The movie begins with Veera, the hero, enjoying a playful moment with pigs in his backyard. Meanwhile, the villain, Rathinavel, is depicted petting his hunting dogs before a race. The local MLA, who is also the hero’s father, is shown receiving temple honours. These opening scenes, without delving into lengthy character definitions or backstories, provide a clear indication of what the next three hours hold for viewers familiar with contemporary Kollywood movies exploring caste oppression. Director Mari Selvaraj deserves credit for his steadfast focus on this important issue. However, having previously delivered two films that were fresh, honest and brilliant, the repetitive nature of the theme without offering anything new, especially when coupled with a predictable storyline, becomes wearisome. As a result, mangoidiots rates Maamannan (2023) with a “Raw” rating, leaving us yearning for a much better film than this was.
Compared to his previous films and common in Tamil cinema, the hero Udhayanidhi Stalin did not hog the entire limelight, instead, the focus was on the story of an oppressed caste person, a two-term MLA. Udhayanidhi has delivered an acceptable performance. The veteran Vadivelu and Keerthy Suresh with her return to Tamil cinema truly steal the show. Both actors effortlessly display their natural talent, with Vadivelu breathing life into a measured and mature character, much to the audience’s delight. However, considering Fahadh Faasil‘s remarkable performances in recent films such as Pushpa and others, his portrayal as the main villain falls somewhat short of showcasing his full capabilities. On a positive note, the character of the chief minister is depicted as a force for good, adding a bit of freshness to the overall narrative. The movie also boasts a pleasing soundtrack, with the song “Nenjame Nenjame” sung by Vijay Yesudas and Shakthisree Gopalan, and composed by the legendary A R Rahman, leaving a lasting impression.
The film overflows with symbolism, resulting in a tiresome experience. While certain scenes evoke strong emotional reactions, the screenplay fails to effectively elevate the portrayal of oppression and indignity from isolated incidents to a broader depiction of systematic bias against an entire community.
In conclusion, while Maamannan (2023) offers glimpses of promise with its powerful opening scenes and notable performances, it falls short of reaching the greatness achieved by Director Mari Selvaraj‘s previous films.