Mahaveeryar is absurdist fiction, a satirical time travel flick, a fantasy courtroom period drama and in fact a mix of all. Basically, if you try to slot the film under a particular category, you might miserably fail because Abrid Shine breaks every rule possible in this genre-bending picture to visualize his whims and fancies from paper to big screens.
Producer and actor of Mahaveeryar, Nivin Pauly, is the common point between the two worlds of the film, one from contemporary times and the other from the 18th century.
The story revolves around a godman Apoornananthan (Nivin Pauly) who defends himself in a case where he is charged with robbing a temple idol. Through his defence, he draws parallels to another case involving a King (Lal) with a rare illness- persistent hiccups.
The film gives a satirical take on societal bias, prejudice, abuse of power and how justice, many times, is rendered merely based on facts and numbers over emotions.
Most of the dark humour in the first half works, ably supported by the exceptional performances from Siddique, who plays a judge and Nivin Pauly who reigns as a master of time, both past and present.
One of the most hilarious sequences in the film, where a woman receives her alimony from her ex-husband in one rupee coins, will generate guilty laughs as it weaves classism and sexism in perfect proportions.
Shanvi Srivastava’s character touches upon the Stockholm syndrome and the way she is treated in the film brings the brutal reality to the forefront, of how, even when a woman has an opportunity to time-travel to the millennium, she still lands up in a misogynistic world.
It also makes one wonder, ‘Time certainly changes but a woman’s plight never does’. Though these intentions are gold, the execution of the scene is disturbing with Shanvi's character disrobed in the middle of the court. Could the director have sold the same point without such graphic visuals? I truly believe, yes.
However, the set design, music, and photography are on point. Chandru Selvaraj’s cinematography is seamless in blending the color schemes of both the timelines, perfectly capturing the royal looks from the past and natural visuals in the present.
Remember reading 'research papers' from 'WhatsApp Forwards University', on how cow urine could cure COVID-19? Watch the film and I think you will agree that Abrid Shine read that after a heavy lunch on a trippy Sunday afternoon, for he seems to have used that as a knot, extrapolating the plot with his wild dreams, weird characters and unimaginable scenarios. And the result is Mahaveeryar.
The film is running in cinemas now.