After delivering a cult hit in Thani Oruvan, Jayam Ravi and Arvind Swamy return for another cat and mouse game, which takes a mystical turn in Bogan. Lakshman is the director this time, while Hansika Motwani plays the female lead. Bogan's release date has been getting deferred quite for some time, but it's finally here. The question to ask is, whether Bogan can match up to Thani Oruvan. Let the below review answer that for you...
What's it about
Vikram (Jayam Ravi) is an honest and intelligent cop who finds love in Mahalakshmi (Hansika Motwani). The first half hour dedicates to this romance, but things stir up with the entry of Adithya (Arvind Swamy), a debonair playboy and a ruthless thief. However his modus operandi is unearthly - he can swap souls with anyone, making the other person do the dirty deed before swapping back, therefore making it highly impossible to catch him. When Vikram's father becomes one of Adithya's victims, Vikram decides to go after the real culprit. First he becomes friends with Adithya and fools him into a trap. However, Adithya, using his mystic powers, make Vikram's colleague kill another officer, before he swaps souls with Vikram himself and traps him in jail. Now the real Vikram has to find ways to stop Adithya from wrecking both his personal and professional life, and make him return to his body.
Lakshman's last movie, Romeo Juliet, was a total disaster both critically and commercially, but he somewhat manages to redeem himself with this engaging thriller. Sure, the concept is silly on paper and is nothing new, as we have seen similar ideas in Suriya's 7am Arivu, John Travolta's Face/Off, Denzel Washington's Fallen etc. But the packaging, the writing (to some extent) and the terrific performances of the lead stars make Bogan a riveting watch. Bogan is a really good-looking product, more specifically with the way the songs are picturised. The middle portions will keep you tethered to your seat, especially if the frame has both Arvind Swamy and Jayam Ravi in it. The songs have chartbuster quality in them, be it the massy Damaalu Dumeelu, the romantic Senthoora and the sultry Vaarai Vaarai. The action scenes are well-choreographed.
But Bogan totally belongs to its lead stars, Arvind Swamy and Jayam Ravi. Arvind Swamy continues his top form in his comeback with another scene-stealing performance. Be it his swagger or his steely menace, he is just top notch. Even in the second half when he is playing straight, he manages to make the viewer empathetic to his plight. After getting overshadowed by his senior co-star in their last movie together, Jayam Ravi gets his chance to show his acting prowess and he delivers. He gets a mass intro and plays the honest cop and lover with aplomb in the pre-interval scenes. But it is during the post-interval scenes where Jayam Ravi gets to show his range, when his character turns grey. The dark humour he brings to his act is worth an applause, and it is a treat to watch these two actors play a game of one-upmanship with each other as to who gets to chew the scene better. In his short (and under-written) role, Nasser is first-rate as always.
Bogan has a very average start and a disappointing climax. After Arvind Swamy makes his entry that's straight out of a deranged male fantasy, the first half an hour of the movie then focuses on Vikram and Mahalaxmi's love story which is just passable to say the least. It's only when Adithya re-enters the scene that things brighten up. For a movie that fantastically sets up the cat and mouse game between the leads and makes some sense of the the mysticism involved, the writers had little clue as to how to make an innovative conclusions and ends up writing just another generic action finale with a sillier cliffhanger. Some trimming in the runtime could have made Bogan a much more polished product, especially in these portions. And like most of Tamil blockbusters, Bogan treats its women either as sex objects or disposable characters. Hansika Motwani oozes a lot of sex appeal, especially in the songs, but she doesn't get much to do otherwise and her dubbing is awful. Can someone just get a more mature voice for her next time? The kid has grown up for God's sake! Her performance in the climax is unintentionally hilarious. The rest of the women characters either exist to serve food to the hero and cry buckets, or remain to be leered by the leads. A couple of scenes don't make sense, like why the police would held a party for the hero, just when his colleague was brutally murdered. Or what the heck was Mahalakshmi doing at the police HQ near the climax.
What to do
Bogan may lack the brilliance and tautness of Jayam Ravi and Arvind Swamy's previous collaboration, Thani Oruvan, but it is still a very entertaining watch. Credit surely goes to both the lead actors, as even when the writing falters, they manage to make proceedings super interesting with their terrific performances. Bogan is definitely a recommended watch just for these two.
3.5 out of 5
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