Mahaan Review - Vikram steals the show in this breaking bad crime saga
The biggest flaw Mahaan has is its pacing, it tends to take its time setting up subplots that don't always have a payoff. The movie could have benefited from a tighter script, despite this fact the movie is very enjoyable.
Karthik Subbaraj's last movie Jagame Thandhiram starring Dhanush in the lead also dealt with similar themes but despite some solid performances was ultimately a disaster but he seems to be back in form with Mahaan.
While gangster movies like this often follow certain cliches and Mahaan does this as well however here the director has taken time to make those more three dimensional.
Mahaan follows the story of Gandhi Mahaan and shows him in different era's of his life, Mahaan who's has a strict father who brought him up with Gandhian values and despite his own rebellious nature follows in his father's footsteps cut to when he is in his forties married and with a son and teacher he feels dissatisfied with his life.
However, things a certain event in his life turns his life upside down and he is forced to forge a new life for himself and forsake his father's legacy.
The plot of the movie has a lot of similarities with the show Breaking Bad but Karthik Subbaraj has managed to take this premise and make something unique and very Indian.
Vikram is amazing in this movie and it has been a while that I have seen him have so much fun with a role. This feels like a comeback for the actor, the way he switches from a mild-mannered college professor to a father dealing with the consequences of his past reminds you why he is considered to be one of the best actors in the country.
There is a sequence towards the end of the movie between the two actors and it's an emotionally charged exchange between two fathers both understanding each other's pain but unable to do anything about it. It has to be one of the most well-written and powerful performances between two actors I have seen in a long while.
Dhruv Vikram does a good job playing Gandhi Mahaan's estranged son who is out for revenge against his father though at times it would have been better he would tone down the whole menacing villain act and make it more subtle.
From a technical standpoint, the movie has some great editing and cinematography and the songs by Santhosh Narayanan work well with the movie and don't feel like filler content.
Had the first half of the movie which focused on Mahaan's rise to power been better paced the movie would be a lot more enjoyable to watch.
Mahaan does something very interesting with its premise and deals with how too much idealism and belief in other people's vision for a better world tends to make people less human and unkind and how in the long run that tends to do more harm than good.