CV Kumar is new age Tamil cinema’s pathbreaking producer, who has made some great movies and introduced fresh new talent like Pa Ranjith, Karthik Subbaraj, Nalan Kumaraswamy, music director Santosh Narain and many others.
After giving breaks to many young aspirants, the man from Madurai is turning director with Maayavan: a sci-fi mystery crime thriller, with Nalan Kumaraswamy supporting him in the screenplay department. The film has the Kumar touch as a producer as it is technically well made with something different in content and style.
As a director Kumar continues to do exactly what he has done as a producer: to take the road less travelled.
The film begins in 2037, showing a man feeding an old guy in a dungeon sort of place. Cut to the present, Cop Kumaran (Sundeep Kishan) is chasing a petty criminal, which leads him to a slum apartment where he witnesses a brutal murder of a woman. Kumaran abandons the earlier chase and goes after the killer (Dheena) and in a bloody melee he gets injured and is hospitalised. After coming out of the hospital he gets delusions and is treated by a psychiatrist Athira (Lavanya Tripathi).
Later, when he visits the murder site of a famous actress killed by her make-up man (Mime Gopi), he gets the same symptoms of the earlier mental trauma. The evidences in the crime are similar: gory murder with blood splattered walls and a tell tale cigarette butt. There is also a lot of similarity between both the killings, which looks as though it has been done by a serial killer. Enter a self–help guru Rudran (Daniel Balaji), who has something do with the killings.
From Rudran, Kumaran gets a vital clue about a mad scientist and his ‘Project Maayavan’ — about human evolution, brain mapping and cloning.
The film explores the concept of immortality, which is topical as companies like Google are working and expecting a breakthrough on it. It starts as a crime thriller and slowly moves on to become a sci-fi thriller. The film starts to skid as it lacks the emotions of a thriller due to hazy detailing which leaves certain crucial scenes unexplained.
Though the film is 2 hours and 7 minutes, the first half moves at a slow pace, and picks up only towards the end. The love angle between the cop and psychiatrist has not been well written. The writing is not cohesive as the director wanted to keep the audiences guessing, which beyond a point becomes irritating.
The highlights are the making of the film especially the production design of the futuristic labs, camera work of Gopi Amarnath and the background score of Ghibran. Sundeep Kishan as the angry cop is riveting, while Daniel Balaji in a negative role steals the show. Jackie Shroff as the main antagonist is a bit of a letdown.
Beyond its flaws, Maayavan is a fairly engaging watch.