Cast: Arvind Swami, Jayam Ravi, Nasser, Hansika Motwani
The first 30 minutes of Lakshman’s Bogan (Man Who Is Addicted To Worldly Pleasures) give us a colour combo of confusing cocktail. The film opens with an Arvind Swami (playing Aditya) in bed with a bevy of half-clad beauties all sprawled over him. The camera than cuts to a lungi-clad Jayam Ravi (Vikram) dancing away to ear-splitting music in what seems like a country pub. The camera does not stop there, and pans to a roadside liquor shop where Vikram, now smartly turned up as an assistant commissioner of police, comes face to face with a drunk Hansika Motwani (given of all the names, Mahalakshmi), the girl he is supposed to get married to.
The next half an hour shows us Vikram and Mahalakshmi wooing each other in a variety of picture postcard locations (the man has obviously forgiven her for her misdemeanour after she explains away her silly roadside romp), while Aditya is busy getting people into a trance and pushing them to commit one heist after another. First, it is a jewellery shop, and then a bank, whose manager - Vikram’s father - bundles currency notes in a plastic sack and walks out of the branch. And all of this is caught on camera, but the father pleads innocence and the son gets into the act.
Everything appears like a kid’s play: Vikram, at the snap of his fingers, finds out that the same luxury car had been seen outside the jewellery shop as well as the bank and traces the owner. Who else can it be, but our playboy Aditya. But do not underestimate his power (nothing short of divine), that he picked up during an archeological survey on the foothills of a mountain, where he chances upon an ancient palm manuscript that says how one man can get into the body of another. Now we know, why the poor bank manager did what he did!
Bogan defies logic, but of course, and also seems at a loss as to the direction it ought to take. Must it call itself a crime thriller or a science-fiction or a mere fantasy - a movie where the hero and the villain change places with the ease of a mumbo-jumbo mantra. And all because, our ancient rishis knew how to do this, and they very diligently wrote the secret steps on palm leaves to master this unbelievable power.
The only feature that redeems Bogan from sinking into the water that we find the evil palm leaf land at the end is performance. Swami has always been a good actor, having been introduced to Tami cinema by no less a director than Mani Ratnam in Thalapathi. He went on to amaze us in Roja, Bombay and finally Alaipayuthey. It was a long break after that, and he was seen much later in Thani Oruvan, also with Ravi. Jayam is okay, quite controlled most of the time, but certainly fares poorly when it comes to range. I have not seen much of that from him.
Well, I am going with two stars, mainly because of Swami’s arresting presence.
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