It’s astonishing how much the oeuvre of the likes of Alfred Hitchcock inspires moviemakers even during these times of technological boom. Although Muran is not the scene to scene adaptation of Hitchcock’s 1951 film Strangers on a Train, it takes the basic plot line and expunges the western touch out of it, peppering it with characters and events relevant to our lives. Setting apart the thought about Tamil movies being increasingly inspired by other sources, Muran does what it sets out to do.
It’s true the movie will ruin the fun for you if you have already watched Strangers on a Train but Cheran and Prasanna make it up for that. They deliver nothing less of a power-packed performance, Cheran with his restrained nuances and Prasanna with his brash and arrogant performance, reminiscent of his Anjaade days. Even better that that, we must say.
For late comers, Muran’s story is about two strangers meeting in absolutely strange circumstances by sheer coincidence. Their lives are far from cheery and while one wants to collaborate with the other in a sinister plan to erase unhappiness out of their lives, the other is reluctant. But the reluctant one gets sucked into the whirlpool of events anyway that eventually tosses and turns his life, threatening to shatter its fragility.
Cheran plays the often reticent Nanda, who is a struggling musician who aspires to get into movies. At this point, we really can’t say whether Cheran was better as a director or as an actor. He seems to know how it all works and here he delivers a performance so powerful, yet agile. The scenes where Prasanna challenges his girth to steal mangoes from a farm and how he loses it after having been pushed to a corner (figuratively), rather reluctantly, shows how well Cheran can handle his characters onscreen. How Cheran handles his abusive relationship and extramarital love life that brings a morsel of peace to his life is proof of the talented actor in him.
Prasanna is a different story altogether. Director Rajan Madhav has completely exploited his potential, harnessing his ability to act out the menacing Arjun. What with his refurbished body language, Prasanna pulls it off convincingly as a spoilt brat of a millionaire father who is on a disturbing mission to eliminate his father. He adds up new dimensions to his acting profile, making it all believable. His attempts to make Cheran fall in line with his plans make him loathsome for us and that’s the success of his character.
Nikita, Haripriya and Jayaprakash slide in and out of the movie smoothly with their well written characters. While adapting the screenplay, there are some obvious clichés the script seems to have acquired. Like Prasanna’s story about his girlfriend committing suicide since she was raped by his father. Although most of the loopholes are sealed, the movie will get predictable for diehard followers of film noirs. It’s not too difficult to read the clues.
It’s hard to judge Rajjan Madhav’s direction because this is after all not his original movie. But given his script writing ability transposing the original, he has done a good job of it. Padmesh’s cinematography manages to give an edge to the film’s look by making it look menacing. One song gets your attention in Sajjan Madhav’s music but the background score is sufficient for the pace of the movie.
Madhav has shown a nice little directorial touch, as it were, during the beginning and climax of the movie. Despite not being an original thriller, Muran will catch your fancy during its running time. It’s well made and neatly acted out by its lead actors. If you are a purist, rather than bickering about the lack of originality, just appreciate the fact that Hitchcock remains an eternal source of inspiration for our directors. You’ll be fine!
Verdict: A thriller well told!