Originally appeared in Film Companion.
When you have a filmmaker as passionate about cinema as Vetri Maaran, even three seconds from a feature-length film of his can provide more room for reading than entire films that celebrate mediocrity. Asuran (streaming on Amazon Prime Video) is far from a perfect film, but quite important in terms of social criticism and how seamlessly the narrative blends commentary and craft.
We often hear viewers say, “It’s an average film, but has an important message”. For instance, films such as Raatchasi, Hero and Samuthirakani’s entire directorial filmography are modern-examples of message-over-craft. Not every important film can be great on cinematic terms, but with Asuran, Vetri Maaran surmounts this task with ease, crafting a film that’s important but which also scores high on cinematic merit.
Here are three shots from Asuran that elucidate how a filmmaker can masterfully set up a frame to talk in-depth about characters and narrative, while also using it to serve the message.
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