Movie Review: Maharaja

 After Maharaja ( Vijay Sethupathy) a barber, loses his wife in a a freak accident, he now lives with his daughter Jyothi, who survived the accident, and  runs his own saloon.

Jothi is good at sports more than studies. She loves the compassionate sports teacher Asifa ( Mamta Mohandas). One day she goes on a sports camp for a week with the teacher and other students.

While she is at camp, Maharaja goes to the cops to complain that 3 thugs broke into his house in Pallikarnai and stole his 'Laxmi'  which is very precious to him. Nobody takes him seriously.

But, S Varadharajan ( Natraj aka Natty) a corrupt cop there, hears Maharaja's story and promises to help him. 

In the meanwhile, an employee of an electrical shop, Selvam ( Anurag Kashyap) who has a  wife ( Abhirami) and  a loving baby girl Ammu whom he dotes one, is actually a criminal thief by night, who robs and kills along with 2 accomplices. 

As the police case proceeds,  several intriguing twists emerge. What is the actual truth? What happens next? Who is Laxmi? Does Maharaja find the justice he is looking for?

The emotional revenge drama and investigative thriller rolled into one, draws you in,  from the word go.  Director Nithilan wastes no time in  pulling you into the world of Maharaja and Jothi, Selvam and Varadarajan. Once hooked, there is no way out but to be glued to the screen in anticipation of what's next. 

The film has so many twists ( which are better left experienced for the viewer than revealed in the review)  that are not only rivetting, but also tug at the heartstrings while keeping you in edge of the seat suspense at the same time. 

There is a mix of situational comedy, witty one liners  and dark humor which keeps you entertained even as your brain cells are working overtime to decipher clues to find out where this is all leading up to.

And it's this element  that's one of the masterstrokes of director Nithilan. His screenplay is such that it gets the viewer completely involved in every scene,  be it comic, tragic, action, suspense or  emotional. The giant mix then begets seamless transitions revealing unexpected twists in the story, that make you sit up. There are also emotional highs and character arcs that surprise you. 

A few moments maybe a tad predictable to those watching carefully but overall the film is one surprise after another, some of which are gut wrenching.

The superb casting is among the highlights of the film.  As Vijay's 50th, the film brings back the star magic of its lead actor Vijay Sethupathy. Every scene he appears in proves yet again the complete control he has over his craft. How he can move you to laughter and to tears in the same minute, how  when he talks you have no option but to not just listen but also visualise his description in your minds eye, and experience the emotion he is feeling as he talks. The action scenes are so well written and then performed by Sethupathy and the entire stunt team, and the other actors (like Anurag Kashyap and Boys Manikandan to name a few) in a way that make it all so credible and are among the highlights of the film.   In short, Sethupathy at his golden best!

Anurag Kashyap absolutely blends into the milieu he has been cast in and seems a good choice, given his subtle but impactful performance.

Natty Natraj  is another powerhouse performer who shines in the film along with Boys Manikandan, Kalki, Singampuli, Munishkanth and Aruldoss. Every supporting actor in the film has done an excellent job, with the sum of it all adding up to a stupendous whole, making for a spell binding watch. 

Mamta Mohandas who returns to Kollywood, has a minimal presence but brings a quiet dignity to her role with her measured performance. Abhirami proves once again, what a consummate actor she is, shining as mom and wife and in a crucial emotional scene.

Ajaneesh B Loknath's bgm is a superb fit while Dinesh Purushothaman's frames bring alive each punch  and emotion in the film. 

On the flip side are some violent scenes that are gut wrenching to say the least. The film requires your full concentration even when it seemingly slows down,  because everything adds u, leading  to the climax. Some portions seem a tad convieniently written, but given the overall experience, it seems well worth it.

Watch out for a sound social message wrought into the surprise climax.

With it's stupendous performance by every cast member, an intriguing plot, unexpected twists, exceptional action blocks by Anl Arasu, touching relationship angles, dark comedy, emotional highs and to top is it all, Vijay Sethupathy's towering presence, with a simply mesmerising, realistic performance, Maharaja makes for a most engaging revenge drama, making Nithinlan Saminathan, with his attention to details, his ability to surprise you, draw out solid performances from a superbly chosen cast,  give every actor  place to make his mark,  and his ability to make a slow burn, action thriller strike a chord with its emotional twists, a director to watch out for in Kollywood.

Rating 4/5


Vijay Sethupathi, 
Anurag Kashyap, 
Natty Natraj, 
Mamta Mohandas, 
Arul Doss, 
Boys Manikandan, 
Singam Puli, 
Vinod Sagar,
 PL Thenappan 


Written & Directed By : Nithilan Saminathan
Producer : Sudhan Sundaram, Jagadish Palanisamy
Associate Producer : Kamal Nayan
Director Of Photography : Dinesh Purushothaman
Music Composer : B Ajaneesh Loknath
Lyrics : Kaviperarasu Vairamuthu
Editor : Philomin Raj
Production Designer : V. Selvakumar
Stunt Director : Anl Arasu  
Dialogues : Nithilan Saminathan, Raam Murali
Executive Producer : A. Kumar
Sound Design : Arun S Mani (Oli sound labs)
Dubbing Engineer : N.Venkatapaari D.F.T
Sound Mixing : M.R Rajakrishnan (R.K Studios)
Costume Designer : Dinesh Manoharan
Make Up Artist : AR Abdul Razak
Costumer : S. Palani
Colorist : Suresh Ravi

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