Ashok Veerappan presents a suspenseful political thriller
Cast: Joju George, Vaibhav Reddy, Anagha
Director: Ashok Veerappan
Ashok Veerappan’s first feature film, Buffoon, is appropriately named in more ways than one. Its main character, Kumaran (Vaibhav), is an aspiring street play artist who is renowned for adopting a variety of personas designed to elicit amusement from his audience. Due to his severe lack of confidence in his capacity to provide for himself, he has decided to leave his current occupation and look for work in a foreign country.
But then things start going wrong for him in a number of different ways; he becomes a victim in many different ways over the course of a few days, and he has to escape. He reaches a turning point in his life when he recognizes that his greed has turned him into an idiot.
Kumaran, having given up street performing, decided to become a driver. Little did he realize that this choice would lead him straight into hot water. Together with his buddy Muthaiya (Anthakudi Ilayaraja), he discovers that Muthaiya’s (the driver) car is being used to smuggle narcotics.
The police, led by Haridas (Tamizh), find out about the plot via confidential sources and arrest Kumaran and Muthaiya. Both are brought before the Magistrate despite their protestations of innocence in the drug trade. There follows the duo’s indirect involvement in a power struggle between a handful of politicians and thugs. Have they had a chance to clear their names?
The way a limited narrative revolving around a middle-class youth is extended to encompass drug trafficking, corrupt politicians, and a terrible tie between police and thugs is commendable. The director has some success in keeping viewers engaged.
Vaibhav’s and Tamizh’s strong acting provides the substantial backbone for the story’s more interesting sections. After a promising start because of the exciting cat-and-mouse game between the protagonist and the faithful officer, the movie eventually loses its momentum due to a number of plot twists. The former’s part is a nice change of pace from his often comedic personas.
Although Anagha’s character is well-written, the romance subplot between Vaibhav and her doesn’t go anywhere. While Naren and Munnar Ramesh provide solid performances, Joju George’s intriguing role is underdeveloped. Both the soundtrack by Santhosh Narayanan and the fight choreography by Vicky Nandagopal and Dinesh Subbarayan are impressive.
The authentically filmed stunt sequences are a big part of what keeps audiences enthralled, and they help to create the necessary suspense in a few key scenes. There are a few social and political topics addressed in the film, notably the Sri Lankan refugee crisis, but none of them are given the attention they deserve. There are some efforts to poke fun at the political climate of the nation today, but they fall flat on the screen.
Verdict: Buffoon has some interesting ideas, but only a few of them have been brought in an engaging manner on screen. A few earnest performances, decent twists, and riveting action choreography make this an okayish entertainer.