Karthick Naren’s Maaran, which features Dhanush in the role of a righteous investigative journalist, doesn't have much to offer. The film wants to look smart but what it ends up becoming is a largely predictable and bland thriller.
When Maaran was announced close to two years ago, the excitement was high because the project marked the first collaboration between Dhanush and Karthick Naren, who is regarded as one of the most exciting contemporary filmmakers today in Tamil cinema.
Unfortunately, you don’t want to hold on to that opinion after watching Maaran as the film neither belongs to Karthick nor Dhanush.
Quite early on, the film introduces us to Ramki’s character--a fearless journalist who goes after the truth, without ever worrying about paying the price.
Dhanush plays his son and at a very young age, he’s told by his father that in order to be a truth-seeking journalist, it is also important to be very smart.
Ramki gets killed for exposing a major scam and Dhanush grows up to fill his shoes. Dhanush plays Mathimaaran, a no-nonsense journalist and when he crosses paths with a corrupt local politician, his life takes an unexpected turn.
As much as Maaran wants to be accepted as a smart investigative thriller, the film never rises above mediocrity. Karthick Naren showcased a lot of potential with his work so far, including a segment in Netflix’s anthology Navarasa; but Maaran never feels like his film because of the weak writing.
Unlike his previous two feature-length films Dhruvangal 16 and Mafia, Maaran doesn’t even quite impress on being stylish in its presentation.
With predictable twists and an antagonist that barely makes any impact, the film is unablet to keep anyone invested. If there’s anything that works in favour of Maaran, it has to be Dhanush’s performance.
For Dhanush’s decent performance alone, Maaran is watchable. He tries his best to hold the film together. Samuthirakani, who is arguably one of the busiest character-actors in Tamil cinema today, gets wasted in a role that’s underwritten.
Nobody else, as part of the supporting cast, makes any impact with their presence. The sporadic use of English dialogue sticks out like sore thumb too.Maaran released on Disney+ Hotstar, on March 11 in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada.