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Maddy vs Baddies

“Evano Oruvan”, Madhavan’s best performance yet, pits the actor against an inefficient system

PHOTO: G. VENKET RAM

Addressing issues Madhavan

Three minutes into the film, he knew he wanted Nishikant Kamat’s Dombivli Fast to be part of his repertoire. When you watch Evano Oruvan, you understand.

Evano Oruvan’s protagonist Sridhar Vasudevan has Madhavan possessed.

Incidentally, the film marks the actor’s entry into production.

What Madhavan would feel shy of admitting is that Evano Oruvan is his best performance, up there with Anbe Sivam but that’s maybe because he could feel the rage against the system simmering in him somewhere.

Says Madhavan: “It was my friend Arvind who suggested slyly that I check it out. It’s a film about a guy who loses it over two rupees. I have to give full credit to Abbas Mustan, Nishikant Kamat... What they told me was: films like Mozhi, Chennai 28 and Paruthiveeran, you can’t expect them to be hits anywhere else in the country. The ability of the public to accept a film and make it their own is far stronger and larger in Tamil Nadu than in the rest of India.”

Giant leap

Still, it was a giant leap for star-kind to do an all-out anti-thesis to the feel-good action genre about a super hero/vigilante/protector-film, a staple of Tamil movies. Evano Oruvan is disturbing, unpleasant and hits you at the gut.

“The point is we have let society come to this. The hero of the film is the police officer, Vetrimaran (played by Seeman). Sridhar Vasudevan (the common man who loses it) is his conscience. It’s very easy for Vetrimaran to have taken the right steps and say, “No, this guy is innocent, why should I do this.”

He feels all the angst, he feels all the anger, he knows what he’s doing is not according to the dharmas of the land but he still disguises that under his job and does it. He conforms to the system, society and that’s the easy thing to do.”

Evano Oruvan is essentially about the common man’s awakening.

“On an everyday basis, it’s far easy to kill a little bit of your conscience and move away. It’s so easy to tell yourself that the guy lying on the side of the road is actually drunk and deserves to be lying there than stop the car and find out if he’s had an epilepsy or a heart attack. By moving away, you are taking away what is basically human about you. The film is about how long are you going to do that?”

In Evano Oruvan, the hero is not a product of law-and-order failure in the country. It’s about system failure.

“It is so naive and stupid to point out the finger and say the policeman is corrupt. (Bleep) You know what his salary is?”

At that point, you know Madhavan’s rage is real.

Time to shut up and let him let it all out.

“You are paying a police officer who stands in the sun and rain and puts his life at stake to protect you for 6,000 bucks. My assistant makes 30,000 bucks. That is the root of the thing. Think about it…

What is the cost of real estate in Chennai today? The bottomline is we still have law and order, we still are not afraid to step out alone in the night.”

Rang De Basanti was also about the awakening. But is the gun the answer?

At least, not according to Evano Oruvan.

“What Rang De Basanti didn’t tell you was that the sword and the cricket bat are not the way to do it. Don’t expect to go out tomorrow and say I’ll make a change and expect that change to happen right now. We’re talking about 50 years of decay. So don’t think you are going to spray gimmicks and everything’s going be smelling of daffodils tomorrow, because it’s not. You are partly responsible for the decay, you, your parents…”

SUDHISH KAMATH

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