For a film with such a promising first half, Maattrraan is a big disappointment. Despite being stuffed with content, the film is let down by a relentlessly overlong second act and a downright awful climax.
Suriya plays Akhilan and Vimalan, conjoined twins born to a scientist/genetic engineer Father who runs a multi-million dollar health drink company. Vimalan is the ideological son who reads works of Bharathiyaar and Marx, and talks about labour injustice. Akhilan, on the other hand, drinks, flirts and pisses in flower pots. The twins are inseparable as they are joint by the waist and share a heart, which beats for Anjali (Kajal Aggarwal). The quick success of Energion baffles the industry players and everyone is desperate to find out the secret ingredient, no matter what it takes. Trouble arrives when the twins find themselves in the midst of this.
The first act is largely entertaining. The first fight happens in an amusement park and takes place very deep into the movie. The sight of two conjoined-twins fighting off a dozen goons, clubbed with the sense of impending peril, made that one of the best sequences in the film. By that point, you root for them so much that every punch resonates emotionally. I was surprised by how moved I was around the halfway mark. I must confess I got teary eyed at one particular moment and that has almost never happened watching a Tamil film.
The film gets a few things right by sticking to a linear narrative structure, but the second half is a big chore, no matter how you look at it. There's not an ounce of suspense and everything that you see here doesn't matter at all. It becomes very evident how things are eventually going to pan out, but we are made to sit through a very long, pointless exposition. It starts taking itself too seriously, talking about world-ending consequences, and loses the good impression it managed to create. The film spends a good 90 minutes trying to fit a missing piece in the puzzle when you already see the bigger picture bright and clear.
I admired how the film was working very well within the framework of its small scale. Then out of nowhere, the crew decides to pack its bags and go to some Soviet country, because why not. One thing filmmakers don't seem to get is how audience find it hard to believe that lives of millions are in the hands of the protagonist. The direction and production value aside, Indian actors have to try harder to break the mold and appear convincingly important and capable in an international milieu. The higher the stakes, the harder it gets to pull it off. The same happened with Dasavatharam, and most recently with Thaandavam. Due to this, the entire episode taking place in Ukvania (!), in spite of being logically sound, hangs like a stump to the rest of the film. Also, they lifted a plot element from the episode titled 'A Scandal in Belgravia' of Sherlock.
The last song in the film, which doesn't even sound good to be honest, comes at a point where the movie's pace has sagged to its slowest and a relatively important character has died. In spite of mocking himself as a director who places a musical number right after the death of a prominent character, it is evident from this that K.V. Anand hasn't really learnt much. One more thing that bugged me was how Akhilan becomes a Judge Dredd like character, killing people off remorselessly. Don't tell me he is taking out the trash, 'cause he's not.
The final scene left much to be desired, but performance-wise, Sachin Khedekar stood out as the twin's father. Suriya has clearly put in a lot of effort and is very earnest. The person who dubbed for Kajal Aggarwal deserves a special mention, though her translations towards the end may get on your nerves. On the whole, Maattrraan is a wasted opportunity, failing to capitalise on its entertaining first act.view less