous presence but eventually gets diluted into the periphery as the story progresses. The background score and the supporting roles fit the narrative to whatever scope they have been presented.

Despite being an OTT thriller, the clues of the mystery seemed to be overtly spoon-fed to an extent making the projective path of the storyline quite predictable. Delving into the later stages of the story, the mystery begins to unravel in unexpected directions that served as a true surprise in a seemingly predictable line of actions. However, this surprise is rather confusing than mind-bending. While possibly intended to create the "Oh" effect, the best it lands is at the "Why though" effect. The climax arc seems utterly disconnected from the rest of the story giving no closure to the audience as to what could this all add up to and most importantly, it negates the very driving moral principle of the movie under the guise of resorting to something smart.

Dhanush, Malavika, and Smruthi save this passable thriller by shouldering the scenes that keep the story attached at a lazy pace. The smoke and mirrors of the thriller consume too much attention leaving the thrill flat on the ground.



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