Synopsis: A state topper from a lower caste goes missing after an upper caste cop picks him up for questioning. What has happened to him
Review: If you have followed the career of Suseenthiran, you will know that he alternates between a personal film and a commercial film. Maaveeran Kittu, his follow-up to the action thriller Paayum Puli, belongs in the former category, and the director, who addresses the issue of caste discrimination. It is earnest, and made with the competence that we have to expect from Suseenthiran, but lacks punch.
The plot revolves around a Kittu (Vishnu Vishal), a state topper from a lower caste, who is inspired by Chinraasu (Parthiban), whom his community looks up to as their leader, and is fighting against the caste discrimination in the village. However, Govindan, the upper caste panchayat president, and Selvaraj (Harish Uthaman), his son and the local inspector, want to maintain the status quo. They try to thwart Kittu’s ambition of becoming a collector by murdering the father (Kayal Pereira) of his college mate and girlfriend Gomathi (Sri Divya), who is supportive of their struggle despite being an upper-class man, and arresting the young man as a suspect. Kittu, who comes out on bail, stages an attack on the cop but is caught and tortured in jail. The next day, he goes missing, and his people, led by Chinraasu, stage a protest that attracts official attention. Where is Kittu?
Maaveeran Kittu is set in the late 80s, and rather than call attention to this period setting, Suseenthiran stops with providing little nods (an emotionally stirring sequence involving the village’s youngsters joining hands to save a girl happens against the backdrop of MGR’s demise). This approach lends a timeless quality to the film, and makes it relevant even today (given that caste discrimination is still a scourge in our society). He nicely sets up the conflict but it is in the characterisation that he fails. Every character is two-dimensional. Kittu, Chinraasu and co are pacifists, and it is difficult to buy that there is no firebrand in their group. The antagonists fare worse, and come across as masala movie villains. Compared to all these characters, Gomathi’s father seems more interesting, but this character is underdeveloped.
The romance between Kittu and Gomathi is sensibly handled upto a point, but in the second half, this track begins to hurt the narrative (the pre-climax duet is an absolute mood-killer). The writing, too, is wobbly in these portions, and despite the gravity of the issue, we begin to look at the events unfolding on screen from a distance when we should be completely engrossed by them. This is also why the climax doesn’t hit us as hard as it should.