Cast: Sasikumar, Nandita Shweta, Vasumithra, Sreejith Ravi, Avyga
Asuravadham means ‘killing the demon’ in mythology and here it denotes ‘good triumphs over evil’. That’s the crux of Sasikumar’s Asuravadham, which is a well-made hard-hitting revenge saga. It’s an ordinary story elevated multiple times with director Marudhu's extraordinary screenplay and filmmaking style.
Also read: I want to try experimental roles: Sasikumar
The movie opens leisurely at a semi-rural place in Kodikanal where Samayan (Vasumithra) gets frequent calls from an unknown number. The call gets cut just in one ring, despite Samayan’s attempts to pick it up. Eventually, the caller does connect but not without a dreadful message: that he’s to be murdered in about a week.
Samayan lives alone after fighting with his wife Kasthuri (Sheela Rajkumar) and has a weakness for women. When a disturbed Samayan reaches his shop and sits in the cash counter, he sees a stranger staring at him. And thus forms the intro to Sasikumar who plays Saravanan. The same night Samayan discovers a huge snake on his bed. Terrorized, he takes the help of his friend Alex (Namo Narayanan) who claims to be the local rowdy. The next day, we see Saravanan following Samayan wherever he goes, in a bid to smash his dreams and his life. Samayan is at a loss as to why the stranger wants to kill him. He escapes and takes refuge with the local inspector Muthukalai (Sreejith Ravi) and bribes him with money. Now, the inspector hatches a plan along with a group of thugs to catch Saravanan. A superbly choreographed lengthy action block with sickles and revolvers open up at a corridor of a local hotel where Saravanan takes on his enemies with his clever moves. Regardless, he is still taken captive by the inspector and is moved to an unknown location. There’s hardly any dialogue for Saravanan and the only line yelled repeatedly by Samayan throughout the first half is ‘Yaaraa Nee?’ (Who are you?)
With a rather mercurial plot, the director moves it forward by revealing Saravanan’s back-story. Here, he is a doting father to little Pavithra (Avyga) and a caring husband to Maha (Nandita). Saravanan works in a construction company in Qatar and comes home once in a while to his native Kodai. Samayan's weakness flairs up when he comes across young Pavithra at his shop and she goes missing. Maha becomes mentally deranged, as a result, forcing Saravanan to return back. And thus the story of retaliation begins.
Kudos to director Marudhu for handling an intense subject with lot of conviction and clarity! Had he wanted, he could have added routine duets, few silly comedies or even an item number despite the presence of a hooker in the midst (played by item girl Risha).
Sasikumar has minimal dialogues, but he oozes terror with his body language, powerful eyes and high-octane action. Writer-turned-actor Vasumithra is equally brilliant as an intimidating villain. Nandita, in a brief role, impresses in her intro scene. All others are adequate. Besides Sasikumar, there are three more heroes - cinematographer Kathir, composer Govind and action choreographer Dhilip Subbarayan. Kathir’s shot division, alluring frames and lighting, especially the night effect scenes, Govind’s BGM, which builds up the necessary tension for a suspense thriller, and Dhilip’s different take on raw actions elevate the film. The blood and gore could have been toned down a bit. But such a treatment is required for a serious film like this. And the flashback is also a bit predictable. Nevertheless, a gripping revenge thriller that’s worth a watch especially if you are a fan of raw action.