‘Maharaja’ review: Vijay Sethupathi excels in this nail-biting suspense thriller

Contrary to expectations, Vijay Sethupathi’s 50th film isn’t about a larger-than-life hero, but the story of a simple man in the quest to retrieve his stolen ‘Lakshmi’. The mystery the trailer created over who or what ‘Lakshmi’ is revealed fifteen minutes into the movie.

Nithilan Swaminathan’s ‘Maharaja’ is a thriller packed with action and humour. The meticulous script takes the viewers through the past and present of the main characters. At no point does the movie lag or confuse. The story moves in a nonlinear manner, narrating different stories at the same time. The entire plot falls beautifully together, making a strong connection by the end of the first half.

Maharaja, played by Vijay Sethupathi, is a man whose life revolves around his daughter. Once again, the actor has done a fine job of bringing out the complexity of the character. Mamta Mohandas’s role as a physical education teacher was limited and didn’t require much acting or screen presence. Anurag Kashyap delivers well as the villain, creating dread with his presence. While well-acted, the character suffers due to awkward lip-syncing. All the supporting cast too have come up with decent performances.

Philomin Raj’s editing deserves high praise as he navigates the non-linear narrative, ensuring clarity even with the jumping timelines. The score by Lokanath effectively heightens tension and keeps the audience engaged.

Just like his directorial debut, Kurungu Bommai, Maharaja too excels in narration as Swaminathan creates a gripping thriller interweaving the past and present. ‘Maharaja’ doesn’t fail to make one laugh, even during tense scenes.

Despite the brilliant and intriguing narration, the movie falls short in its execution, as the plots and twists are too convenient. Maharaja’s Bahubali-like arm strength, the unmanageable truck, or a snake feel forced and lack logic, weakening the movie’s believability. These features echo a pattern very similar to that of Kurangu Bommai.

The climax was not on par with the rest of the movie, as it was overly dramatised to underscore a point that was already conveyed. The theme is a cliche in Tamil cinema and explores an already saturated topic. Despite these flaws, the meticulously crafted script, gripping twists, with good acting keep the viewers intrigued.

Vijay Sethupathi’s Maharaja is a good watch if you are in the mood for nail-biting suspense thriller packed with action.

Movie: Maharaja

Director: Nithilan Swaminathan

Cast: Vijay Sethupathi, Anurag Kashyap, Mamta Mohandas, Abhirami

Duration: 142 minutes