• Sandeep Chandrasekar

Mafia Movie Review

After the roaring success of Dhuruvangal Pathinaru, Karthick Naren returns to direct Mafia, a crime drama starring Arun Vijay, Prasanna and Priya Bhavani Shankar in the lead roles. The film’s music is composed by Jakes Bejoy, who was the music director of Dhuruvangal Pathinaru too.

The film, as the title suggests, is a crime drama with its backdrop set in the world of drugs. The crux of the film goes as follows. Aryan (Arun Vijay) is a Narcotics Control Bureau Officer who is hell bent on destroying the drug mafia run by Diwakar (Prasanna). This might seem like a regular ol’ cat and mouse chase and it is nothing more than that. Even the climax paves the way for another round of the same.

Mafia relies on technical excellence to elevate the movie. The director, instead of sticking to his roots, tried to go for the colourful leaves and flowers. The writing is pretty lacklustre, for example, deaths in the film fail to bring any emotions even from the characters in the film. It plays out like a standard drama where the hero’s parents are kidnapped by the villain and the hero is coming to their rescue in the end.

The film has in store two main songs, one for Arun Vijay and one for Prasanna. It acts as a medium to portray the characters of the two leads and doesn’t fuel the narration in any way.

Arun Vijay is given a macho look and the director focuses disproportionately on giving him a mass appeal. Too much of anything is poison. Similarly, the slow motion shots prove to be an eyesore in the end. The colleagues of Aryan including Sathya played by Priya Bhavani Shankar have no depth in their characters and they lack individuality in their judgement. Prasanna has the Thiruttupayale look and he’s perfectly cast for the role. He reminds me of Arvind Swami in Thani Oruvan, where the antagonist is a brilliant, well respected man in society, but engages in organised crime on the other side.

The film’s pace is not steady as it's slow for most of the part with a few exceptions such as the interval block and the climax. Despite this, the film has no unwanted lag anywhere. The first scene in the film connects with the climax but it serves no purpose apart form that. The interval block is one of the best scenes in the film as it is fast paced, tightly edited with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 playing in the background. I feel any Symphony accentuates the mood of the scene and makes the whole shot look more poetic. This was the case in Mysskin’s Psycho too. The film’s title card also appears only at this juncture.

Where the film really shines is in the sound mixing department. Every frame’s sound design is engineered to perfection which is an incredible experience in the theatre. Editing is almost flawless in the film and the cinematography goes hand in hand with it.

There’s an action sequence in a hotel towards the end where it plays out like a 2D video game running at 60 frames per second; it felt quite refreshing after all those slo mo shots. There ‘appears' to be a big twist in the end which actually felt like a checklist; para jumping? Yes; sword wielding? Yes; smoking in the balcony of a high rise building ? Yes. And it continues.

As an accountancy student, I can’t help but see the connection between the movie and an accounting principle (Substance over Form). In the end Karthick Naren fails to recreate the magic of D16 and delivers a neatly presented film which excels technically but relies on a very narrow plot. Mafia has form but little to no substance as it's merely sets out the scope of the Mafia franchise.

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