Adanga Maru

Cast: Jayam Ravi, Raashi Khanna, Sampath, Azhagam Perumal, Munishkanth
Director: Karthik Thangavel

What’s the similarity between Honest Raj, Kaakha Kaakha, Sathriyan, Saamy and Theri? Apart from being cop films, they’re also stories of a man who does what he’s paid for only to get his near and dear ones killed as repercussions. Jayam Ravi starrer Adanga Maru too is a film etched out of the same template and considering we know how the film is going to wrap up, it’s the treatment that the screenplay gets which makes Adanga Maru an intriguing watch.
Once again, apart from the obvious reason that Jayam Ravi dons the khaki in both the films, Adanga Maru also would remind you of Thani Oruvan. For starters, he’s dishing out justice in style, under disguise. In one scene, he rolls up the window of his car trapping the head of a minister’s son. And that’s one of the many instances shown to prove how Subash (Jayam Ravi) would go to any lengths to serve that justice. In one revealing exchange, the villain tells him that he’s one man and can’t make a difference. Subash replies, “Naan thani oruthan thaan, aana public.” From the looks of it, the Thani Oruvan references are here to stay for a while, much like Vijay’s ‘I am waiting‘ line.
Though not new, Adanga Maru speaks in detail about red-tapism and the restrictions under which a cop has to work. “Obey the order,” reminds a senior sub-inspector (a brilliantly casted Azhagam Perumal) to Subash in order to explain how a policeman is never allowed to think and work according to his own conscience. Then there are the usual corporate honchos, politicians and rich brats who are dumb enough to make videos out of the crimes they do and have it in their own cellphones. Remember the sequence in Theri where a rapist is left to hang from the bridge? Stretch that storyline into a feature film and that’s what Adanga Maru is.
But considering the nifty touches debutant director Karthik Thangavel has added to the script, it’s hard to brush the film under the carpet as another cop revenge saga. There are some brilliantly written bits, such as the one where Subash finds a victim’s home address from going thru her phone’s Amazon app. While films usually denote the use of drugs with some white powder, credit cards and rolled up rupee notes, Adanga Maru sheds light on disturbing trends such as hotboxing where people smoke up inside a closed environment like a car to maximise the effect of the drugs.
Speaking of the female lead, there are films where the story is weaved around the heroine and in the other end of the spectrum, there are films where they don’t add much to the happenings of the story. Past that spectrum is films where removing the female lead won’t affect the film at all, except saving a few minutes spent in the name of a song, and Adanga Maru’s Anita (Raashi Khanna) falls perfectly in this category. Considering Subash has Anita’s contact saved as alcohol on his phone because he’s ‘addicted’ to her, it feels like the director keeps her away from the frame as a sort of detoxification.
The cinematic liberties Adanga Maru takes are also not easy to digest. For a cop who also stops bikes and cars to check the papers at night, Subash never wears a helmet as he zooms through the city in his bike. When even his higher officials wear the uniform at work, baring the first and last scene, Subash is always in mufti. The film also a good antagonist, something which Thani Oruvan nailed. What we’re left here are some well-dressed youngsters and their fathers who are mostly Gautham Menon’s usual father characters (Trisha’s father in VTV – Babu Antony and Simbu’s father in AYM – Matthew Varghese).
Closer to the climax, in a crucial scene where a video game decides a life and death issue, we see simple words such as players and viewers spelt as ‘palyers’ and ‘viwers’. Though it looks too good to be a mistake, why it was placed so is anybody’s guess. Despite throwing all technical jargons in the name of crash courses Subash has done as the reason for the insanely brilliant ploys, it’s hard to believe the likelihood of everything happening perfectly — even when Subash is stuck in an interrogation room with nil control on what’s happening outside, in the latter half. But thanks to the fast-paced screenplay, we rarely get time to catch our breath, let alone dig deep into such loopholes.
The debutant director has penned a story highlighting the inabilities of our judicial system, or rather of those sworn to protect them, to prevent crimes against women and despite the flaws, he has come up with a satisfactory product that’s carried well by Jayam Ravi’s broad shoulders.
My rating: 3/5

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