Story: A Muslim man, who is stuck in a time loop, has to stop a political rally from taking place in order to save the state’s chief minister and prevent religious violence.

Review: Maanaadu is a time-loop political film written and directed by Venkat Prabhu and produced by Suresh Kamatchi under the banner V House Productions. It has Silambarasan TR, SJ Suryah and Kalyani Priyadarshan in the lead roles, while SA Chandrasekhar, YG Mahendran, Premgi, Karunakaran and others play crucial supporting roles. 

Silambarasan plays the role of Abdul Khaaliq, a common man who is on his way to help Premgi elope with his girlfriend. He gets into a time loop involving the Chief Minister and ACP Dhanushkodi (played by SJ Suryah), and this results in the same day of his life repeating again and again whenever he dies. He discovers that his objective in life is to save the Chief Minister’s life. The plot broadly deals with the cause of this time loop and what Abdul Khaaliq does to save the Chief Minister and get out of the loop.

It is a point of great confusion as to where to begin this review. Should it start with STR’s return to top form, or should it start with Venkat Prabhu getting back his classic touch, or should it start with Yuvan’s scintillating background score or Praveen KL’s magic on the edit? Usual STR films have him breaking the fourth wall often, and has references to his previous films. Here, the man has let go of all his insecurities and we see him in a brand new avatar, who is familiar yet unique at the same time. 

He is solely dependent on his acting skills and it’s such a delight to watch him on screen. On the other hand, SJ Suryah comes up with a cracker of a performance that makes him look menacing and funny. Only someone like Venkat Prabhu can pull this off, because if it was another film, his role would have been reduced to a comic one. Here as much as you laugh at him, you take him seriously. Among the other supporting roles, Kalyani Priyadarshan, Karunakaran and Premgi chip in with useful contributions. 

It is refreshing to see Venkat Prabhu handle such a complicated script in his own inimitable style. Most of his dialogues evoke laughter and would definitely end up being memorable. The concept of time loop is also handled in a way that is easy for anyone to understand. Instead of choosing a high end scientific reason, Venkat Prabhu creates his own universe with its own logic and that’s where the film’s entire strength lies. This also gives him the power to do anything and he makes full use of it. 

It is very easy to get bored by watching the same things happen on screen but editor Praveen KL’s work on the edit table makes Maanaadu far more engaging than what it should have been. His landmark 100’th movie can’t get better with this amazing cuts. His work in the first half stands out and deserves high praise. Among other technical stuff, the cinematography gives the film what it needs. Another backbone of the film is Yuvan Shankar Raja’s background score. One cannot stop humming the theme music of the film even after exiting the theatre, and that’s how effective the score is. 

The film has a tagline – A Venkat Prabhu Politics and this is not a film that has superficial politics. It speaks about the discrimination that muslims face inside India, and also questions the tag of terrorists that surround the community. Venkat Prabhu and STR don’t hold back anything and boldly question the stereotype which deserves praise considering the current political situation in the country. 

Overall Maanaadu is a well made political film that wants you to take its politics seriously, while justifying the humour and science fiction tag. During an event before the film’s release, SJ Suryah had said Diwali is only on the day Maanaadu releases. Well, Happy Diwali it is, from Venkat Prabhu, STR and team, wishing you by lighting a 10000 wala cracker called Maanaadu.